Maori rugby league, with its unique brand of passion and intensity, was on display at the Rotorua International Stadium on the weekend.

The New Zealand Maori Rugby League Tuakana tournament included divisions for wahine toa (women), rohe (premier) and waka (reserve) and each division produced some great performances.

There was even a touch of stardom as Parramatta Eels forward and one of the characters of the NRL, Kenny Edwards, was in action for Raukawa ki Runga.

In the Rohe division, local team Te Arawa claimed the title. They won two and lost one in the round-robin stage to finish top of their pool and book a spot in the semifinal.

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In the semis Te Arawa faced a tough match-up against Raukawa ki Runga, but came out on top 13-8. In the final they were too good for Auckland Maori, prevailing 24-16.

The Ngati Umutahi women won the wahine toa division with a 24-8 win over Te Mahurehure in the final. Ngati Umutahi were dominant in their pool, winning three from three, scoring 146 points and conceding just four. They beat Te Aroha ki Poneke 24-8 in the semi-final.

Te Arawa player Gavin Causer makes a run during the Tuakana Moari Rugby League Tournament at the Rotorua International Stadium. Photo/Ben Fraser
Te Arawa player Gavin Causer makes a run during the Tuakana Moari Rugby League Tournament at the Rotorua International Stadium. Photo/Ben Fraser

Te Puaha O Waikato took out the Waka division, beating He Waka Eke Noa 22-20 in the final. They finished top of their pool with three wins from three and a points differential of +69 before cruising to a 20-6 win over Waikato-Tainui Maori in the semifinal.

Tournament manager and New Zealand Maori Rugby League chairman John Devonshire said the tournament was a "great success".

"It's been outstanding, the whanaungatanga (relationship through shared experiences and working together), the comraderie, the football on the field has been tremendous with a lot of passion and a lot of physicality.

"Off the field it has been equally impressive. It's been a fabulous event, the venue has played its part, the weather has played its part and most definitely the players have played their part," Devonshire said.