A day of ki-o-rahi was a chance to celebrate the traditional Maori game, and different cultures yesterday.

Hundreds gathered at Flaxmere park to watch students from Wellington, Dannevirke, and Hastings schools participate alongside visiting students from La Providence Dieppe in Normandy.

Te Taitimu Trust chief executive Zac Makaore said it was really pleasing to see they had pulled the day off.

In collaboration with Nga Taonga Takaro they had been organising the inaugural Hastings event for the past 12 months. "People are stoked to have this opportunity to support our kids - it shows together we can make things happen if we're there helping our community.

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Mr Makaore hoped students used the day to build relationships, and that their added cultural knowledge would make them more confident, and resilient leaders of tomorrow.

"A lot of schools here play already, but bringing in an international school gave it a push."

The ball game is played with two teams, called Kioma and Taniwha, on a sectional circular pitch. The Kioma team score points by touching posts with the ball, and the Taniwha team by hitting a centre target with the ball.

The 30 La Provedence students who participated yesterday were travelling to Rotorua today for more games.