If the previous two rounds are anything to go by, Te Hiku o te Ika; Northern Region Maori Rugby Tournament finals at Rotorua International Stadium will be an exhilarating display of free-flowing talent.

Te Waiariki men's team have cruised through the tournament so far, beating Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland) 100-0 and Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) 78-0. Tomorrow they take on Te Raki Paewhenua (North Harbour) in the final.

In what will be a celebration of Maori rugby and culture, the tournament's under-15, under-17 and under-19 men's and under-19 women's finals are being held at the same venue.

Te Waiariki teams are playing in the third-place playoff in each age group.

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Te Waiariki men's coach Murray Sturt said at the beginning of the campaign that he wanted his side to play free-flowing Maori rugby, and that is what they have done in racking up 178 unanswered points.

"The boys have played pretty well, we asked for a lot and it was pretty convincing, we haven't been tested really.

"They haven't stepped away [from the free-flowing game], when they're running it, they're running it. We've got an exciting backline and a real good forward pack that sets the platform. That's the best thing possible for any team really.

Te Waiariki second five John Ririnui and coach Murray Sturt are looking forward to playing in Te Hiku o te Ika; Northern Region Maori Rugby tournament finals in Rotorua. Photo/Ben Fraser
Te Waiariki second five John Ririnui and coach Murray Sturt are looking forward to playing in Te Hiku o te Ika; Northern Region Maori Rugby tournament finals in Rotorua. Photo/Ben Fraser

"We spoke about it last night at training, those points don't really count for anything now, it's the big one now, the big hurrah and the boys are looking forward to playing on Saturday," Sturt said.

The "exciting backline" includes first five and captain Whakataki Cunningham, who led Rotoiti to the Baywide Premier final this year, as well as Bay of Plenty Steamers and Whakarewarewa squad member Kelly Haimona at fullback.

"Kelly has played pretty much all season and he's there again this weekend - he brings a lot of leadership and he's excited. Playing 15 he gets a little bit more time at the back and he's really enjoying an open running style.

"Some of the boys have never played [at Rotorua International Stadium] before, I've never coached there, so the boys are really excited. They showed at training that they're really up for it.

"We haven't played North Harbour, we've heard they've got good forwards. But, I've been saying that the last two weeks and we've been putting points on them. It's up to the players on the day, it's out of my hands now as the coach," he said.

Te Waiariki second five John Ririnui said it was exciting to play in a Te Waiariki team after about six years without one.

"We've all come together from different backgrounds... I'm looking forward to this weekend and hopefully like the last couple of weeks we can perform again on Saturday.

"[The culture] is really important, especially to Maori rugby here in Baywide. The majority of us have come from Rotorua, Whakatane, we've got a few boys from Tauranga, so the cultural side is naturally there for us and it's really exciting.

"The mood is one of a kind, if you come to trainings and you'll find out on Saturday, it's awesome, it's a good buzz. We all play for different clubs but when we come together as one we're all on the same kaupapa, all on the same page.

"Free-flowing rugby is what Maori rugby is all about. Letting the ball go, playing with width, playing with a lot of mana, a lot of pride and a lot of aggression," Ririnui said.

Te Hiku o te Ika; Northern Region Maori Rugby tournament finals at Rotorua International Stadium
12pm:
Under-19 women's final, Tanui Waka v Te Tai Tokerau
Under-19 men's final, Te Tai Tokerau v Tamaki Makaurau
Under-15 3rd/4th playoff, Counties Maori Black v Te Waiariki
Under-17 3rd/4th playoff, Te Tai Tokerau v Te Waiariki

1.30pm:
Under-15 final, Tainui Waka v Tamaki Makaurau
Under-17 final, Te Raki Paewhenua v Tamaki Makaurau
Under-19 women's 3rd/4th playoff, Tamaki Makaura v Te Waiariki
Under-17 5th/6th playoff, Te Atiawa v Tainui Waka

3pm:
Senior men's final, Te Raki Paewhenua v Te Waiariki
Under-19 men's 3rd/4th playoff, Tainui Waka v Te Waiariki