October 24, 2018
Māori league tourney draws crowds
New Zealand Rugby League president Howie Tamati says the weekend’s Māori Rugby League tournament in Rotorua shows the strength of the code among Māori.
The tournament is now in its 25th year, and Mr Tamati says it is going from strength to strength, including a large number of players from Australia coming back to join in to represent their whānau, hapū or iwi.
While nationally league is losing numbers at a senior level, the Māori tournaments including age group and regional events are well supported.
"At a community level I think the game is dominated by Māori, especially in the rural areas. In Auckland and the big centres it is Māori and Pacific Islanders but in country areas like Taranaki and Waikato the playing base is Māori because our people gravitate towards the game of rugby league," Mr Tamati says.
In the waka section, He Waka Eke Noa beat Te Puaha o Waikato for the Tom Lummey Newton Taonga, with Darren Kingi the top player, while the Steve Watene Taonga for rohe teams went to Raukawa ki Runga over Kotahitanga, and Manaia Osborne was player of the tournment.
The wahine toa division was won by Te Arawa over Ngāti Umutahi with Rona Peters the outstanding player.
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