Ki o Rahi talent on show
Hundreds attended finals day of the New Zealand Secondary School Ki o rahi Championships at the Rectory field in Gisborne yesterday.
Local schools put up a strong effort but it was not enough to win the title on Tairawhiti home soil.
Auckland school Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae came out on top against Waikato kura kaupapa Maori Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga in the final.
It was a back-to-back triumph for defending champions Nga Tapuwae.
The playoff for third and fourth was a local derby between Lytton High School and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Horouta Wananga.
Horouta Wananga edged Lytton to claim third.
Event organiser Whetu Rangihaeata said the champs were a success, showcasing top ki o rahi talent as well as being a “positive kaupapa” for young people.
“It was a very close final between Nga Tapuwae and Rakaumangamanga. They are both quality sides.
“There were also a few upsets throughout the competition, which shows that anything can happen at this level.
“You don’t have to be a big powerhouse school to rock the boat.
“The sport is growing,” her said. “We had three new schools qualify from their regions so it’s great to see that development coming through.
“One thing that also stood out was that even though this is a sporting event, it is a positive Maori kaupapa.
“It was good to hear a lot of te reo Maori being spoken. Our announcers did an awesome job of promoting the reo and positive korero because there were a lot of passionate supporters on the sideline.
“We’re very appreciative of everyone who had a hand in helping to organise this event.”
Next year’s nationals will be hosted in Hawke’s Bay.