Te reo Māori only netball tournament a hit

By D'Angelo Martin

The Puni Reo netball tournament in which players, referees and spectators only speak te reo Māori has proven a great success for a second year running.

More than 500 kids, in 55 teams from 35 schools, took part in the event in West Auckland yesterday. 

The weather in the morning wasn't the most promising but the kids were still more than keen to get out and play. 

Eruera Lee-Morgan, one of the organisers of the tournament, says they were keen to create an opportunity for rangatahi to enjoy speaking te reo Māori in a fun environment.

"The Puni Reo netball tournament has been going for two years now and the main intention for this event is te reo Māori," he says.

"But also to give rangatahi Māori an opportunity to play and feel comfortable knowing that communicating to one another in te reo has been the highlight."

Lee-Morgan, who is a senior adviser at Te Puni Kōkiri, says the organisation's vision is to arrange similar te reo Māori only competitions for other sports like, for example, basketball in the future.  

The tournament was popular not only with females but also males, with a big turnout of both groups taking to the courts.

Eruera Lee-Morgan says, "It's not all about winning. At the end of the day, te reo Māori is the main winner."

The tournament was a great occasion to celebrate the language, which was spoken all day, and a fun experience for the kids as well.