Sport | Māori

Taonga tākaro have new home in the Super 8 competition

A traditional Māori game (Taonga Tākaro) has found a new life in the Super 8 Schools competition.

Napier Boys’ High School in Hawkes Bay ís the host of the inaugural Tākaro Māori competition, where the Super 8 schools are participating in three sports, Horohopu, Kī-o-rahi and waka ama.

Horohopu is one of the taonga tākaro making their first appearance for a majority of students in the competition.

Napier Boys’ High School head boy Poutama Watson says Horohopu is a new experience for him, and being able to play it is momentous.

“The special part is getting it out there and known. I know for a fact that most of my mates had no clue what Hopuhoro was or even Kī-o-rahi. So, getting it out there on the fields, and wanting to get into it,” he says.

Horohopu is a team sport with players throwing and catching a poi within a scoring zone. The only way the team members can keep moving with the poi in hand is by swinging the poi at a constant speed, until release.

Watson says these games can be embraced by all people around the country.

“It is quite important to me; this is my culture. So, I’d definitely love to bring it out and share it.”

Napier Boys’ High School principal Jarred Williams says the games are important because they “celebrate who we are as a culture”.

“We want to be more inclusive in the practices we have in our kura. So, to bring all of these boys together from different hapū and iwi, to celebrate their talents, this is an opportunity to do that,” he says.

The competition is being held in Napier this time but it is expected to be an annual event celebrating and embracing taonga tākaro.

Williams says he is hopeful about the future of this competition.

“One of the awesome concepts of this idea is that we have 12 boys who compete across three different sports. There’s young and old, so that kind of tuakana, teina type of process, so that is fundamentally a part of it. But, it’s also about hauora, the wellbeing of our boys and our communities, and showing them we are relevant and strong, and powerful, and we are motivated to do the best we can,” he says.

What is the Super 8?

The New Zealand Super 8 group of schools incorporates the eight boys’ high schools from their respective provincial cities in the central North Island. The Super 8 concept has grown to include 10 sports competitions including rugby, softball, basketball and many more, as well as a cultural festival celebrating Māori and Pasifika students.