The traditional Maori game of ki-o-rahi continues to grow in Te Arawa.
The 2012 Te Arawa Ki-O-Rahi Challenge competition has been running since February 7 and Te Papa Takaro o Te Arawa co-ordinator Te Miri Rangi said this year they had eight teams and about 160 players competing in the competition held on a Monday night at the Medical Offices Reserve, opposite Rotorua Boys' High School.
Mr Rangi said this was the second year of the competition.
"Last year was a growth phase with new players learning how to play and new referees."
He said this year teams were a lot more organised and "definitely more strategic".
"It's running along quite nicely. You can see plenty of teams before the games practising."
Ki-o-rahi will also be played at the Te Arawa Games being held on March 23-25 and Mr Rangi said teams would be representing a hapu or a marae.
He said the "ripper rugby" version of the game would be played but, at the end of the day, there would be a full contact traditional version of the game.
Mr Rangi has been teaching the game for seven years and described it as being "bit of a mix between rugby, touch and handball".
He enjoyed the game because it was a traditional Maori sport and different than a lot of other sports. "Most games teams have the same goal but with ki-o-rahi you have two teams with different goals playing at the same time."
Mr Rangi said this was confusing for a lot of new players but "it keeps you sharp".
Ki-o-rahi is played on a circular field with several poles placed around the outside of the field and a drum in the centre. The game is 30 minutes long and played in four quarters.
There are two teams of five players and the goal is to touch one of the poles and then get the ball into the drum for seven points.
The team with the most points is the winner.