It’s just a week out from the biggest club touch championship in Whakatāne and a small community in the district has come together to host a marae tournament.
Tucked away in the Tūhoe Nation is a small community called Waimana Kaaku.
“This is the third year we've held this event. We refer to this as our mini ahurei. This event is part of the model of social planning for our hapū,” says Hohepa Mclean.
Waimana proudly hosts a touch tournament for its 16 marae and has produced some great touch players, including up and coming athlete Cory Howe who's a member of the NZ U17 mixed team.
“Just met some of the whanau today, I think we’re just winning, we lost the first round but should get our vibe back soon,” says Howe.
The tournament is all about marae winning bragging rights, but it's also another avenue for locals to come together during the summer break.
“We've received funding from Te Uru Taumatua in terms of developing this project (spatial planning), basically we're trying to target improvement for our hapū and marae. This is one way of giving back to our youth,” says Mclean.
The tournament has also invited some of the country's best touch referees.
Harley Wall says this is a good way to build up towards the Whakatāne touch tournament in January, This is awesome for hapū and referee's alike, and this is also another build up before heading into the major event. Harley Wall
This tournament is a good way to dusted off their boots and prepare to take on the motu’s best on January 9.