Former AB pushes for more sports academies for tamariki Māori

By Taroi Black

Former All Black forward Billy Bush has come out saying that iwi in general should invest in establishing an institution for Māori children in all sports.

For the last two decades, the veteran rugby player has been involved in the development of many upcoming rugby players and believes this is the way forward.

Bush says, “I think a lot of iwi have been paid out their settlement so I think it’s up to the iwi to start academies.  Not only in rugby but right across the board."

Former Māori All Black coach Matt Te Pou established the Mataatua Sports Trust as another vehicle to help facilitate and develop young Bay of Plenty players in their sporting codes.

Raanj Rapana of Mataatua Sports Trust believes, “Having an academy and having things like a gym, a sports nutritionist, and those that are available to rangatahi would be beneficial.  We'll have more Stacey Waaka and more Beaudein Waakas on the national and international scene.”

Although Bush believes that it's easy to keep tabs on younger kids, when they get to their mid-teens it's a different story.  He says, “When they get to 16 and 17, most Māori fall away.  That's when they wonder off.”

Mataatua Sports Trust run their programmes without funding, but it is a struggle to get more kids on board.