Sports event caters to all

By Lisa Laity

It's that time of year again, as registrations close for the 2013 Tuwharetoa Marae Sports Challenge.

And while participants and spectators alike can expect the same level of fun and entertainment as previous years, the 2013 event will signal a return to the original focus of the challenge - participation.

The annual event, which will be held at Turangi Park on the January 4 and 5 next year, will do away with junior and senior divisions except for full contact sports, and instead offer a whanau grade with special points awarded for tamariki and pakeke/kaumatua participation.

The event management team want to bring the original focus of the event back to whakawhanaungatanga (everyone come together as a family, marae, hapu).

``Our statistics show that there is high percentage of tamariki who are not included in participating in some of the activities in the event, which is the reason why the management team agreed to develop a whanau grade,'' says Jonnine Lai of Tuwharetoa Sports.

As the biggest event on the Tuwharetoa calendar, last year's event attracted 3500 people per day, with 20 marae taking up the challenge. With sports such as petanque, tennis, volleyball, touch rugby and others like crossfit and arts events such as Marae Idol and Iwi Quiz, there is no shortage of activities for the sporty, talented or interested spectator.

Jonnine says putting the event together is a huge job which relies on a strong base of community volunteers.

``On behalf of the event management team we would like to ask that all participants be considerate to all kaimahi, coordinators and referees. The running of this event is made possible by all our volunteers so please treat everyone fairly so that everyone can enjoy the event,'' she says.

Stall sites will also be available at next year's event for sports groups, community organisations, marae and businesses who want to take the opportunity to fundraise during the event. Jonnine adds that spaces are limited and stall holders will need to have their registrations in by December 10 to ensure a spot at the event. The cost to hold a stall is $20 per day.

The shift of the event's focus back to participation and whanau is an exciting one for the management team and Jonnine and is hopeful that each marae taking part will ensure they recruit a good number of young people to participate in the summer time event.

Each marae has been appointed a marae representative, whose job it will be to muster participants to take part in the array of sports and activities on offer. All participants need to register and forms can be collected from the Tuwharetoa Sports office in the town centre. Registrations must be in by 6pm on December 10. Registration is free.

For more information contact Tuwharetoa Sports on or phone 07 386 0111 or check out the Facebook page, search Tuwharetoa Sports.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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