Calls to make iwi golf tournament an annual event

By Eru Paranihi

Organisers for the inaugural Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara golf tournament are hoping to progress the event into an annual fixture, after successfully hosting it at the South Head golf club yesterday.

The tournament featured many players from their iwi, including up and coming golfers and was rightly set up as a way to celebrate those from the Ngāti Whātua region.

Te Kaipara o te Maunga Whakahii were instrumental in providing funds for the tournament. Iwi elder Hetaraka Tobin says that it is only right that they are a sponsor as it is a Māori tournament.

“By rights, we should be funding. That's us the organisation of Te Kaipara o Te Maunga Whakahii, we support these things,” says Tobin.

In its first year, over 100 players competed ranging from children through to adults. According to organisers, this tournament is an avenue for players from their iwi where they can play and also be promoted.

South Head club member and NZ Māori golfer Derek Larkins says, “They approached us up the course here, and we went along with what they wanted to do with the Tamariki and the Māori people of Ngāti Whātua.”

One of those children who competed at South Head is Tyrell Waru. He turned up with this grandparents and father, who are all members of the club, to play alongside the best from Ngāti Whātua. 

"Ok. I started off pretty bad, but I'm coming back now. [I want to] just enjoy myself and have fun,” says Waru who was content with his tournament form. 

Just talking to Waru, you can see why he has taken to the individual sport.

“I like having a play around with balls and seeing how far I can get each time. [I can hit] close to 160 maybe,” says Waru.

Following the success of the inaugural tournament, there is already support from key personnel who are willing to get behind it if it is held again next year.

"Yes indeed, it shall be funded and continued to be supported,” says Tobin.

Larkins says, "Every year we would like to play this on Waitangi Day. When we were approached, it was special for them anyway for Ngāti Whātua. We said we'll keep it for Waitangi Day,” says Larkins.