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CPIT leads traditional sport revival in Christchurch

CPIT leads traditional sport revival in Christchurch

A fast-paced traditional Māori contact sport played in the US, France and Italy is being revived in Christchurch by CPIT tutor Heperi Harris.

The first CPIT Ki-o-rahi tournament will be played at Linfield Park on 3 April from 8.30am to 2pm with secondary school and community teams.

Heperi describes the game as a cross between handball, touch rugby and netball. He was introduced to Ki-o-rahi in 2009 and has been playing it with friends ever since.

“I’m passionate about Māori sports. The opportunity to take Ki-o-rahi to the community and establish an annual tournament has been my dream. I’d like to establish a Canterbury team to compete at the national level as well.”

Ki-o-rahi is played on a circular field, with a ‘ki’ (ball) which is passed swiftly and imaginatively to reach a bucket or basket in the centre or players can also score by touching flags on the field perimeter. Traditional aspects of the game have been retained wherever possible.

“Traditionally the game was preceded by days of negotiations. There were different adaptations of the game so each tribe would try to establish rules that would benefit their team. We negotiate too, but only for a few minutes,” Heperi said.

Students from CPIT’s Certificate in sport training and indigenous culture (also called TOA Sports) have led several practise sessions to introduce teams to the rules and tactics of Ki-o-rahi. The initiative is an ideal fit with their studies into sports training and Māori and other Pacific Island languages and cultures.

The game is currently played in the North Island, and overseas. Heperi is unsure how one million American children came to be playing Ki-o-rahi but his research shows that the game was introduced to Italy and France by soldiers from the Māori battalion.

Also on 3 April there will also be a Mai FM sausage sizzle, an ‘Institute of Origin’ exhibition game between CPIT’s Te Puna Wanaka and University of Canterbury’s Aotahi: School of Māori and Indigenous Studies and a have-a-go session for those who want to get a taste of Ki-o-rahi.

The next TOA sports programme starts on 24 April. See or phone 0800 24 24 76 for more information.


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