Budding rugby stars from four different kura kaupapa schools hope to one day be playing on the same team.
Kaiako and students alike gathered at a Rotorua school last night, getting a glimpse of what could be the first multi-school reo Māori rugby team.
The principal of TKKM o Te Koutu, Koa Douglas, says many students from his school who want to play rugby, end up going to mainstream schools such as Western Heights and Rotorua Boys High School.
“For a long time, we have thought about a pathway to make a rugby team but we cannot by ourselves because we don't have enough students,” he says.
In attendance at the training were athletes from Te Wharekura o Ngāti Rongomai, TKKM o Ruamata, TKKM o Te Koutu and TKKM o Hurunga Te Rangi.
TKKM o Te Koutu teacher Greg Allen says this move could be a gamechanger because it will show other small schools what to do, while also providing a platform for te reo to be heard.
“We thought that if we make one team, then the students might actually stay in their respective schools, so they can hold on to our language and protocols,” Allen says.