The Māori Sports Awards are fast approaching and just recently Te Kāea met with Willie Taurima, convenor of Māori Basketball New Zealand who is a finalist in the Maui Tikitiki a Taranga section. This section acknowledges the hard work of our Māori sports administrators.
This is an honour that has been bestowed upon Willie Taurima of Ngāti Kahungunu.
"I was very surprised to find out I was a finalist but at the same time, reasonably proud on behalf of basketball and Māori basketball in particular," says Taurima.
Taurima’s role as convenor is a voluntary role and it was because of his passion for the sport that he agreed to undertake it.
“You become a part of a team that sets things up and then to make it go all the way through you put your hand up and say I’ll take care of this role,” Taurima explains.
Maintaining a relationship between Māori Basketball and Basketball New Zealand was a challenge to begin with. Despite this, there have also been many highlights.
Taurima says, “The 2013 Pacific Championship Basketball Tournament where the New Zealand Māori Men’s and Women’s teams played in that tournament on behalf of New Zealand.”
Basketball is a sport that attracts many Māori. More Māori are also taking an interest in other areas of the sport.
“We have more Māori at coaching level than we used to have and we have more Māori, unsung, helping to run basketball in New Zealand through associations,” says Taurima.
Basketball in New Zealand has had its fair share of ups and downs, however, according to Taurima, its growth is evident.