Harlem Globetrotters TEAM Up with Kura Kaupapa

By James Perry

The Harlem Globetrotters are famous for their entertaining way of playing basketball, and TKKM o Maungarongo were fortunate to have two of the players demonstrate some of those skills, while also listening to their anti-bullying message.

Globetrotters players "Ice" and "Dragon" were in the country recently promoting their upcoming four-game tour. While here, they found time to talk to students of TKKM o Maungarongo about the anti-bullying program the Harlem Globetrotters run around the world. Dragon says, "We are ambassadors of goodwill, and we spread good hope all around the world. And it's a blessing to be able to teach these kids and tell them about the anti-bullying programme we got called TEAM UP."

TEAM Up encourages children to Talk, Empathise, Ask, and Mobilise. 14-year-old Student Hemi Piahana initially didn't believe his teachers that the World famous Harlem Globetrotters would be turning up to his school. However, he says the program they delivered was great for him and his friends 

"They helped us students stop bullying, make people feel better and to make better relationships with each other. So yeah, they're really awesome at what they do," the self-described basketball fan says.

The Globetrotters have appeared in more than 120 countries and territories. Dragon has been a Globetrotter for 6 years, has visited 52 different countries, and the experience of a haka pōwhiri (welcome), and haka whakanui (haka of gratitude) rank among the greatest experiences he's had. 

Teammate Ice, who joined the Globetrotters in recent years, was equally moved by the experience. "I'm still in shock about everything that happened this morning, but it was just a great opportunity for the both of us," she says. 

And it wasn't long before the students became the teachers, as some of the students taught the players how to say "Kia Ora," much to the thrill of the school when greeted with that shortly after. 

Dragon is thankful for the encounter. "I got a chance to have some history about the culture, and hopefully I see them at the game," he says.

For nearly 100 years the Globetrotters have entertained crowds, and Dragon is promising to do it all again in April when the rest of the team join him and Ice on a four-game tour of New Zealand.

"They can expect things like this, they expect some slam dunks, we have crowd interaction, and we have a lot of different things we doing the show, and it's going to be an amazing time."

The Harlem Globetrotters will play games in Invercargill, Christchurch, Palmerston North and Auckland between April 16 and April 20.

Click here for details of their tour.