Kiorahi Secondary School Nationals - Best of the best

By Herewini Waikato

Day one of the Kiorahi Games - done. The Kiorahi action concludes tomorrow.

The best secondary school teams are competing for top honours over two days at the national Kiorahi Games in Huntly.

The competition has also prompted a call for more financial support from the government for the traditional sport.

Kiorahi is a Māori ball game between two teams of seven players played on a circular field divided into zones. Players score points by touching the ‘pou’ (boundary markers) and hitting a central 'tupu' (target) with a ‘ki’ (ball).

Getting to the competition hosted by Te Wharekura o Rākaumanga was a challenge in itself for one of the 24 schools taking part.

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Koutu from Rotorua were cash-strapped to raise around $100 for each of its students to attend but found a generous sponsor.

“We’re thankful to have whānau and organisation support, but what about the rest?” asked Ataahua Timihou, a kaiako at the kura.

Lack of financial support for the game

Ora Kihi, a Kaiako at Te Wharekura o Rakaumanga says some financial support for the Kiorahi games had been sourced from He Oranga Poutama, the Māori fund administered by Sports New Zealand.

“(But) there is a lack of government financial support for us.”

Student Cleveland Rawiri Randall is part of the Kaiorahi team from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Awa Kairangi believed more funding was important.

“Because we want this sport Kiorahi to skyrocket!”

Kihi has been part of the Kiorahi Games since 2010 when the competition started and has since coached national and Māori teams. She wants the games to be extended to include adults.

“What is there for our youth when they finish school? That is the goal ahead of us as we look to excel in Kiorahi.”

The two-day event ends tomorrow.