The New Zealand Māori Under 22 basketball team from Te Tai Tokerau are set to play their first game at an indigenous tournament in Canada today.
The team will play the indigenous Canadian Gitxsan team at the Pacific Unity Summer Series held at Haida Gwaii Island.
Head coach Raymond Cameron says a highlight of the trip has been learning about the people and culture on the island.
“We’ve been gelling as a family off the court and learning about the culture while we are here, of the Haida Gwaii people, he says.
“It has really installed passion and desire to perform well, not only for them here but for our people back home, because the two cultures are very similar.”
There are eight players from Northland that make up the team, who only started training together five days ago.
“It's only been five days and I feel like we have strengthened our relationships as a family. We have learned many things about each other but more so about ourselves,” he says.
“I think these boys, because of their talent, they can really play and so it’s about just gelling together and giving them an opportunity to play together. I think these boys are going to put on a display tonight and show what they can do.”
The team was chosen from Cameron’s basketball academy in Northland. He says he plans for the team to take part in other international competitions in the future.
The game will start at around 1.30pm NZT.