The first Māori Boys Secondary School Cricket Team

By Tema Hemi

For the first time, the NZ Māori Secondary Schoolboys Cricket Team took to the pitch at the Karori Park to face a Governor General's XI in a windy Wellington today. NZ Cricket are hoping to grow the sport among Māori and acknowledge the impact Māori has already had on the sport.

A historical moment for these young Māori boys and an honor to receive from the Governor General of New Zealand.

Team member and Lindisfarne College student Bailey McDonald says, "Its a very special occasion being the first team to play this fixture and its a pretty cool honor to be able to be picked for the side."

School Sport NZ CEO Garry Carnachan says, "Cricket doesn't have much of a Māori dimension and we thought secondary schools would be a good place to start so we approached NZ Cricket with the idea and spoke to Martin Snedden first and it's great to work with an organisation that makes ideas happen." 

Source - NZ Cricket Website.

The playing group was only brought together two days ago and for many its been an opportunity to connect with their culture for the first time. Māori have already made a massive impact on the sport through the likes of Adam Parore, Darryl Tuffey, Jesse Ryder, and current Black Caps fast bowler Trent Boult leading the way. The next step for NZ Cricket is to organise Māori girls secondary schools team by the next summer season. 

The NZ Cricket Network and Participation Advisor Andrew Tara says, "It's huge its an honor for us. We understand we haven't connected with Māori well and this is an opportunity to profile the sport of cricket to Māori and also for Māori to have a look and see if there's an opportunity for them to play cricket. For them that was huge so for them to get an opportunity to experience a powhiri, stay in a marae, it been an absolute eye-opener."

Coach Mark Borthwick had this to say, "I think for NZ Cricket its a huge opportunity to bring more Māori into the game so from that perspective I'm particularly excited to be a pathfinder in this regard. Ollie White is certainly a player for the future and a wonderful skipper and he's got a lot going for him. Ruben Love is another player who's fantastic, young Ryan Jackson he's only young year 12 at St Pat's Silverstream and he's bowling very very quickly.