The First XV from Tauranga's Te Wharekura o Mauao has won the Under 18 Open Division title at the Gold Coast Rugby Carnival.

The team was unbeaten in five games, scoring 200 points and not conceding any.

Assistant Principal Heywood Kuka said the boys worked hard and kept to their game plan.

"We played it our way, keeping ball in hand and running from our own line - I think we only kicked the ball out three times the whole tournament," he said.


Te Wharekura o Mauao took a group of 45 students on the ten-day trip, including two netball teams and a Kapa Haka group. Mr Kuka says the students did their school and culture proud.

"We've succeeded in bringing our tikanga to the Gold Coast, and added to the tournament by playing with flair. The netball organisers even turned the PA down so everyone could hear our waiata on the sideline!" he says.

"It's been an awesome trip; all the kids have made a lot of friends and turned a lot of heads."

The netball teams played strongly in their tournament, with one team making the Shield final. The Kapa Haka group performed at events throughout the week.

Alongside the competition, students were able to experience the Gold Coast through organised sightseeing, including a memorable Kapa Haka rehearsal on the beach.

The Gold Coast Rugby Carnival, which was hosted at the Runaway Bay Sports Precinct, has been held for 24 years and attracts teams from across the southern hemisphere.

Te Wharekura o Mauao - Gold Coast Rugby Carnival results:

Day one

Inglewood HS 0 v 28 Te Wharekura o Mauao

Te Wharekura o Mauao 18 v 0 South Australia Div II

Day two

Te Wharekura o Mauao 30 v 0 Fairfield College

Te Wharekura o Mauao 34 v 0 Te Aroha College (Tens)

Day three

Te Wharekura o Mauao 90 v 0 Tasmania Div II