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Maori bound for I World Indigenous Games in Brazil

Maori bound for I World Indigenous Games in Brazil

Following the success of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the next challenge for Brazil, before the Olympics 2016, is the achieving of the first edition of the I World Indigenous Games, a multisport event with over 2,200 indigenous athletes from 25 countries, including 24 Brazilian ethnic groups. The Games will take place in the city of Palmas, the newest of the Brazilian Capitals, in the State of Tocantins, from the 23rd of October to the 1st of November and the Maori are expected to represent New Zealand.

"This is an important achievement for the indigenous people. A meeting where culture and tradition will join technology and promote a competition that is actually a celebration among different peoples from all over the world”, said Marcos Terena, international spokesperson from the Intertribal Committee.

The program of the Games will be diversified, including traditional indigenous sports such as the Log Race, Tug of War, Bow and Arrow and xikunahati (soccer with the head), and also Olympic modalities like swimming, athletics and soccer.

The Maori team will be competing in 15 modalities. Moreover, they will demonstrate their spiritual game called ki-o-rahi, played with the ki ball, the same one carried by the Brazilian president Dilma Rouseff, during the release of the Games. Other traditional Maori Cultural Games performed during the event will be ti-uru, hakariki, maui-matau, te wi o te wheke, horohopu, torere, ruru-nei and mu torero, and kapa haka (dance and song) and mau rakau (traditional weaponry with spears called taiaha).

“Games are a very significant part of Maori culture. There are over 300 traditional games, known as Nga Taonga Takaro (the games treasures of our ancestors). So, we are honoured to attend and to be able to support Brazil on this historical event. And we are also enthusiastic about meeting other indigenous peoples and share our diverse traditional games’ and cultural knowledge’s with them”, declared the Maori representant, Harko Brown.

The event goes beyond a mere sport competition. “Over the 260 m² of the Games Village area, besides the Green Arena, the main stage of all competitions, there will be also a space for an Agriculture Fair and a Fair of Indigenous Arts, as well as a variety of cultural performances”, asserted the Secretary of World Games for Indigenous Peoples, Hector Franco.

During ten days, different ethnic groups will have the opportunity to get to know each other and socialize their habits and cultures. Palmas is pleased to welcome all of them in our multicultural city”, guaranteed the mayor of Palmas, Carlos Amastha.

About the host city:

Only 26 years old, Palmas is located in the heart of Brazil and congregates a cosmopolitan population of nearly 300 thousand inhabitants, coming from the four regions of Brazil, of whom 500 persons declare themselves as indigenous. According to the city’s mayor, Carlos Amastha, born in Colombia, “in this city, we are creating a new paradigm of society.”

Palmas offers an enviable quality of life and its modernity and multiculturalism make the city one of the best to live and invest in. It is the fastest growing state capital in Brazil, averaging well over 10% a year growth for the past decade. Besides its modern architecture, Palmas has an unquestionable natural landscape. The city sprawls between the mountain range Serra of Lajeado and an artificial lake, formed by the Luis Eduardo Hydroelectric Dam, which makes the city a perfect place for aquatic sports and recreational activities.


The I World Indigenous Games are an indigenous initiative, realized through a partnership between the Government of Brazil, the Ministry of Sport, Intertribal Committee, the government of Tocantins, the City Hall of Palmas and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).


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