Ki O Rahi teams compete to celebrate Matariki

By Dean Nathan

The Northland Taniwha took to the kī-o-rahi pitches of Whangarei today with students from Northtec to honour the rising of Matariki.

There is said to be no better time than the Maori New Year to raise the profile of traditional Maori games like Ki O Rahi.

Huhana Lyndon of Northtec says, “Yes, I think they were quite surprised at playing this game because our young kids are quite good at it so it was good to watch students challenging Northland's Taniwha.”

The Northland Taniwha were also impressed to learn that apart from this tag version Ki o Rahi can also be played with full contact.

Taniwha’s Phil Kite says, “Oh well that'd be pretty brutal wouldn't it?  Yeah, full contact… don't even know where the contacts coming from- would be pretty frightening but yeah I guess it would be fun.”

Nowadays Matariki is seen as a time to broaden our knowledge on traditional games and the different positions and skills required.  Here the Ki Oma are required to run and touch the poles, to score tries and care for the centre while the taniwha job is to score with a shot to the centre.

Huhana says, “You can see the different body movements and players talking and working as one on the field to plan their moves, so it’s great to watch this traditional Maori game.”