Aotearoa Māori Tennis celebrates 91 years

By Rahia Timutimu

There's a lot of work to do before the commencement of the Aotearoa Māori Tennis Championship tomorrow. Dick Garratt is the organiser of the tournament and says there’s a multitude of players that have already registered.

“It's another great milestone for this established Māori organisation, it's great we had a big year last year with our 90th, we've got over a 140 entries, and they come right across the South Island, down Ngai Tahu there, right up to Kaitaia from the North, some from Australia, and even some whānau that live in Samoa,” says Garratt

Some of the best Māori players in NZ and overseas will be attending, like tennis legend Ruia Morrison.

“I keep coming back not only to see the progress and try to be useful even though I'm past the use by date. Just to be around people that are still in the game, and keeping it alive for us, for all of us,” says Morrison.

Brooke Kenny who took out the title last year is also one of the up and coming players that will attend.

Garratt has also thought about changing the date of this competition, so it doesn't fall on this time of the year.

He says “We looked at changing it, many many years ago the tournament was always at Easter, it was changed to Christmas and if you go back many decades ago there weren’t that many sports during Christmas, and now with our sports increasing the popularity of sports, let alone what whānau do at Christmas time, it's a challenge for us."

The competition will commence tomorrow in Hamilton.