The annual Te Tini A Maui (Central North Island Maori) Tournament is being played in Levin this weekend, featuring teams from throughout the Hurricanes catchment area.
Wellington's Te Upoko O Te Ika is gunning for a three-peat of titles, having successfully defended the Hikaia Amohia Trophy - pictured above - at last year’s tournament in Masterton beating Whanganui 36-22 in the Men’s A Division final.
The Te Tini A Maui Tournament dates back to 1987 and a team has won the title three years in a row just twice before. Hawke’s Bay’s Te Matau a Maui won between 1992-94 and Te Upoko O Te Ika won between 2009-11.
This year six representative teams from Wellington, Whanganui Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa-Bush Manawatu and host union Horowhenua-Kapiti are taking part at Playford Park.
The teams are split into two divisions of three teams based on last year’s seedings, with Te Upoko O Te Ika top seed and in Division 1 and Whanganui top seed in Division 2.
Matches are 60 minutes duration on Saturday and then the straight final on Sunday is 80 minutes.
As well as the Senior Men (Tane), there are Senior Women (Wahine) and U18 (Taiohi) tournaments, with three teams in each.
The Wahine teams - two Manawatu sides and one from Horowhenua Kapiti - play a tri-series 7s tournament, as do the Taiohi teams from Te Matau a Maui, Manawatu and Horowhenua-Kapiti. New winners will be found in each, after last year’s host side.
The Hikaia Amohia Trophy is named after the King Country Kaumatua for his dedication to Maori rugby. King Country hosted, and won, the first tournament in 1987, while Wellington are the defending champions.
The U18s winners will receive the Jimmy Aupouri Memorial Taonga and the Women are playing for the Toko Te Kani Taonga.
Regional Maori Rugby Tournaments also being played for in Te Waipounamu (South Island) and in Te Hiku O Te Ika (Northern), with an inter-regional tournament coming up later in the year.
Division 1: Te Upoko o Te Ika, Te Matau-a-Maui, Manawatū
Division 2: Whanganui, Wairarapa-Bush, Horowhenua-Kapiti
Draw Saturday 2 February (subject to change)
10.00am: Te Upoko O Te Ika v Manawatu – field 1
10.00am: Wairarapa Bush v Whanganui – field 2
1.00pm: Te Matua A Maui v Manawatu – field 1
1.00pm: Wairarapa Bush v Horowhenua-Kapiti – field 2
4.00pm: Whanganui v Horowhenua-Kapiti – field 1
4.00pm: Te Upoko O Te Ika v Te Matau A Maui – field 2
11.15am: Horowhenua-Kapiti v Manawatu – field 1
3.00pm: Te Matua A Maui v Manawatu – field 1
11.15am: Horowhenua-Kapiti v Manawatu B – field 2
3.00pm: Manawatu A v Manawatu B – field 2
Draw Sunday 3 February (subject to change):
10.00am: Horowhenua-Kapiti v Te Matau A Maui (Tama) – field 1
11.00am: Manawatu A v Horowhenua-Kapiti (Hine) – field 1
12.45pm: Winner Div 1 v Winner Div 2 (Tane) field 1
Forwards (two to add):
1987: King Country
1988: Hawke's Bay
1991: Poverty Bay
1992: Te Matau a Maui – (Hawke's Bay)
1993: Te Matau a Maui – (Hawke's Bay)
1994: Te Matau a Maui – (Hawke's Bay)
1996: Te Matau a Maui – (Hawke's Bay)
1997: Tuwharetua Maniapoto
1998: Te Matau a Maui – (Hawke's Bay)
1999: Te Upoko O Te Ika (Wellington)
2000: Te Matau a Maui – (Hawke's Bay)
2001: Te Upoko O Te Ika (Wellington)
2002: Te Upoko O Te Ika (Wellington)
2006-2007: Not Held
2009: Te Upoko O Te Ika (Wellington)
2010: Te Upoko O Te Ika (Wellington)
2011: Te Upoko O Te Ika (Wellington)
2013: Te Upoko O Te Ika (Wellington)
2016: Te Upoko O Te Ika (Wellington)
2017: Te Upoko O Te Ika (Wellington)