Rangatahi important motivation behind Tūwharetoa festival

By Aroha Mane

Eighteen marae from across the Ngāti Tūwhareroatoa district have come together to compete for the iwi's marae sports supreme championship trophy. The competition features 16 sports events from ki-ō-rahi, to pétanque, chess, crossfit and marae idol.

The competition involves two days of action-packed sports, games and entertainment.

The festival MC Karam Fletcher told Te Ao, “This festival is about bringing together the various sub-tribes of Ngāti Tūwharetoa.”

The challenge is a bi-annual competition hosted at Turangitukua Park in Turangi. Hundreds have come to participate.

“One of the most important aspects of this festival is the youth, so they can be part of positive events that may influence a better future. It's something we really want,” Fletcher says.

Irirangi Timu from Korohe Marae says, “It's just the buzz you know, our young ones are so eager to go. So got to be here to tautoko our young people.”

“This is what I love about this, that we're able to still be competitive, have a laugh about this. I'm so proud to be Tūwharetoa,” Jurnee Murray from Maaro Marae says.

Besides sports and entertainment, Ngāti Tūwharetoa has aspirations to further develop their Māori language capacity.

“We're still learning about the gifts from our ancestors and we're working on a plan that includes Māori language classes specifically for the iwi,” Fletcher says.

Tonight  the finalists in the marae idol event will take the stage to wrap up competition.