TKKM o Ruamata lays down the wero to Ashburton College. Image credit: YouTube / CelloSport.
A secondary school boys hockey tournament held over the weekend in Ōtautahi, Christchurch, saw complaints from the crowd about Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata’s team’s use of te reo Māori.
But, when a nearby kura kaupapa, TKKM o Te Whānau Tahi, heard the complaints, “that the tamariki should not speak it while on the field playing”, it decided to take action.
As reported by Stuff, TKKM o Ruamata performed a haka to opponents Ashburton College before the start of the Johnson Cup final at Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub.
TKKM o Te Whānau Tahi students turned up in their droves to cheer on the Rotorua kura from the sidelines - with waiata, haka and whakataukī.
One commentator, during the match's live stream on YouTube, said there couldn’t have been a better way to start the game. “If people weren’t already excited for this game, they truly are now.” The haka was also met by cheers from other members of the crowd.
Hockey NZ has criticised the remarks from the crowd and backed the team, which went on to defeat Ashburton College 5-2 in the championship game. Hockey NZ says it supports the use of te reo Māori - and all languages - in the sport.
It also did not have any prohibitions on speaking te reo Māori, and it was not aware of any neighbourhood organisations that did.
Ruamata coach Tenga Rangitauira says that he didn't learn of the remarks until later but he wasn't surprised given that their players had been dismissed for speaking Māori by "ignorant umpires" five years ago.
Rangitauira commended TKKM o Te Whānau Tahi for the honourable way in which it dealt with the sideline comments.
“This is what kura kaupapa Māori do,” he said. “Although we are spread across Aotearoa, we are one whānau.
“Within a moment’s notice, we will show up for each other.”