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Māori Sports Hall of Fame Honours Rugby Pioneer


Māori Sports Hall of Fame Honours Rugby Pioneer


A member of the first rugby team to represent New Zealand overseas will be inducted into the Māori Sports Hall of Fame, Te Whare Mātāpuna o te Ao Māori, at the National Māori Sports Awards this Saturday (30 November 2013).

Teōne Wiwi Taiaroa (1862 – 1907) – also known as John or Jack Taiaroa – is among the first of the many standout Māori players who have been a staple in the All Black squad for more than a century.

Selected for the Australian tour in 1884, Jack scored nine tries in the tour’s nine games, an impressive feat given the rarity of tries at the time and that three of the matches were against New South Wales. His try tally was twice as many as any of his team mates.

He grew up in Ōtākou and had a distinguished Kai Tahu whakapapa. His grandfather was the chief, Te Matenga Taiaroa, and his father was Hori Kerei Taiaroa, a long-serving parliamentarian for Southern Māori and a tireless campaigner for Kai Tahu land claims.

Jack learnt to play rugby at Otago Boy’s High School and went on to represent Otago between 1881 and 1884. An all-round athlete, he also represented Hawke’s Bay in rugby in 1887 and 1889 and in cricket in the 1890s. In 1893, he was runner-up in the national athletics championships in the long jump for which he held a national record.

Jack’s grand-niece and a sporting great in her own right, Netball New Zealand and Aotearoa Māori Tennis life member Taini Jamison OBE, will accept his induction at the annual awards ceremony in Auckland on Saturday night (30 November 2013).

The black tie event will also pay tribute to tennis great Ruia Morrison MBE. Ruia was the first Māori to play at Wimbledon and returned to the prestigious club in June this year – 53 years after she last played at the world-famous tournament.

A total of 20 Māori world champions will be recognised for their international successes while the winners in 10 categories will also be announced by Te Tohu Taakaro o Aotearoa Charitable Trust at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau.

On-stage entertainment will include Whakatāne singer-songwriter Maisey Rika who won Best Māori Album at the New Zealand Music Awards last week, Christchurch-based X Factor runner-up Whenua Patuwai, musician Tama Waipara and metro-Māori performers, JGeeks.

National Māori radio programme producer, Waatea 603 AM, will broadcast live from 5.00 pm while national indigenous broadcaster, Māori Television, will screen delayed coverage from 9.30 pm.

More information about the National Māori Sports Awards is on the website www.maorisportsawards.co.nz

ENDS

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