Tennis prodigy Jacques Rupe, 11, wins the national Māori title, but the honours don't end there

By Muriwai Hei

Photo / Jacques Rupe via Instagram.

Ngāti Tūwharetoa youth Jacques Rupe had a fantastic year in 2022 after being named one of the top 24 players in the globe for his age group.

His participation in the famous IMG Future Stars Invitational Tournament, which will take place in Athens in April, has already been confirmed.

The rangatahi won the Under 12 boys grade at the 96th Aotearoa Māori Tennis Association Championships last week in Waikato, with Terence Daniel coming in second.

Dick Garratt, president of the Aotearoa Māori Tennis Association, says he is enthusiastic about the bright future of rangatahi like Jacques Rupe.

"He is skilled, he is clever, and he knows what he is doing," says Garratt.

More than 125 Māori competed in the competition, representing 10 grades and ages ranging from under 10-years-old to super seniors, with the oldest players in their 80s.

Garratt hopes to see another Dame Ruia Morrison emerge from the Māori tennis ranks in the near future.

Aotearoa Māori Tennis will commemorate 100 years of tennis in four years.  

"We are laying the foundation for that already and we hope to have a big, big turnout," he says.