Māori Sports Awards canned but TV sports special next week

By Tumamao Harawira

Covid-19 has again forced the cancellation of the annual Māori sports awards.

This year will see a one-hour-long special celebrating this year's Māori sports achievers, and Māori Television's sports show, Te Ao Toa, will team up with Te Tohu Taakaro o Aotearoa Charitable Trust to screen the special.

Te Arahia Maipi, who will front the special says with Waka Ama Sprint Nationals being cancelled in 2022 because of Covid-19, and sport in New Zealand being affected in 2021, this is an opportunity to celebrate sports stars such as Lisa Carrington and the New Zealand Women's Sevens team.

"With this year being such a downer, what better way for supporters, family, subtribe, and community to celebrate."

Maipi says even though organisers cancelled the awards night this year, that doesn't mean their achievements can't be applauded.

"Iwi can still support and celebrate their champions, those who have excelled to the very heights of sporting excellence."

Ngā Tohu Tākaro Māori

The inaugural Maori Sports Awards function was held at Tūrangawaewae Marae in 1991 to acknowledge Māori sporting achievement and is now the premier event highlighting Māori sporting achievement.

Te Ao Toa producer Potaka Maipi is excited to be teaming up to bring the special to New Zealand screens.

"It is an honour to carry this kaupapa. It's been 31 years since the awards first began."

Dame Ruia Morrison and Sir Wayne Shelford are inductees into the Māori Sports Hall of Fame this year. Pōtaka says Māori have long been blessed with fantastic sporting talent.

"Winners have included Michael Campbell, Piri Weepu, Lisa Carrington, Noelene Taurua in this awards show begun by Albie Pryor"

Ngā Tohu Tākaro Māori will broadcast on Sunday, December 12 at 5pm on Māori Television