Newsmaker: James Ryan

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Newsmaker James Ryan in action for Pikiao.
Newsmaker James Ryan in action for Pikiao.

This week's newsmaker is James Ryan, spokesman for Te Arawa Pa Wars committee, which was responsible for the revival of the inter-iwi rugby league competition.
Pikiao defeated Tuhourangi 58-30 in last weekend's final to win the Ohomairangi Hapu Trophy for the second year running. The tournament is all about whanaungatanga (kinship).

Tell us about your family

My partner and I have four children. Two boys and two girls.

What sports have you played?

Rugby league, rugby and sevens when I was younger.

Have you participated in Pa Wars in the past?

Every year except for 2006, due to injury.

What is the history behind Pa Wars?

In 2005, the Te Arawa Maori league coach Anthony (Boof) Tahuriorangi approached Quintin Edmonds from Tuhourangi about the concept of organising the Pa Wars.

The idea was to bring all hapu within the iwi together in the hope of selecting players to form a Te Arawa league team, to compete in the national Maori league tournament.

You were one of several people instrumental in getting Pa Wars up and running again. Who were they?

Firstly Quintin Edmonds and Dave Hohepa from Tuhourangi, Mina Phillips and Joe Bidois from Ngati Rangiwewehi and Jackson Tamati from Whakaue.

What were the reasons for its revival?

Tuhourangi and Ngati Rangiwewehi threw a challenge out for Pa Wars in late August and it grew from there.

Why is Pa Wars important?

Because it brings all hapu back together in a positive whanau environment in the hope of revitalising Te Arawa Maori league.

It also gives all the players the opportunity to showcase their skills and hopefully represent the Te Arawa Maori league team in the nationals over Labour Weekend.

Is the committee pleased with the numbers of competitors that participated?

Definitely and rapt with the whanau support across all hapu as well.

Are there plans for Pa Wars every year from now on?

Yes, most definitely.

Tell us three things about yourself that people would not know?

I was born and raised in Kawerau, Onepu and Te Teko and have only been living in Rotorua for 17 years.

In my first year playing in the Te Arawa Maori League back in 2003 I was a winger/fullback, whereas now I'm usually a prop.

I have only been playing league since 2003, as I used to play rugby for Waikite before that.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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