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Who Will Be New Zealand’s Ultimate Maori Warrior?

PUBLICITY RELEASE
JANUARY 31, 2008

Who Will Be New Zealand’s Ultimate Maori Warrior?

New Zealand’s toughest reality television series – TOA: TOA O AOTEAROA – returns to Maori Television on Thursday February 20 at 9.30 PM.

The show pits the ancient against the avant garde, the gifted against the experienced, and after many grueling weeks, comes up with a top warrior winner who takes home a $10,000 prize and the title of TOA: TOA O AOTEAROA champion.

In this second series, 12 men skilled in the use of the ancient taiaha weapon are taken to an isolated, secret location to be pushed to their limits – physically and mentally. Challenges test their skill, strength, stamina and agility and determines the two warriors who must fight each other in a full contact taiaha duel.

This battle is held on a specially constructed marae where these disputes were traditionally resolved. There are four, two-minute bouts and the opponents score points for full hits to the body, limbs and head. The warrior with the least amount of points at the end of the rounds is deemed to have lost.

Ranging in age from 17 to 57, the competitors hail from all over New Zealand. They are: Tua Hekenui (Ngati Tuwharetoa), Reweti Te Mete (Ngati Ranginui, Ngaiterangi), Te Whare Kotua Morrison-Hare (Te Arawa, Tuhoe), Joel Buck (Te Arawa, Whakatohea), Douglas Pini Ihaia (Ngati Rangitihi), Raimona Inia (Te Arawa, Ngati Tarawhai), Poutapu Tame Strickland Winikerei (Ngati Raukawa), Brendon Martin (Te Rarawa), Tipene Rangihuna (Ngati Porou), Warren Brian (Ngapuhi), Anaru Keogh (Ngapuhi, Ngati Maniopoto) and defending champion Owen Mitai-Wells (Te Arawa, Tuwharetoa).

Weaponary master Wetini Mitai-Ngatai (Te Arawa) returns as the judge, as does referee Tukiterangi Curtis (Ngati Rongomai). Producer Reuben Collier of Rotorua-based Maui Productions says there’s been no shortage of talented taiaha exponents coming forward for the second series of TOA: TOA O AOTEAROA.

“People now know what to expect after seeing the first series and they can judge for themselves whether they have what it takes,” Reuben says. “We had one contestant whose wife entered him after he sat and critiqued every competitor in the first series and one who came all the way from Sydney. But it has meant a higher calibre of contestants for this series.”

The Maui Production producers designed the full body armour worn by the warriors. It includes a fibre glass helmet, steel face cage, padded leather gloves and a chest plate. “Make no mistake, the taiaha is a weapon designed to inflict maximum damage. It’s easy to see how one warrior could defeat large groups of attackers.”

Join these brave contestants on their journey of a lifetime when TOA: TOA O AOTEAROA premieres on Maori Television on Thursday February 20 at 9.30 PM.

ENDS

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR TOA: TOA O AOTEAROA
Year: 2008
Censor: General Exhibition (G)
Duration: 13 x 30 minute programme
Language: Maori and English languages

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