Girls youth side invited to Indigenous Games in Canada

By Tamati Tiananga

A Māori Women's Regional U18 Basketball Team from Northland has been invited to the World Indigenous Games in Canada.

The team's management is led by Raymond Cameron, younger brother to former Tall Black Pero Cameron. He says the tournament will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But the organisers are in need of financial support with the trip expected to cost each player more than $2000.

“We want to go over there with good intentions to win, that’s always the mindset. It’s not everything in my eyes, creating a relationship with Haida Gwaii and creating a relationship with others budding that bond is the key,” said Cameron. 

This weekend in Whangarei organisers will host its first trial. A number of players to be considered for selection featured in an indigenous tournament last year in Kaitaia.

“The girls are from the Whangarei area, Auckland and Hamilton. They are from Ngāti Wai, Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Hine,” said Cameron. 

A team fun run around the Hatea Loop in Whangarei has been organised. All proceeds will go toward team sportswear and accommodation.

The former Northland Suns player believes this will open doors for its players wishing to play offshore. 

"I can see many more of these opportunities come throughout the year.   The indigenous growth of sport is going to be recognised and in a position not just based on mainstream. So if you don’t make a NZ team or University teams we do have other pathways for our talented indigenous players."  

The tournament will host teams from New Zealand – NZ Māori, Australia and USA. Canada will court three local teams.