Seven Cook Islands badminton players have been part of the Badminton Oceania and Manukau Badminton Pasifika programme.
Badminton Oceania and Counties Manukau Badminton
have been working collaboratively for the past year on a Pasifika programme in
South Auckland schools with the aim of getting more children from Pacific
Island countries engaged in regular badminton programmes.
And as part of the development programme, seven
players from Cook Islands were part of the Counties Manukau team in the recent
New Zealand Junior National team Championships.
Badminton Oceania says Cook Islands players are
eligible to play in this competition as they hold New Zealand passports and are
considered a close neighbour with a three hour flight separating the two
The New Zealand Junior National Team Championships
are played in 4 age groups (u13, u15,u17, u19) with over 500 players as well as
coaches, managers and parents all in the one venue in Palmerston North (central
North Island) where 36 courts are fully utilised over the four days of
For the players from the Cook Islands an event of
this magnitude is a very different experience from playing a local tournament
at home. The two under 15 players were in New Zealand in February where
they played in the Pacific u15 Invitation Challenge team tournament while the
five U17 players were all members of the Cook Islands u19 or Open teams which
played in the Oceania Championships.
Zarrian Heather-Rau and Kaiyin Mataio are both
currently residing in New Zealand where they are attending school: Kings
College and Rutherford College; both players have been training regularly with
the Counties Manukau U17 squad.
Badminton Oceania Coaching and Development Manager
– Robbie Thackham, who is also the volunteer coach of the Counties Manukau U17
number one team, said the benefits of this programme for these young players is
“They are put out of their comfort zone by having
to work with a different coach and interact and play with different players
than they are used to. The higher level and intensity of the badminton
over four days saw the players improve as the tournament went on, although they
did get very tired as they were not used to such intensity. These players
have all returned home – either to Auckland or Rarotonga highly motivated to
train harder and return again next year”.
Three of the under 17 players: Tereapii Akavi, Te
Pa O Te Rangi Tupa and Kaiyin Mataio have been selected in the Cook Islands
team to play in the BWF World Junior Championships 2023 in Spokane, USA, from
September 25 – October 8 where they will gain valuable international experience
as they look ahead to the Oceania Championships in February next year.
The players, their teams and final placings from
the New Zealand Junior National Team Championships:
U15 Team 1 (Silver medallist Division 1) – Edon Teraitua
U15 Team 2 (Gold medallist Division 2) – Lana Aperau Toa
U17 Team 1 (Bronze medallist Division 1) – Tereapii Akavi, Te Pa O Te Rangi
Tupa, Kaiyin Mataio, Zarrian Heather-Rau
U17 Team 2 (5th Place Division 2) – Augustine Teraitua