Huge turnout for 2018 Tainui Games

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Fifty-one Waikato-Tainui marae have converged at Hopuhopu in Ngāruawāhia to compete in the 9th biennial Tainui games over the weekend.

As the tribe celebrates 160 years of The King Movement, participation remains the focus.

From young to older participants, it’s all about giving it a go.

“This is my first time participating, but it's awesome,” says 12-year-old Kahotea Purua from Te Awamaarahi Marae.

“I want our tribe to come together through these games.”

“I stand there and make them feel guilty,” says 72-year-old Ellen Kinred of Poihākena Marae, “That's what I do!”

Three thousand registered players are representing their marae across a number of summer sports games including tug-of-war, touch, volleyball, basketball and netball.

“It's about returning to my roots and renewing again my identity as a Māori, within The King Movement and the teachings of my ancestors,” says Puahaere Vaka of Waahi Paa, “So they live on in me, my whānau and also my daughter."

Experience was seen from novices to representatives like Māori Mens' basketball captain, Daniel Green.

“I just want to come back, just have a jam with my cuzzies [sic] and whānau, have a good day,” he says.

“That's just about what the games are about, and if I can teach some fellas [sic] something along the way then all good.”

Waikato-Tainui elders are leading the way.

“If they just see you sitting around, then it's only natural that they want to sit around too, but when you're out there giving it your all, they just think it's easy,” says Kinred.

“If my mother can do that, anyone can do that!”

Marae will return tomorrow for the semis and finals for the overall Te Kohikohia Trophy.