Sport | Golf

Rangatahi talent on display at NZ Māori Golf tournament

Photo left to right: Elijah Huriwaka, Rico Taikato, Jack O’Neil. Source: NZ Māori Golf Ascociation

The 85th New Zealand Māori Golf National Tournament is currently underway, which sees over 200 Māori golfers showcase their talent, from rangatahi as old as 12 to kaumātua in their 80’s.

“It was huge back in the day,” says the General manager for New Zeland Māori Golf Mark Toto (Ngāpuhi).

“When I was a teenager here back in the 1970s when we had the Māori tournament here in Taupō, there were over 500 players. And all the meals for the players were cooked at the marae.”

Tito says there is tremendous talent amongst Māori golfers, especially amongst rangatahi, and they (NZ Māori Golf) are currently working in partnership with NZ Golf to expose them to playing in what Tito calls “a European world.”

“We partnered with NZ Golf because of their role in the overall scheme of Aotearoa is to foster the game of golf. And we believe we can bring richness to that by bringing a lot of Māori into golf and by getting more Māori playing; golf in general benefits from a whānau, hapū perspective.”

In order to help their efforts in growing the game amongst Māori, Tito says they have recently hired two development managers.

“Their whole purpose is to go out to the motu and foster the game of golf in Māori in schools, and hapū. We have one in the North Island, her name is Arawa Tito and in the South Island it's Watene Hema.”

The New Zealand Māori Golf National Tournament will conclude this Saturday.