Lo­cal teens aim high in Hawaii

The Northland Age - - Sport -

A group of Mid North teenagers are cur­rently on a trip of a life­time and par­tic­i­pat­ing at two youth bas­ket­ball tour­na­ments over­seas.

The group of 18 tai tamariki and their two coaches left New Zealand on Tues­day to com­pete at both the Works Indige­nous Youth and the Malak­i­hik­ihi Age Group tour­na­ments, which are be­ing held in Hawaii over the next two weeks.

Even more re­mark­able is that all of the play­ers who hail from the Kaikohe, Kerik­eri and Hokianga ar­eas have only been play­ing the game for a short time, cour­tesy of the Youth De­vel­op­ment and Marae Hol­i­day Pro­grammes run by Papa Mel and Mama Del Rameka through their or­gan­i­sa­tion, Mid North United Sports.

Mel said were the re­mark­able pro­gres­sion shown by all the play­ers in the tour­ing party was a credit to the phe­nom­e­nal team at MNUS and had been made pos­si­ble thanks to sup­port from var­i­ous other or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing Nga­puhi Iwi So­cial Ser­vices.

“They see what we do as a awe­some youth de­vel­op­ment tool. Our [Mel and Del’s] mis­sion state­ment is, Whanau — Ed­u­ca­tion — Fu­ture, which en­ables us to let them know that win­ning in life is by far more im­por­tant than win­ning games and cham­pi­onships.

“This is a mas­sive group of young peo­ple who al­ways fill us with pride, who al­ways in­spire us,” he said, go­ing no to cite the ex­am­ple of one young man in the squad — who at three stages in his life was a res­i­dent at three of the coun­try’s youth jus­tice fa­cil­i­ties as well as be­ing known as one of New Zealand’s high­est youth of­fend­ers — as an ex­am­ple of the op­por­tu­ni­ties the pair’s or­gan­i­sa­tion of­fered to the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“He, like any other young per­son, was at risk of fail­ing life but for the ef­forts of Del, MNUS, the love of an aunty and un­cle, the sup­port of his men­tor, Hone Park, his wife, Vic­to­ria Mahuru, NISS, Liz Mars­den, Peter Thomas and, of course, our kids, he now gets to travel the world, he gets to com­pete, and he gets to see and do things he would never have dreamt he’d be do­ing.”

Mel said he and Del strongly be­lieved that all peo­ple are at risk of fail­ure at cer­tain stages in their lives, even when their sit­u­a­tion is good in the home. There­fore it was im­por­tant to give them a place where they can grow and de­velop — not just in sport but in life, elim­i­nate fear, cre­ate a com­pet­i­tive spirit in sport, ed­u­ca­tion and life, and de­velop the de­sire to al­ways give their ul­ti­mate best ef­fort aware that will al­ways be enough.

Two weeks af­ter their re­turn in the new year, the group will be joined by three to four other play­ers and will travel and com­pete at the na­tional Maori bas­ket­ball cham­pi­onships in Ro­torua.

PIC­TURE / SUP­PLIED

The group of young lo­cal bas­ket­ball en­thu­si­asts are in Hawaii rep­re­sent­ing the Kaikohe-based Mid North United Sports or­gan­i­sa­tion in two in­ter­na­tional youth bas­ket­ball tour­na­ments.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.