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Maori Television Prepares For Quadrangular Clash

Maori Television Prepares For Quadrangular Clash

The past, present and future of Maori men's and women's rugby will be showcased on Maori Television's CHURCHILL CUP live coverage in Canada this month.

Broadcast entirely in Maori, presenter Julian Wilcox and producer Bailey Mackey will be following the NZ Maori and Black Ferns teams to the CHURCHILL CUP quadrangular tournament, starting in Calgary on 12 June (13 June, NZ time) and finishing in Edmonton a week later.

NZ Maori coach Matt Te Pou named the 25-man NZ Maori squad for the Churchill Cup tournament on Wednesday.

Eight new players have been included in the touring side. They are Sean Hohneck (Waikato), Scott Waldrom (Wellington), Jake Paringatai (Northland), Billy Fulton (North Harbour), Hosea Gear (North Harbour), Shannon Paku (Wellington), Jared Going (Northland) and Hoani McDonald (Southland).

Meanwhile, former All Black Adrian Cashmore, who recently returned from a three-year stint in Japan, is back in the New Zealand Maori jersey while Auckland's Craig McGrath will tour with the side for the first time since 1999.

"We'll be showing behind the scenes stories and interviews with these players so our Maori audiences really get to know them," says Wilcox.

"Some of them have never played for the Maori side before. Our people like to know their tribal or whakapapa (genealogy) background so they can connect to them. Maori rugby isn't just about sport, it's about mana and pride in our culture as well."

The Churchill Cup was established in 2001 after a five year agreement between Rugby Canada, Rugby USA and the Rugby Football Union (England) to hold an annual rugby tournament in North America between the nations Senior Men's and Women's sides.

After a successful tour of Canada last year, the NZ Maori were invited to participate this year. It is the first time that the Black Ferns will play in the tournament as well.

"The Black Ferns are one of the top four women's rugby teams in the world," says Wilcox. "The other three will be at the CHURCHILL CUP so it will be a very interesting time for them there. The women show the same flair and skill that the men do and they'll demonstrate that with our live coverage on the field."

Wilcox and Mackey will be filing other stories from Canada including interviews with past Maori rugby players, stories of Maori living in Canada and possibly interviews with native Canadian Indians on indigenous issues and sport.

The first weekend of the tournament sees the NZ Maori up against the USA on Saturday 12 June (Sunday NZ time), with the Black Ferns also facing the USA on Sunday 13 June (Monday, NZ time).

Weekend two of the tournament, to be broadcast in New Zealand on Sunday 20 June, features third and fourth place play-offs and the men's and women's finals.

Wilcox and Mackey will provide live game commentary from Canada along with stories for the channel's nightly news programme Te Kaea. The channel will also broadcast its sports news bulletin out of Edmonton, Canada, on Saturday 19 June (Sunday NZ time). Player profiles, game schedules and a fact sheet about the coverage are attached.

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