Lost loved ones remembered at Whakatāne Touch Tournament

By Taroi Black

The death of touch star Tara Brown was the central focus for the 2Sharp club at this year’s Whakatāne Touch Tournament. In its 30th year, many more were remembered for their contribution to the game.

For friends and family, the pain is still raw after the tragic death of Tara Brown last year.

“This year coming to Whakatāne means quite a bit to us because we lost our sister,” says Kendall Te Rangi.

The late touch star from the 2Sharp club, couldn’t wait for the 2016 touch tournament in Whakatāne. Unfortunately, through violence her life was taken by her former partner.

Kendall told Te Kāea that she and Tara had been planning this trip since July, “So the girls decided to honour her memory and just to let everybody know that she's still here with us and put the message out there about domestic violence that it's not ok. And our message to everyone is to come forward.”

“Knowing that 2Sharp were coming over with a big kaupapa and how much it meant to them and the awareness that it's brought to everybody not only in Australia but in Aotearoa as well,” says Awhina, a member of the 2Sharp team.

Many more tributes were paid by other teams to former legends of rugby who competed at these grounds in previous years. Jonah Lomu and Jerry Collins will still be remembered for their contribution to the wider rugby community.

The competition is expected to be stiff this year as Whakatāne celebrates 30 years. But all-in-all camaraderie and team spirit rises above all.