Join the revival along with hundreds of secondary school sportsmen and women due in Gisborne next month for the 2015 New Zealand Secondary Schools Ki o Rahi Championship.
That’s the call of one of Tairāwhiti’s most passionate Ki o Rahi coaches Rongomai Smith, who says the tournament will be a physical spectacle not to miss.
“There’s going to be heaps of touch skills on display, dummies, spins and dives. It’s a spectacle. And it can get quite physical especially with the top teams. “
The traditional Māori game of Ki o Rahi, which dates back to pre-European times, has a growing following at school level and last year’s National Tournament in Wellington was the first to be held under the umbrella of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Sports Council (NZSSC).
This year the event is in Gisborne at the Rectory Field Friday 10 and Saturday 11 April. A pōhiri on Thursday 9 April will be Te Poho o Rāwiri Marae, Queen’s Drive Kaiti with meetings for team managers and referees to follow.
Rongomai Smith is a PE teacher at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Uri a Māui. He incorporates Ki o Rahi into his lesson as the game draws on core Māori values such as manaakitanga and whanaungatanga. “As well as basic skills like passing and catching I want to teach about communication and working together as one. Ki o Rahi does that.”
This year’s national tournament is hosted by Turanga Health. Staff member Shane Luke says last year, the final was between Te Wharekura o Rakaumanga, from Huntly, and a combined Gisborne Boys' and Girls' High team, with Te Wharekura o Rakaumanga narrowly retaining their title. In the playoff for third and fourth place Taita Collage beat Tolaga Bay Area School.
“I can’t wait to see the rivalry between those schools play out again. But I’m also keen to see new entrants into the national competition like qualifiers Horouta Wananga and Kawakawa Mai Tawhiti hold their own on the field.”
Supporters, fans, and public are invited to watch the action both days at the Rectory Field. Grandstand seating is provided as well as toilets and food. Spectators are encouraged to visit the tertiary education provider expo also at the grounds.
What: 2015 New Zealand Secondary Schools Ki o Rahi Championship
Where: Games played at Gisborne Boys’ High School Rectory Field
When: Friday 10 April and Saturday 11 April, 10am start
For more information: contact Shane Luke, Turanga Health, (06) 869 0457
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