The full Cook Islands national cricket squad in Auckland. - 22090415
The Cook Islands national squad played Auckland’s first all-Māori cricket team in the weekend.
The national squad had three practice matches against the Auckland
team at Macleans College in preparation for the East Asia
Pacific Sub-Regional Qualifying Tournament in Vanuatu.
Although the national squad lost all the games, team manager Rahul
Patil said his side did a lot of experimenting.
Patil also said he preferred the team make the mistakes in the
practice games than in the tournament.
However, two of the games were very tight. In the first match the
national squad fell short by about 15 runs and in the third, the squad
dominated the first 16 overs but did not make the last required 30 runs in the
After the games on Saturday, both teams had dinner together and
watched the All Blacks rugby match against Argentina.
“It’s good to see whether you are a Cook Islander or New
everyone supports the All Blacks,” Patil said.
Yesterday the team practiced in the nets.
Half of the squad were based in New Zealand and the other half were
based in the Cook Islands before they met on Friday in Auckland.
comradery is growing and everyone is backing each other,” Patil said.
Auckland’s first all-Māori team was named Tāmaki
Makaurau. The team is run by Auckland Māori Cricket, a group set up earlier
this year to encourage, highlight and influence Māori cricket in Auckland.
The group was a brainchild of Auckland Māori Cricket
co-ordinator Michael Tillett and NZ Cricket Kaihautū Māori lead Andrew Tara.
Prior to the game Tillett said: “There has never been a
space for Māori to play cricket in Auckland. There was a national side in 2001
but never provincial for Auckland.”
“Andrew [Tara] approached me to organise a team for the
fixtures against the Cook Islands, I just contacted all the guys that I knew of
that had Māori whakapapa.
“I was hoping to get half the team as Māori, it turned out
we got 12 [a full team] very easily with very talented players,” he said.
The ages of the squad members ranged from 17 to 40, with
players entering the team from provincial and university clubs across Tāmaki
Makaurau, as well as domestic teams like the Auckland Aces.
“We are representing our iwi and hapū, but we’re mostly
representing Māori in general,” he said
Tillett said he hoped the game and the group would encourage
more Māori into the world of cricket.
“The purpose behind this is two-pronged: I really would like
to see more Māori playing the game. Hopefully by showcasing the talent that we
have shows that there is a pathway for Māori to get into cricket and to play
high-level,” he said.
“Also, some of the players we have aren’t in touch with
their whakapapa... the other side of things is how can we give them an exposure
and understanding of te ao Māori and tikanga Māori as well.”