Sport | Māori Rugby

New documentary series follows wāhine 'Naati' rugby players

While the Ngāti Porou East Coast Heartland rugby team may be the talk of the town this weekend as they prepare for the Lochore Cup final on Sunday, all eyes will be on the launch of a new web series at 6pm tonight that follows the fortunes of the union's female players.

SkyHigh:Whītiki Wāhine Mā, by Te Amokura Productions launches on Radio Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Porou East Coast Rugby Union, Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Porou and Te Amokura Facebook channels. It is billed as following the "aspirations of a community who are using the ever-evolving sport of women's rugby to transform lives?".

Its promo material says in rugby clubs all over Aotearoa, "It’s been the women, the mothers, wives and daughters keeping the clubs going - our wāhine are always there. It’s no different on the coast but now the māmā’s, sisters, nans, aunties and cuzzies are stepping up and stepping out and it’s their time to light up the field.

Former NPEC CEO Cushla Tangaere-Manuel will present the show and told while the game is still growing on the Coast, women had long held their own.

Watch the hearty 'Naati' wāhine take to the field in Sky High.


"Ko te nuinga o ngā marae i konei kua whakaingoatia mō ngā wāhine. Heoi kua rua tekau te roa kāore te whutupōro wāhine 15 e tākarohia ki roto o Ngāti Porou. nā reira ko te mea pai ko rawa te kite ko ngā tāne e tautoko ana i a rātou wāhine, ā rātou tamahine, i a rātou tuahine ki te tākaro."
(Most of our marae here are named for wāhine ancestors. But we haven't had a 15-a-side women's competition here for 20 years or so. One of the great things we've seen is the support our men have shown for their partners, daughters, sisters who have given it a go and taken the field this year.)

Four teams took to the field in this year's club competition, Hikurangi Mountain Maidens from Hiruhama, Ruatōria City, which celebrates its centennial this weekend, Waiapu Rugby Club and Tihirau Victory Club from Whangaparaoa. The first part of the series follows each club as they strive to get their hands on the Hamoterangi Cup. Although some of the players are relatively new to the game, Tangaere-Manuel says the series shows no quarter is given on the field.

"Ka kite koe i te tuturutanga me te motuhake o te wāhine Naati. E ai ki te kōrero Pākehā, it's a no holds barred look at a wāhine Naati me te whānau whānui e tautoko ana i a rātou."
(You will see a true reflection of the fierceness of a 'Naati 'woman. In English we would say it's a no holds barred look at a Naati woman, as well as the whānau who support them.)

The first of the 10-episode series premieres tonight at 6pm.