National | Māori

Ruamata: It’s more than hockey

New RNZ documentary chronicles the first kura kaupapa Māori to compete in the prestigious Rankin Cup

Even Hollywood couldn’t have scripted it better. Ruamata: It’s More Than Hockey tells the inspiring tale of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata, a small Bay of Plenty kura, triumphing against New Zealand’s top secondary schools in the prestigious Rankin Cup, New Zealand’s premier men’s secondary schools hockey tournament.

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata has a roll of only 200 students and 37 boys. With such a small pool of talent to pick from, it meant that if you were a boy, you made the team.

To put it into perspective, Auckland’s King’s College has won the cup a total of six times and has a roll of more than 900 male students. Ruamata beat King’s 5-1 at the tournament.

Coach Tenga Rangitauira can be heard in the documentary telling his players, “Kāore i a tātou ngā mano hia nei tāngata (we don’t have thousands of students), so we have to be fitter than every other team.”

Doco highlights on-field discrimination

Competing at the Rankin Cup was the culmination of five years of hard work by Tenga Rangitauira, a talented junior men’s hockey player. During that time, the kura has sometimes faced racism while competing on the field.

Assistant coach and sister to Tenga, Parekura Rangitauira says “over the years, we’ve faced discrimination over the use of te reo Māori on the field.”

For director and co-producer Kereama Wright, not only is the story a quintessential David Vs. Goliath tale, but it’s also the first total immersion sports documentary.

“Very rarely do you come across a sports documentary entirely in te reo Māori with English subtitles. We hope that this documentary shows that te reo Māori and kura kaupapa Māori is not a barrier to achieving national success.”

Ruamata: It’s More Than Hockey premieres on RNZ on Thursday February 1 @