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MTS: NZ Maori Vs Cook Is Rugby League Clash

16 September 2005

NZ Maori Vs Cook Islands Rugby League Clash On Maori Television

There’ll be revenge in the air when the NZ Maori rugby league team clash with their Cook Island counterparts on Maori Television’s coverage of the three-game series between NZ MAORI VS COOK ISLANDS.

The three NZ Maori vs Cook Islands games will be broadcast by Maori Television, the official broadcaster of the games, from Tokoroa (LIVE: Saturday October 8 from 2PM to 5PM), Gisborne (DELAYED COVERAGE: Thursday October 13 from 2PM to 5PM) and Hastings (LIVE: Sunday October 16 from 2PM to 5PM).

The coverage is to be presented by television and radio broadcaster Dale Husband, former Kiwi rugby league captain Richie Barnett and Maori Television’s own sports reporter Te Arahi Maipi in 90% English language commentary.

Soundly beaten by their Cook Island brothers a year ago in the Pacific Rim tournament with a miserable 46-4 score, the NZ Maori team and their coach Tawera Nikau will be out for victory.

‘We learned a lot about the Cook Island team last year and we want utu,” says Nikau.
“Last year they had a strong forward attack and some skilful halves so our defense will be a strong focus.”

Like the Cook Island team, the NZ Maori selectors have chosen players from Australia and are looking to recruit from NRL teams.

The Cook Islands’ national rugby league team has been playing internationally since 1988 when they were defeated by the NZ Maori team 70 -10. The teams met each other six more times on the field with the Cook Islanders beating the NZ Maori team twice.

Cook Islands coach and former Kiwi, Kevin Iro, says despite the on-field battles, their cultural connections are stronger.

“Last year we talked with the NZ Maori about developing a Pacific State of Origin competition,” says Iro. “We don’t play each other as regularly as we’d like and it would help build a stronger connection between our teams.”

Nikau agrees and adds that while the competitions are a long way off, it would be open to other Pacific Island nations as well.

In the meantime he’s looking forward to some healthy rivalry against the Cook Island Maori in Tokoroa, Gisborne and Hastings where there are large Cook Island and NZ Maori populations.

“If you’ve ever been to league games in the islands, you’ll know what a fantastic experience it is – it’s not just the game,” says Nikau. “The atmosphere is really exciting with their drums and dancing and a lot of our guys won’t have seen that.”

Join the action on Maori Television’s coverage of the tri-series between NZ MAORI VS COOK ISLANDS.

LIVE: Saturday October 8 from 2PM to 5PM from Tokoroa
DELAYED COVERAGE: Thursday October 13 from 2PM to 5PM from Gisborne
LIVE: Sunday October 16 from 2PM to 5PM from Hastings

ENDS

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