At the National Māori hockey tournament in Rotorua, Black Sticks coach Mark Hager will be in attendance for the finals.
Māori Hockey, chairman Kahu Ripia says that this is the first time someone of this stature will attend the finals set to take place tomorrow.
The spotlight is on the top Māori hockey players from around the country.
“The NZ women’s black sticks coach he will be here this afternoon, he’s always wanted to come and everybody knows he’s coming, he just wanted to see, how come all of these Māori players are not being acknowledged,” says Ripia.
This tournament has been running for 26 years but having someone like Mark Hager coming here shows our youth what is possible.
“All these young kids they are aware that he is coming and I’ve said to them ‘Kāua e whakamā’ just give it heaps”.
Twenty-five teams representing the eight Māori regions of NZ are playing.
Despite the female players knowing the coach of the Women’s Black Sticks will be here its business as usual for the Aotea Women’s A team winning after a goal shoot out with Te Tairāwhiti.
Saffy Cribb, captain of Aotea Women’s says “we have got a really young team it was really good to play experience players like we did we have really grown since the begging of this weekend so it was really good to see us step up.”
Waiariki A men’s team won against Auckland last night, tonight they play Te Tai Tokerau who won this tournament last year.
Mokonuiarangi Haerehuka-Rangitauira of the Waiariki Men’s team says, “The main goal is to make the finals - that is the pinnacle of this tournament.”
The tournament ends after tomorrow's finals.