241 teams take to the stage at Māori Basketball Tournament

By Mare Haimona-Riki

The 241 representing teams gathered in their respective iwi last night in what was a display of musical talent to say the least. This cultural event is taken into account when determining the overall winner of the tournament.  It also serves a reminder of what separates this basketball tournament from others in the country. 

General manager of Māori Basketball, Pene Hippolite (Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Koata) says that the cultural evening embodies what the tournament as a whole, is all about.

"Its family orientated, there's one guy here with 10 kids, there's another family with 5 generations. And I don't think you will get that anywhere else."

The evening was full of musical items from over a dozen different iwi, with performances ranging from haka to 'tik-toks'.

The first Māori tournament started started to acknowledge the dream of a beloved ambassador of the sport. 

"This was the dream of our ancestor Wiremu Taurima, for our youth to flourish in this competition," says Māori basketball Chairman, Taku Parai (Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Raukawa)

What  began in 2014 with 43 teams has now grown into the biggest basketball tournament in the country with 241 teams represented, and those numbers are sure to rise.