More than 180 Māori athletes teed off on the Taupo Golf Club green for the Māori Golf tournament this week. Growing the sport and increasing participants has been at the forefront, especially when it comes to youth.
Balance, tempo and tension awareness are key for skilled golfers.
New Zealand golf has seen a decline in participation in the last ten years, at the last competition Māori Golf committed to increasing youth numbers and they're slowly seeing some progress.
Mia Scrimgeour (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Ruanui) says, “Stay steady, focus on my own game, hit fairways, hit greens and make putts. And that was about it really.”
Owen Lloyd (Ngāiti Porou) says, “Pretty much just go out there and play my own game and see what happens. Hit greens and make a putt here and there.”
Tawera Williams (Ngāi Te Rangi) says, “I just had to stick to my own game and try not worry about what he was doing, keep the ball in play and make those putts.”
Māori Golf’s tournament facilitator Noni (Nauni) Eketone says its all about making it affordable for youth, “It's an expensive game no matter who you are or where you are from. Our main priority is to support our Māori athletes and especially our youth. Fortunately, our association offers them some financial funding.”
The Māori Golf tournament celebrates its 83rd anniversary. It has been instrumental in producing superstars like Ngāti Ruanui's Michael Campbell and Tainui's Polly King. It's a legacy they hope will continue for future generations.
Winners from the tournament will be celebrated at the Māori Golf Awards ceremony tonight.