Regional | Sports

Touch Tournament unites Ngāti Whātua whānau

Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei has celebrated their eighth open touch tournament in Okahu. 14 family touch teams continue to compete at this annual iwi event with the aim of uniting Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei over the summer.

Players of all ages standing together with pride. Some players showcased their family links with a chant bringing together the best touch players of Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei to Okahu Bay.

Organiser Anahera Morehu told Te Kaēa, “Basically, we're here to see each other over the summer break. This is when families from Ōrākei and the wider community of Ngāti Whātua come to play against each other. It's awesome.”

The occasion is unique to Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei. Each team represents different families who have continued to compete at the event.

Ngāti Whātua member Wyllis Maihi says, “Each year, we have a different family running the event. Our Maihi family holds the mauri of the event due to our late uncle Peter Maihi.”

The late Peter Maihi was a stalwart in Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei after coordinating events around Auckland. But this is where his heart is.

“He was a champion, especially regarding sports and exercising body and soul,” says Morehu.

Camaraderie is ultimately what today is all about with the masses of people out enjoying the day.

“There's a massive battle on the way. Although it is a family event, there's still an air of competitiveness amongst all the teams,” says Maihi.

Paying homage to the late Peter Maihi was key to today’s event.