First woman to be awarded NZ Māori Cricket Scholarship

By Taroi Black

Kerry-Anne Tomlinson has been awarded the New Zealand Māori Cricket Scholarship. The scholarship, in conjunction with the Māori Sports Awards, recognises Māori talent and was awarded to a woman for the first time.

Last year Zak Gibson received the first scholarship for his achievements with the New Zealand U19 Men’s team. He also had the opportunity to be mentored by Blackcaps legend, Shane Bond. 

Her contribution to women’s and Māori cricket has catapulted the 26-year-old above the rest.

Tomlinson told Te Kāea, “I’m surprised really, but at the same time I am really stoked.”

Tomlinson, of Ngāti Porou and Te Whānau a-Apanui descent, launched the first Women's Māori domestic cricket team in New Zealand’s history - in the Northern District region which includes Te Taitokerau, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taupo but doesn’t include Auckland region.

She worked tirelessly alongside Pat Malcon, a key figure in the development of Māori cricket in the Northern District region, while New Zealand Cricket believes there’s a huge demand for more support Māori Cricket.

NZ Cricket Communication Executive, Margot Butcher says, “At the moment NZ cricket is going to start a database to collect iwi information - at present there’s no system in place.”

“We rely on identifying players through knowing them personally or asking questions.”

Tomlinson’s efforts have seen her take on other roles outside of playing, including coach, manager and fundraiser for the Northern Māori Women’s team, taking them to Rarotonga twice in the past two years. 

“We’ve established a foundation for our Northern Māori players in terms of the women’s side,” says Tomlinson.

“I’m hoping to get a Central Wellington Māori Cricket team going and hopefully a few down South Island as well.”