First Traditional Maori Sport FestivalFrom Sport Wellington
The first Ki o Rahi, (traditional Maori sport), Poneke Festival has been held at Wakefield Park, Island Bay.The Festival featured the traditional sport of Ki-o-Rahi, a ball game played in a circular arena which has skills which are transferable to Rugby and Handball. (A traditional Ki is a woven flax ball.)
Six teams of between 10 and 15 players competed in a social tournament last weekend.
It was won by WhangaNaki, a whanau based team of mixed ages captained by ex-Maori All Black Norm Broughton. Around 300 people participated — and those who weren’t in the tournament took part in poi making workshops, ‘Poi-lympic’ games and a Town Belt walk.
The main event, the inter-provincial clash between Wellington and Whanganui, was an exhibition of the skill, strength and strategy required for full contact Ki o Rahi. Wellington won 7-5 after a strong third quarter defensive effort.
Wellington captain Peter Noanoa said the challenge was now laid down for Whanganui to win the Patu back and also for other iwi to organise and take part in similar events. Part of the legacy of the Ki o Rahi Poneke Festival is that other iwi will be able to use the event planning resources and processes to plan and develop their own Ki o Rahi Festivals.
The event was a part of the REAL New Zealand Festival which runs alongside Rugby World Cup 2011. Visitors to Wakefield Park would have had a taste of the real New Zealand, with an open, friendly and sociable gathering of the diverse cultures of Aotearoa reflecting the spirit of Manaakitanga [hospitality] which underpinned the event.
The event also served to highlight the partnerships between mainstream and Maori health service providers, and government agencies. Organisations which took part in the event included Kokiri Hauora, Sport Wellington, Wellington City Council, Heart Foundation, Cancer Society, Health Sponsorship Council, Skills Active and Compass Primary Health Care Network.
Event organiser Peter Noanoa said the day was a great success. “It was amazing to see all the rangatahi [young people] taking part and enjoying the game. We aim to build on this and use the event as a spring board to develop the sport in the greater Wellington region.”
Established in 1883, Poneke Football Club is one of the oldest clubs in the Wellington R.F.U. The club has produced 19 All Black representatives including rugby legends Tom Ellison and Billy Wallace.