The local invitational squad at training for the test match series later this month. - 22111510
Aotearoa Māori men’s and women’s volleyball teams are coming to the Cook Islands for a test match series against a local invited squad.
Aotearoa Māori Poirewa men's team will bring nine
players and the women’s team will bring 10, accompanied by seven staff and
officials. They arrive in Rarotonga on November 22 with matches scheduled for
November 25, 26, and 28, at the National Arena in Nikao.
It’s the first competition in
what is hoped to be an annual event.
Cook Islands men’s squad coach
and player, Brendan Heath said he didn’t remember the last time the country had
an international indoor tournament.
Heath said the squad was largely
made up of players who had trained with local NGO, Kōrero o te `Ōrau’s
volleyball programme over the last two years.
“I thought this
would be a good opportunity for them to put those skills to practice because
they've been dedicated for quite a long time, this is their chance to get to
use those skills,” Heath said.
“We've got a core
group of players and we're kind of using this as kind of a development
“It's probably not
going to have all of the best men on the island and it’s kind of a mixture of
junior players and senior players.”
secretary of Kōrero o te
`Ōrau and also the coach of the local women’s side, said she was “over the moon”
her players could play in the competition.
“Having that opportunity to play
an international side, this is a step in the right direction,” she said.
Cook Islands Volleyball committee member, Hugh Graham said the New Zealand teams are also coming to Rarotonga for a cultural trip.
Graham said the teams wanted to
visit cultural heritage sites and the Ministry of Culture.
“This is the start of an annual
invitational volleyball competition which is hoped to attract other indigenous
teams to attend,” Graham said.
Rongo said she hoped other
Pacific Islands would join in future competitions.
She said the New Zealand squads supported
Māori youth using
“volleyball as a vessel to help them on their journey through life”, which was
similar to what was being done with Kōrero o te `Ōrau’s volleyball programmes.
“That’s very similar to what
we're trying to achieve with our programme, volleyball is just one part of what
we do, and it's really about holistic learning, about promoting discipline,
clean habits, commitment, all those core values that we hope our youth will