Te Akau ki Pāpāmoa (TAKP) Primary School's students are making their mark at the Rippa Rugby national competition ... again.
A 10-strong squad from Te Akau ki Pāpāmoa (TAKP) is in Wellington where they are representing the Bay of Plenty region at the 2018 Air New Zealand Rippa Championship, which started yesterday. TKAP won regional and provincial tournaments to represent the Bay.
This year is the third time in five years the school has been represented at the nationals, finishing third in both 2014 and 2015.
On day one of this year's competition yesterday, TAKP won all of its pool matches - beating Auckland 9-7, Otago 10-5, Northland 9-7 and West Coast 11-4. The top two teams in each of the four pools make it to the quarter-finals.
As the top qualifier of Pool C, TAKP has secured a quarter-final against King Country, the winner of Pool D, to be played today. Otago, the second-placed team in Pool C, will play Pool D's runner-up, Waikato.
Principal Bruce Jepson is proud of his school winning every game and making the top eight on the first day.
He says beating Auckland is always a feat in itself given it is the country's largest city.
"We've kept that strong history of performing well," he says.
And if TAKP move forward in the competition, Jepson says he will try to see whether he can get down to Wellington in time to see them play.
With AIMS Games commitments, however, coaching a Te Puke Intermediate basketball side, he won't know if it's possible until today.
Jepson says the school's deputy principal is at the nationals and is helping to not only keep the school community updated with their results but also support Te Wiki o te reo
Māori, which also started yesterday and runs until September 16.
Tane Bennett has been broadcasting live from the competition on the school's Facebook page in te reo Māori.
Rippa Rugby is a New Zealand Rugby initiative to involve boys and girls into the game from a young age to learn basic skills without the contact of tackle.
It's like touch, but the kids wear two ribbons on a velcro belt. When a ribbon is ripped off, it's the equivalent of a tackle, and the ball carrier player must pass within three steps.