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Maori Sporting Heroes take the World by Storm

Maori Sporting Heroes take the World by Storm

Te Ururoa Flavell,

Sport and Recreation Spokesperson; Maori Party Monday 26 November 2007

The 2007 National Maori Sports Awards show that Maori sportspeople are demonstrating their incredible talents and abilities in every sporting area across the world says Te Ururoa Flavell.

"It is a huge buzz to see the calibre of Maori World Champions represented in sporting areas as varied as wood-chopping and wood-sawing (Jason Wynyard, Karmyn Wynyard, Dion Lane); cue ball (Ramona Belmont); rowing (Storm Uru); Tae Kwon Do (Luke Thompson) or Body Boarding (Mihi Wells)" said Te Ururoa Flavell.

"When we looked at the Te Whare Matapuna o te Ao, (Maori Sports Hall of Fame), it is really awesome to see our legends being recognised - such as Buck Shelford, Waimarama Taumaunu, and Wynton Rufer" said Flavell.

"And of course the whole of Maoridom worships Ngapuhi rugby league superstar, Stacey Jones, who was given a special award - Tohu Motuhake - on Saturday night" said Flavell.

"Our sporting champions are everywhere - they are demonstrating their flair in wheelchair racing (Matthew Lack); in cricket and basketball (Susie Bates) as well of course in our more traditional areas of excellence in netball (Yvette McCausland-Durie) and rugby (Zac Guildford and Ani Haua)" said Flavell.

"I was pleased to see Tu Toa Trust being awarded the Best Community Initiative - He Oranga Poutama" said Te Ururoa Flavell. "Tu Toa is a brilliant initiative which aims to tautoko our young Maori in sport and academia".

"I've been really impressed with this programme as it combines both a top educational programme through the support of the Correspondence School, with the demands of top level sport" said Flavell.

"But there was one name on everyone's lips at the end of the night - Storm Uru" said Flavell. "This Ngai Tahu wonder took out the senior Maori sportsman of the year award (second year running) as well as the Albie Pryor Memorial Maori Sportsperson of the Year. Storm Uru is one of the sport's top lightweight scullers; a gold medal winner; and now Maori Sportsperson of the Year - too much".

"While it was a night of celebration, it was also tinged with great sadness as we thought of the many sportspeople who has since passed on" said Flavell. "It was particularly poignant to learn as the Awards Ceremony began, of the loss of former All Black; Maori All Black; All Black selector and rugby coach, Pat Walsh" said Flavell.

"Not only do the Maori Sports Awards represent the determination of Albie Pryor, they've also grown from the constant dedicated support of Pat Walsh - both whom recognised the importance of celebrating our own indigenous success" said Flavell.

"The Maori Party acknowledges the stirling commitment of Dick Garratt in building on their vision, and recognises all who have and continue to play such a vital role in recognising the skills and successes of our top Maori sportspeople across Aotearoa".

ENDS

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