Māori sports app hits the ground running despite lockdown

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Usshh is an innovative app that provides a platform for athletes to showcase their talent and ability. Founder Maxie Kemara (Whānau-a-Apanui) soft-launched the app in February and already has over 800 users, including prestigious rugby league school - Keebra Park State High School, in Australia.  

“When I look at some of the schools that have uploaded I see Hamilton Boys High School ... their latest All Black is Sevu Reece.

“Then Keebra Park High school ... the number of players come out of there Benji Marshall, Jordan Kahu, Ben Murdoch-Masila,” Kemara says.

This is not, however, a platform aimed at the secondary school level only, as Kemara is currently in talks with world-class netball and Cricket teams. 

Source / Facebook

Available on the "App Store" - the app is cost-free for individuals. It was initially made for players from rural areas that typically wouldn't receive the exposure they deserve because of their geographical location. 

Kemara says it also accommodates for athletes from smaller schools that want to consistently compete at a higher, more competitive level.

“With some kids from the small schools that range from kōhanga right up to year 13 and they wanna play active sports with their own age group. 

“Usually in those areas, there's not enough numbers. So they just wanna go to the closest or the next closest high school where they can get that exposure or just that consistency of sport," Kemara says.

Hamilton Girls' High School Senior touch team 2018. Source / Facebook

With the lockdown affecting every business in the country at the moment, Kemara says that it has actually helped with the launch of his app. 

“This is an online tool so the clients have actually had more time on their hands to download the app and create a profile. So yeah, this has had minimal impact and I feel bad saying that,” says Kemara

Prior to the OCVID-19 outbreak, Kemara had his ticket booked for the U.S to connect with the likes of NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and others. A trip that has not been cancelled; only postponed.

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