Ngāti Tūwharetoa have 14 teams representing at this years Māori Basketball Tournament held in Rotorua. It is their first time participating in the competition, and for many of them, it has been an opportunity to reconnect with their roots.
Lillian Bartlett (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) who, with the help of friends and family has been preparing for the event since July last year, says that this competition has acted as a somewhat of a family reunion.
"On the front of our uniform we have our maunga, so Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. On the back we have Tu-Hikitia,Tu-Hāpainga and that relates to a whakatauki which is about the winds coming off and how they wind together so that what we're about too, whakapapa and supporting each other and lifting each other."
The competition separates itself from other tournaments, by allowing each iwi to showcase their talents in the form of waiata and haka, which will be on display later this evening.
"It's really brought people home as well. We've had the opportunity to do kapahaka, and they're learning our waiata and we've really been able to feel united and support each other in the process," Bartlett says.