Sport | Māori All Blacks

Whakaata Māori and Sky Sport to simulcast Matariki rugby matches

Whakaata Māori and Sky Sport will partner to broadcast three rugby matches over Matariki. Photo / All Blacks Experience

To celebrate and share Māori culture through rugby this Matariki, Whakaata Māori will partner with Rangiata Sky to broadcast two Māori All Blacks v Japan XV rugby test matches, as well as the NRL match between the Warriors and Broncos.

The Māori All Blacks matches are to be played at Tokyo’s Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium on June 29 at 10pm NZST and Toyota Stadium on July 6 at 9pm NZST.

Both will be simulcast live across Whakaata Māori, Māori+, and Sky, with bilingual commentary- on offer.

The June 29 match will feature te reo Māori commentary on Whakaata Māori, Māori+, and Sky Sport 2, with English commentary on Sky Sport 1. Similarly, the July 6 match will have te reo Māori commentary on Whakaata Māori, Māori+, and Sky Sport 3, while English commentary will be available on Sky Sport 2.

Sky Open will also provide free-to-air delayed coverage of both matches.

Julian Wilcox (Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa) will host the pre-match, half-time, and post-match analysis, joined by former Māori All Blacks halfback Bryn Hall (Ngāti Ranginui) and Black Ferns co-captain Ruahei Demant (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāti Awa).

More collaboration to come

Commentary will be provided by Te Ao Māori News’ Tūmamao Harawira (Ngāpuhi) and Whakaata Māori’s Te Aorere Pēwhairangi (Ngāti Porou) in te reo Māori, with Tony Johnson and Bryn Hall calling the matches in English.

“The Māori All Blacks and earlier Māori national rugby teams have been taking our culture, our reo and a unique style of rugby around the world since their inception,” Whakaata Māori kaihautū Shane Taurima (Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu) said in a statement this morning.

“We are very proud to be able to co-broadcast Māori All Blacks vs Japan on Whakaata Māori platforms.”

Sky’s chief content and commercial officer, Jonny Errington, said he was delighted by the partnership, and emphasised the goal of reaching wider audiences.

“We’re really pleased to be partnering Whakaata Māori to bring te reo Māori to audiences across Aotearoa for these two matches. Building on the success of our te reo Māori commentary during the Rugby World Cup in 2023 where over 71,000 New Zealanders tuned into our te reo broadcast, our hope and ambition is to welcome new audiences to these Māori All Blacks matches by sharing them on Whakaata Māori.”

“I can’t think of a better time than Matariki to be acknowledging the history of both organisations. We look forward to finding more ways to collaborate in future to normalise te reo, tikanga and Māori leadership on air,” he says.

‘Incredibly proud’

Māori All Blacks head coach Ross Filipo (Muaūpoko) acknowledged the importance of this collaboration.

“Extra coverage that includes free-to-air gives all fans and whānau the chance to support us while we’re away from home. We’re incredibly proud to represent our culture. This partnership will increase the visibility of Māori and rugby, inspiring generations to come.”

In addition to the rugby tests, Whakaata Māori and Sky will simulcast the NRL match between the Warriors and Broncos on June 29 from 5pm.

This match will also feature te reo Māori commentary from Tūmamao Harawira and Te Aorere Pēwhairangi, available live on Whakaata Māori, Māori+, and Sky Sport 2, with English commentary on Sky Sport 4.

In addition to the rugby coverage, Whakaata Māori will simulcast the national Matariki celebrations live on Whakaata Māori and Māori+ from 6am on Friday, June 28.

Mānawatia a Matariki will be hosted by Stacey Morrison (Te Arawa, Ngāi Tahu) and Mātai Smith (Rongowhakaata, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri) from Kā Papa Toitoi, Treble Cone, Wānaka.