Te Wharekura o Mauao makes rugby first

Tomorrow’s division one Bay of Plenty secondary school rugby finals in Tauranga is set to make history as a wharekura competes for top honours for the first time in the region.

Tauranga’s Te Wharekura o Mauao has a senior roll of 40 students and over half of them make up the kura’s first XV rugby side which will be playing Rotorua’s Western Heights High School at Blake Park in Tauranga tomorrow afternoon.

Te Wharekura o Mauao First XV coach Heywood Kuka says the team is fighting fight and ready to go.

“We are all feeling very excited as these boys just love rugby,” he says.

“We’ve had a lot of support from whanau and community with a number of our local clubs sending out a list of their players to promote the game.”

The team made the semi-finals last year but suffered the loss of one of their members who died only weeks before the game.

“We are stepping it up another notch this year and dedicating the game to a number of whanau we have lost recently,” Kuka says.

The team boasts seven representative level players including Ronin Ainsley who was named in the New Zealand under-18 Māori side.