Kids flock to play most Kiwi of sports

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - JU­LIAN LEE

Imag­ine a com­bi­na­tion of rugby, dodge­ball, tag and live-ac­tion role play in­volv­ing two games be­ing played at the same time – and it’s a game na­tive to New Zealand.

To the unini­ti­ated, it looks pretty com­pli­cated. It’s a ball game most Pa¯keha¯ and even many Ma¯ori haven’t heard of – kı¯-o-rahi.

It’s not just any ball game, but one based on a colour­ful pu¯ra¯kau (legend) of a man called Rahi­tu­takahina res­cu­ing his wife, Tiaraku­ra­pake­wai, af­ter over­com­ing sev­eral ob­sta­cles in­volv­ing a tani­wha, a lake and an ice bridge.

Some Ma¯ori com­mu­ni­ties have been aware of the game since at least World War II, but the ori­gins are un­clear.

Ara In­sti­tute has been hold­ing rounds of kı¯-o-rahi on Mon­day nights and now a bunch of ea­ger Christchurch kids are tak­ing it on.

Yald­hurst Model School, a pri­mary school on the out­skirts of Christchurch, is test­ing kı¯-o-rahi with its stu­dents. Five other schools are fol­low­ing suit.

Sport Can­ter­bury learnt kı¯o-rahi from TOA Sports at Ara In­sti­tute and thought it would be a good sport for pri­mary schools to try.

The Yald­hurst stu­dent body also thought it was a good idea and, along­side Sport Can­ter­bury, taught the sport to five other schools.

Sport Can­ter­bury com­mu­nity sport ad­viser Rob­bie Har­low said the process was quick and pupils were keen to learn the game.

‘‘We went through the whole game with my­self and some­one else from Sport Can­ter­bury and they then brought in five other schools to learn in a day.

‘‘They’ve then taken that back to their schools and prac­tised and that’s re­sult­ing in a clus­ter tour­na­ment.’’

The chil­dren at Yald­hurst in­sist it is not com­pli­cated once you get the hang of it, so here are the rules, ac­cord­ing to Ran­gatira Tu Ran­gatira (and there are many vari­a­tions):

Two teams, the kı¯oma and the tani­wha, play on a large cir­cu­lar field. Like bas­ket­ball it has four quar­ters and teams ro­tate at half time.

Kı¯oma score by touch­ing the pou (pil­lars) with the kı¯ (ball) then run­ning the kı¯ through Te Roto (the lake) and plac­ing it down in pawero to con­vert pou touches into points. Like a rugby try.

Tani­wha have to hit the tupu in the mid­dle with the kı¯. Kı¯oma have kaiti­aki (guardians) around the tupu to stop the tani­wha from hit­ting the tupu. In turn the tani­wha must stop the kı¯oma from scor­ing.

Tourists’ baby run over

A baby has been run over in a Whanga­mata drive­way. The 1-yearold boy was flown to Waikato Hospi­tal in a se­ri­ous con­di­tion yes­ter­day morn­ing, Se­nior Sergeant Ray Mal­colm­son, of Waikato po­lice, said. The child was struck by a ve­hi­cle in a drive­way of a hol­i­day prop­erty around 9.15am, he said. It was un­der­stood the child was with his par­ents, who are tourists vis­it­ing from Germany. They flew with the child from the beach­side town to the hospi­tal, Mal­colm­son said.

Body on beach

A man’s body was dis­cov­ered on a North­land beach yes­ter­day morn­ing. Mem­bers of the pub­lic found the body at Man­gawhai Heads, south of Whangarei. No other de­tails were avail­able and the death would be re­ferred to the coroner.

Cap­i­tal rail strike to­day

A 24-hour rail­way work­ers’ strike will likely clog Welling­ton’s road net­work all of to­day. Rail Mar­itime Trans­port Union work­ers an­nounced on Tues­day that they would strike over em­ploy­ment con­di­tions af­ter hit­ting an im­passe with train op­er­a­tors Trans­dev Welling­ton and Hyundai Rotem. The strik­ers will stop work for 24 hours, start­ing from 2am to­day af­fect­ing all com­muter ser­vices on John­sonville Hutt, Melling, Wairarapa, and Ka¯piti lines. It would be the first in­dus­trial ac­tion since 1994 to af­fect the Welling­ton rail net­work for longer than two hours. The strike ac­tion comes af­ter Trans­dev and Hyundai Rotem called for the re­moval of long­stand­ing terms and con­di­tions in the work­ers’ col­lec­tive agree­ment.

$50m drug haul

Po­lice have seized $50 mil­lion worth of metham­phetamine in Christchurch, the largest cap­ture of the drugs in the South Is­land. Po­lice said the 49-kilo­gram ship­ment was dis­cov­ered in 40 sep­a­rate pack­ages con­cealed within safety lights. Two men aged 25 and 31 have been ar­rested and ap­peared in court charged with im­port­ing a class A drug, and pos­ses­sion of metham­phetamine for sup­ply.

Rise in Le­gion­naires cases

A Can­ter­bury woman is in an in­duced coma on life sup­port af­ter be­ing struck down by Le­gion­naires dis­ease last week. Jil­lian Wadsworth, 40, was rushed to Christchurch Hospi­tal last Thurs­day and was put in an in­duced coma on Fri­day. On Satur­day night she was flown to Auck­land Hospi­tal, where she was put on life-sup­port. Doc­tors told the fam­ily Wadsworth re­mains in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion. She is one of 10 Cantabri­ans struck by the dis­ease in the past week with the spike be­ing blamed on a boost in the use of pot­ting mix for spring gar­den­ing. Can­ter­bury med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health Dr Alis­tair Humphrey hoped the spike would be a wake-up call for com­pla­cent gar­den­ers. ‘‘If you do get this ill­ness it can be very se­ri­ous. It can kill you and if it doesn’t kill you some­times you can end up in hospi­tal for a very long time and it’s pre­ventable.’’

PHOTO: IAIN MC­GRE­GOR/STUFF

Yald­hurst School is one of six Christchurch schools learn­ing to play kı¯-o-rahi.

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