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‘Ātui’anga ki te Tango volleyball team brings home bronze medal

Thursday 20 July 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Sports, Volleyball

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‘Ātui’anga ki te Tango volleyball team brings home bronze medal
The Cook Islands team at the Country of Origin Volleyball Series. SUPPLIED/23071901

Cook Islands NGO Kōrero o te ‘Ōrau’s ‘Ātui’anga ki te Tango (AKTT) 2023 team have returned with a successful win at the Country of Origin Volleyball Series in Aotearoa New Zealand earlier this month.

Auckland Cook Islands women’s team took out the women’s division with the Cook Islands based Vaine Toa team managing third place.

The Cook Islands Auckland team was second in the men’s division

Jackie Rongo, secretary of Kōrero o te ‘Ōrau, said the win was exciting and the tournament was a good experience for the young players.

Rongo said it was the first time they had taken part in the volleyball competition.

She said in July 2022, AKTT Volleyball met James Summers, New Zealand-based sports administrator who has been involved with volleyball development for many years, in Rarotonga when he brought teams over for some match play opportunities during the holiday. AKTT Volleyball was invited to participate at the Country of Origins series.

Acknowledging the Bank of Cook Islands (BCI) and the many supporters who contributed to their fundraisings, Rongo said the programme the NGO runs is focused on youth development.

She had earlier said that in order to participate in volleyball, students must be a part of the AKTT programme which is about “so much more than just the sport; there is a strong cultural aspect as well”.

Nicolea Mateariki, who joined the volleyball team, also acknowledged the community for showing their continuous support through contributing to their recent fundraising.

Mateariki said: “It was a great experience for myself, getting to travel with my amazing teammates and learn more about volleyball, as well as further information about places we stayed at.”

“I wish we could’ve stayed a bit longer, as the one-week trip was not enough. I would just like to say congratulations to my team, Vaine Toa, for performing very well, and for taking out bronze in the competition, this wouldn't have been possible without our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Te Atua Te Aroa.”

Jacques Koteka, captain of Tumutoa, said: “It was an experience of a lifetime, we are so blessed with this opportunity of representing the Cook Islands for volleyball in the Country of Origin.”

Tumutoa said he learnt a lot from various types of people, adding experiencing such a competitive atmosphere “really brought the best side of me and the team into action on and off the court”.