Sport | Rugby league

Waipareira rugby league challenge draws youth and women by the hundreds

Hundreds of rangatahi are taking part in the Waipareira Rugby League Challenge at Avondale Racecourse. Photo / Supplied

This article was first published by the NZ Herald.

Hundreds of rugby league playing rangatahi and wāhine are participating in a whānau Waipareira two-day rugby league challenge, being played at Avondale Racecourse.

Players have come from as far afield far Rotorua and Northland, as well as teams from Tāmaki Makaurau. Around 1000 players are participating this weekend.

One of the young female teams playing in the Waipareira Māori Rugby League Tournament 2024. Photo / Supplied

Waipareira chairman Raymond Hall said one of the tournament’s highlights is the inclusion of open-age women’s teams.

“These talented women will showcase their passion for the sport, highlighting the fact that women can excel in rugby league, further empowering female athletes within the community,” Hall told the Herald.

He said Waipareira was always looking for ways to connect with its community - Māori and non-Maori - and rugby league was a healthy way to engage.

The Waipareira Women’s Open team. Photo / Supplied

“Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust is proud to support and promote this rugby league tournament, catering to ages ranging from under 10 to under 17, with additional open age groups,” Hall said.

“This initiative aims to promote physical activity, build self-confidence and provide opportunities for young people to engage in positive and healthy competition.

“We are thrilled to host this tournament, which goes beyond the game of rugby league.

“Our primary focus is to foster a sense of belonging and empowerment among our youth, allowing them to grow and thrive in a supportive environment.”

Teams gather for a karakia before tournament play begins. Photo / Supplied

“The tournament features participation from local schools, clubs, and community groups, serving as a testament to Whānau Waipareira’s commitment to inclusivity and community collaboration.”

The tournament ends on Sunday.

An article by the NZ Herald.