The Northland Taniwha came out on top after they faced off against Northland schools and organisations for NorthTec's Matariki celebrations in a Ki-o-Rahi challenge.

The close match saw the Taniwha win 23 to 18 against a mixed team of representatives from organisations who had played against each other earlier including Huanui College, Moana Pacific Fisheries and NorthTec International; Lowie Foundation.

The game is part of a series of activities held as part of Matariki celebrations, said Huhana Lyndon, NorthTec director learner support.

Northland Taniwha player Tumama Tuulua reaches to protect the centre field.
Northland Taniwha player Tumama Tuulua reaches to protect the centre field.

"This was a great way to start our Matariki celebrations, it got everybody moving, participating, having fun and laughing. The start of the week is all about focusing on our young people who will be our future."

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Ki-o-Rahi is a traditional Maori game played with a small round ball called a "ki". It is a fast-paced sport incorporating skills similar to Australian Rules, rugby union, netball and touch. Two teams of seven players play on a circular field divided into zones, and score points by touching the pou (boundary markers) and hitting a central tupu or target.

The game is played with varying rules.

Northland Taniwha Team member Tim Dow goes for the long pass over Kyra Manahi, 12, from Huanui College.
Northland Taniwha Team member Tim Dow goes for the long pass over Kyra Manahi, 12, from Huanui College.

It has evolved out of archaic forms of play based on the depiction of Rahi, a legendary figure, feeding his tupuna, in the form of a large rock, with his 'mauri' contained in a small kete, or ki.