Adding Wehi to the Warriors for Indigenous Round

By Ruth Smith

Saturday night will be a historical night for the Warriors as they host the very first indigenous round held outside of Australia.  The round will recognise Māori culture while also celebrating our indigenous Australian cousins in the sport. 

Director of Te Wehi Haka and haka exponent, Tapeta Wehi, has been brought in to ensure the protocols and procedures have a Māori flavour in the build-up to Saturday night's game against the Sydney Roosters.

"This game acknowledges the indigenous players of Australia and the indigenous players of New Zealand,” says Wehi.

The Sydney Roosters will be traditionally welcomed on Saturday night in the first-ever indigenous round to be held in New Zealand, and there is excitement about hosting our native relatives from across the ditch.

“The game will be preceded by a formal welcome, including the traditional call.  This will be followed with a challenge, a welcoming party, traditional oratory and a prayer to complete the formalities,” said Wehi.

Wehi says that this is a wonderful opportunity for both the Warriors and Māoridom.  He is also no stranger to the league environment having a long-standing relationship with the club.

“We were there at the very first game.  So we have a very long history with the club,” he said.

Wehi explained that the Warriors have done a lot of work to incorporate language and protocol into their team's culture.

“Some of the benefits that I have seen is that Māori protocols have been brought to the forefront,” Wehi commented.

Former Warrior, Wairangi Koopu will lead the group out and present a gift to the visiting team The Warriors-Roosters showdown takes place on Saturday night at Mt Smart Stadium.