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Ngatiwai teen dreams of playing Major League Baseball

Ngatiwai teen dreams of playing Major League Baseball

Aotea Parata, the sole Northlander in the New Zealand-U15 baseball team to play in the International Baseball Federation world championships in Mazatlan, Mexico in August, has dreams of one day making it into the ranks of Major League Baseball.

The outfielder and pitcher has been playing baseball since he was nine and has long been a fan of the New York Yankees.

“They will be playing two of the strongest teams at world baseball – Japan and the USA -- which will be a huge experience for them, but on the other side of the coin the benefit is that most of the baseball scouts will be at those games,” Aotea’s mother Moea Armstrong says.

The year 11 student at Te Kura Hourua o Whangarei Terenga Paraoa first came to prominence as a promising junior four years ago when he was selected for New Zealand to play in the World Children’s Baseball Fair in Japan.

“He loves the game and is well aware that baseball players are big earners in the US. If he makes it there it would be a great experience for him.”

She said 2014 had already proved to be a very significant one in Aotea’s life.

“It has been a massive year for him. He got to go to Italy in May with the leadership Academy of A Company which retraced the footsteps of the 28th Maori Battalion in Italy,” Ms Armstrong said.

The 25 cadets (also sponsored by Ngātiwai) attended the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Cassino.

“The boys were very moved by the trip. One highlight was doing the haka in front of Prince Harry. What is interesting is that Aotea, his brother Te Kaurinui and others in the roopu, are descended from Mahanga, the first rangatira to meet King George III in London in 1805.”

Ms Armstrong says growing up immersed in Ngātiwai Kaitiakitanga from his father Hori Parata has given Aotea a good grounding in his identity. He also attended Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Rawhiti Roa which both introduced him to baseball and ensured he became proficient in Te Reo Maori.

She said the whanau was extremely grateful to the Ngātiwai Trust Board for its sponsorship.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support he has been given and he is grateful for the sponsorship.”

If you want to keep up-to-date and follow Aotea and the New Zealand team in Mexico, visit Northland Baseball's facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/baseballnorthland

http://www.baseballnewzealand.com/index.php/teams/15u

ends

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