It is regarded as the longest
running Maori sports tournament in New Zealand which today
celebrated its 90th anniversary. Originally started by
Pei Te Hurunui, Apirana Ngata and Sir James Carroll back in 1926,
it is also one of the most popular. Tamati Rimene-Sproat
went down to Hamilton today, to the annual
Maori Tennis Tournament. Serving into 90 years of this
special competition. This will be the oldest
Maori tournament. It’s an amazing day for this
gift that we have that was left for us
by our ancestors. It was established in 1926 by some of the most influential
Maori leaders of the time. Sir Apirana Ngata and co,
some from Te Arawa, Pei Te Hurinui, the leaders of that generation, the carried this event and now
it’s up to us. When it started it was
Pei Te Hurunui and Apirana Ngata, Te Puea as well. Koroki was the first patron, and his descendants
down to Te Atairangi and to Tuheitia. Then there was also Mihi Kore from
Ngati Porou, and Ta Timi Kara of Ngati Kahungunu, so all of those generations’
leaders were involved. And it was created because
of Maori’s love of this sport. Most Maori were champs
at these games. Marae had their own tennis courts
and we used to go throughout Ngati Porou
and out to Gisborne and up to Apanui
to play tennis. We used to go around on trucks! And some of the past winners
went on to represent Maoridom on the world stage. I never knew Maui Pomare went over
to American Universities and won, and Ruia Morrison went to Wimbledon. Win or lose, the main thing is the coming
together of people. People from all tribes congregate and if someone from home wins
too much! That is the beauty of this
tournament; it’s something that pulls people
and their families together, that’s what makes it great. The tournament stared today with
the finals to be played on Thursday. Tamati Rimene-Sproat, Te Karere.

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Dennis Veasley

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