Chris Swallow Honoured at Regional Ki o Rahi Tournament
Mana College won two of the three titles at this week’s College Sport Wellington Regional Ki o Rahi tournament and the winning Mana College and runners-up Tawa College Mixed teams both qualified for next year’s NZSS tournament in Northland.
Mana College won the Senior Boys and Mixed team titles, while St Mary’s College won the Girls competition, played at Te Whiti Park on Tuesday.
One of the key features of this year’s tournament was honouring the memory of Chris Swallow, Tawa College’s PE teacher and a founding teacher of the school’s Ki o Rahi programme until his recent tragic death while competing at the Isle of Mann Senior Classic TT motorcycle race.
Swallow had taught at the school since 2012, and was the Year 11 dean this year.
Tawa College co-coach/manager at this week’s tournament Monica Farr said that Tawa’s players played in his memory on Tuesday.
“They brought with them his kawemate in his memory. The captain of the girls team brought this on to the table alongside trophies. They played with a lot of heart – the girls team chanting “1,2,3 Chris Swallow ” before games. Chris Swallow would have been proud of their efforts.”
Mana College’s Senior Mixed team coach Awhina Edwards said Swallow’s death is a huge loss to the community.
“He was a strong advocate for Ki o Rahi itself but also the tikanga and values related to Ki o Rahi. He also loved and was excited about the different dynamics and physical skills displayed in our taonga takaro.”
Mana College’s and runner-up Tawa College’s Mixed teams qualified for next year’s NZSS tournament next April, – which feature just a Mixed teams division.
Mana College’s Boys team coach was Tiringa Ikiua Meremere, who took over the reins of that team this year after five years as the winning captain and player and then coach of the school’s Mixed team.
Tiringa said the bulk of the winning Boys team were playing in their first Ki o Rahi tournament. “We just had one player from the Mixed team that went to nationals in Gisborne this year, the rest were new players.”
Mana’s Boys team was still confident of doing well. “We are strong at Mana in Ki o Rahi and so we were keen to maintain that standard. It was about giving them exposure to the sport and the opportunity for them to learn the game.”
Ki o Rahi combines skills from several traditional sports. “A lot of the players are flag players, as well as rugby and other sports.”
In winning the tournament, Mana’s Boys team played five games and beat one of the two Aotea College teams 36-10. This was the first time the Mana Boys had won, while Mana’s Mixed team won for the first consecutive year.
Ki o Rahi is played on a circular field. One team (the Taniwha) tries to score points by throwing the ki (ball) at the centre post (Tupu) while the other (the Kioma) tries to win by tagging it against all of the seven posts (pou) around the circle.
Games are four six-minute quarters, so 24 minutes of total playing time. There are eight players in a team on the field at a time, with substitutes.
This year’s Nationals were held in Gisborne, with Mana College finishing in the middle of the field. Auckland’s Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae won for the third consecutive year.
Boys team coach Tiringa has been part of the senior Wellington representative team for several years that plays friendly matches against other teams and regions.
The sport is growing around New Zealand, and is played internationally in places such as Australia, the Cook Islands and France. A French team toured New Zealand a few years ago.
Next up is the CSW Ki o Rahi Junior Tournament on 28 November, being played at the Wellington College.
The winning teams were:
Mana College Boys:
Hamiora Te Kani (C)
Trevon Taputu Hall
Mana College Mixed:
Rikihana Love (C)
Te Mauri Pouwhare
Skye Aroha Bailey
Student Scorers: Sapphire and Lysha Taitapanui
Student ref: Rawinia Hekeu
St Mary’s College Girls: