Marae whānau show their competitive edge

 After countless competitions on and off the field, Hinemaurea ki Wharekahika marae has come out on top, winning this year’s Ngāti Porou Pā Wars held in Ruatōria.

Published: Friday, 16 February 2018 | Rāmere, 16 Huitanguru, 2018

More than 2,000 descendants and manuhiri got together at the start of January, where teams from 20 marae battled it out all day in 34 events.

As well as traditional sports games, the events ranged from line dancing, tug-o-war and wearable arts to pool, swimming relays and trivial pursuit.

Te Puni Kōkiri staff were present throughout the day with the tent sent up, with water and fresh fruit for whanau, information about our support, and a rangatahi engagement survey to gauge the issues our youth on the Coast endure.

Regional advisor, Nicole Nepe, says it was an amazing day.

“The day started with a parade and fun walk, which was a good way to start the event and promote all twenty Marae,” she says.

“There were games of rugby, basketball, tennis and sprints, there was also preserve making, karaoke and chess for all ages.”

Te Puni Kōkiri was one of the main sponsors of the event. 

“It is one of our annual regional events held in Tairāwhiti that we see is an imperative to whakawhanaungatanga and whakapapa on the Coast,” says Nicole. 

The inter-marae sports festival has been running since 1995, attracting hundreds of Ngāti Porou descendants back to their tūrangawaewae every year.

Grey and wet weather was not enough to dampen spirits as whanaunga let their competitive sides shine. 

The overall top three marae for 2018 were:

1st - Hinemaurea ki Wharekahika
2nd - Hinemaurea ki Mangatuna
3rd - Hinerupe

The festival is an icon for those families going home for the Christmas break.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Porou, which organises the event, says the kaupapa is about more than being the best sports team.

“The emphasis is on participation, not competition, and we will be providing some incentives to boost the intergenerational interest and participation.”

The organisers say 2,500 attended the day’s festivities, including 100 kaimahi who worked the event.