Te Kuiti High School – Te Nehenehenui Ki o Rahi Champions

Te Kuiti High School – Te Nehenehenui Ki o Rahi Champions

Te Nehenehenui Ki o Rahi Regionals took place on Wednesday 25th Mahuru. It was held at Te Kūiti High School, and is the second year that Te Kūiti has hosted the event. The whakataetae was organized by myself (pouako at Te Kūiti), Nano Te Whare (Sports Co-ordinator at TKHS), and Abigail Whiu (Sport Waikato).

Te Nehenehenui Ki o Rahi Regionals is the enactment of a long term vision to grow the sport within our rohe, raise its profile among our rangatahi, and to provide a pathway through to the nationals as an incentive to play Ki o Rahi, and improve. This year, Te Kūiti donated Te Nehenehenui Secondary Schools Ki o Rahi trophy, as an ongoing incentive for the teams involved.

One of the big challenges that we have identified, is that most, if not all of our Ki o Rahi players are multi-sporters. Ki o Rahi is competing for these players with other sports, especially in small kura where the pool of players is small to begin with. We found a window of opportunity at this time of year after winter sport, and before exams. Te Nehenehenui includes schools from Te Awamutu through to Taumarunui, and although three kura could not make it on the day, the event was supported by Piopio College, Te Wharekura o Maniapoto, Taumarunui High School, Te Kura o Ngāpuke, and Te Kūiti High School.

The weather forecast for the day was terrible, but we made an early start and got through a full round robin before the worst of the weather hit us. It was clear from the standard of play that the experience of Ngāpuke and Te Kūiti at nationals has really paid off, and these two schools really stood out strategically. Te Kūiti ended up winning the day, with the difference in their play being the quality of their ball handling, and the way they used the wāhine in their team to their advantage. Congratulations to these two teams who will represent our rohe at nationals in 2020.

We realize that a lot of work needs to be done, not only in developing the skills of our players, but also, and possibly even more so, developing competent kaiwawao, so that each game runs smoothly. We were fortunate on the day to have Roera from Tuwharetoa come through and he was able to assist and take the pressure off. As usual, some healthy debate was generated around the finer points of the rules, and different interpretations of how they should be applied, but this all leads to a better understanding of the game. Kōkiri Trust made themselves available to help with scoring. It was a big learning curve for them, but it was great to see the interest from pakeke who are involved with our rangatahi on a day to day basis. I will be following up with some PD sessions with them around Ki o Rahi. A big mihi must also go out to Rozelle Coffin for her mahi on the day as a kaiwawao.

Feedback from the day was really positive, and there were definitely a lot of people who left inspired to do more, especially the Taumarunui schools who have the Tuwharetoa Regionals to look forward to. The challenge for us now is to build upon this, and continue any momentum that we have generated.

How can we provide more opportunities for people to grow in the game? How can we build capacity of kaiwawao, and kaiwhakahaere? How can we work better across rohe? Koianei ngētehi o ngā pātai hei wānanga mā tātou. Ahakoa ngēnei, he pai te whakataetae ki te Nehenehenui, he anga whakamua mō tēnei kēmu taketake a tātou…

Nā Rawiri Stephens