Spreading a truly kiwi game in Selwyn
Based on a legend, made in New Zealand and incorporating a wide skill set, Ki o Rahi is a home grown ta¯karo (sport/game) that’s spreading through rural Selwyn.
Sport Selwyn Trust physical activity activator Jayde Mayberry said she was hooked after one game.
‘‘It’s such a cool game. It just encompasses so many skills to be successful.’’
Darfield High School (DHS) had played Ki o Rahi for three years. Some players, along with Mayberry, were volunteering their study breaks to teach the game to younger peers in the area’s primary schools; Darfield Primary School and Kirwee Model School (KMS).
DHS pupil Haydn Rose said the game was complex for a beginner but was easy to learn while playing.
‘‘Once you’ve played it once or twice and you know the rules, it’s really fun. It flows really nicely.’’
Played on a large circular field between two teams of seven, the ta¯karo ran over four quarters, teams alternating between kı¯oma (defence) and taniwha (attack).
The field itself had an outer ring of ten pou (poles) and a marked inner ring surrounding a central barrel, the tupu. Kı¯oma players scored by touching the pou with the ball before bringing it back into the centre space, converting each touch into a point. Taniwha players scored by hitting the tupu with the ball. The defending team had two kaitiaki (guardians) in the central area to stop the thrown ball hitting the tupu. To stop either side scoring, players would stop their opponants by either touching them, tackling them or ripping tags of their belts. After a set number of touches there was a turnover.
Rose said the DHS team went to two or three tournaments a year. In the most recent tournament, held in Lincoln, Darfield came fourth. He said the ta¯ karo had long been popular in Ma¯ ori communities and city schools, but was spreading to rural schools.
Rose said it was down to students and teachers to maintain and grow the native New Zealand sport as there was no major international fixtures or televised coverage.
‘‘The minute they get started they’re into it ... having fun, which is kind of the whole point.’’
KMS sports coordinator Nigel Hall said kids who normally shied away from sporting activity were running around laughing and smiling while playing Ki o Rahi.
Kirwee Model School pupils playing their first game of Ki o Rahi.