Te Tai Tokerau brings together Māori hockey players from across NZ

By Rahia Timutimu

The Annual Māori Hockey Tournament is being held in Te Tai Tokerau region, where more than 250 players from around the country have gathered to see who the best region is for 2015. 

It's been a big weekend of sport, one of the biggest competitions to bring Māori together.

Parekura Rangitauira (Te Arawa, Ngāti Porou) says, "Coming to this competition is a unique experience as all players are Māori, so there is a sense of connecting with one another, and for some who've had little connection with their roots, there is a return to the old ways."

The first competition was held in Napier in 1992, since then every region that competes has had the opportunity to host this event. 

"Te Tai Tokerau has been absent for some years, so seldom do we see players emerge from there. But we're happy to see them put in a team this year," Rangitauira adds.

Te Tai Tokerau are hosting the competition this year, they haven't competed at a competition in nearly five years. However, with the competition held in their backyard, that has changed.

Member of the Te Taitokerau team, Bradley Pitman says, "with the inclusion of the Te Tai Tokerau teams this year the numbers have come up, no rohe that could come north, stronger tournament."

Te Waiariki is currently the strongest region, just this month one of their young players Leo Mitai-Wells made the men's Black Sticks team. 

Te Waiariki team member, Tenga Rangitauira says, "A lot of Māori play hockey in our region, so it's good to see players from other regions attend."

The finals will take place today, and it has been confirmed that next year's competition will be held in Gisborne.