Garratt still going strong at helm of Māori tennis

By Tamati Tiananga

Dick Garratt has been the president of Māori Tennis Aotearoa for 22 years.  The fit 72-year-old isn’t looking to slow down just yet, he and wife Desrae still enjoy the challenges on and off court.  

Garratt says he stepped into the role after the passing of Albie Pryor and Frankie Dennis, crediting “that old work ethic- when you’re brought up tough, hard, when you’re given a task you do it”.  

There's a lot of work to do before the commencement of the Aotearoa Māori Tennis Championships, which will be hosted in Rotorua next week. 

The competition is in its 92nd year and will feature more than 150 participants.

"Tennis has a huge history of great people. It’s a game you can play for life, but it’s dependent on how many injuries you’ve got,” says Garratt.  

At the request of Rotorua Tennis Club, this year's tournament will be hosted in Rotorua,  The best Māori players from across the country will be on show. 

"We are looking at more catchment of Māori players from Rotorua, Eastern Bay, Western Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti and maybe in Wairoa," says Garratt.

"We also had the blessing of our patron, King Tuheitia. In true fashion, I went to meet him."

This year's games will be played at three locations. Rororua Tennis Club, Lynmore Tennis Club and Rotorua Girls' High School.

The three day event will start with a pōwhiri, to take place on Thursday 27th December at the Rotorua Tennis Club at 8.30am.

The finals will take place on Saturday 29th December.