In-form Whanganui cricketer Joel Clark has made the inaugural New Zealand Māori Schools side to play a Governor General's XI in Wellington next month.
The team features players from all six major associations and Clark has earned his place through strong performances for central Districts U17 X1 and for Air Chathams Whanganui in the Hawke Cup.
The Māori team, selected by long-term Northern Districts' administrator Pat Malcon and NZC Talent Identification Manager Paul Wiseman, includes five players from Central Districts; three from Northern Districts, and one each from Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago.
It will be coached by Mark Borthwick, formerly of the Wellington Blaze.
NZC Network and Participation Advisor Andrew Tara said the introduction of the NZ Māori Schools side was part of his organisation's push to better connect with Māori.
"NZC's over-riding strategy is for cricket to be a game for all New Zealanders, irrespective of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation," he said.
"This is one of the ways we hope to extend the game's reach and make it more accessible to under-represented communities."
The team, which will play a Governor General's XI including former international Hamish Marshall on March 7 at Karori, will stay at the Tapu Te Ranga Marae in Island Bay.
NZ Māori Schools Team
Joel Clark (iwi - Ngā Puhi me Ngāti Rāhiri Tumutumu) Whanganui Collegiate
Tim Florence (Ngāti Whātua) Auckland Grammar School
Ryan Jackson (Ngā Māhanga a Tairi) St. Patrick's College Silverstream
Joel Lavender (Te Āti Awa me Ngā Puhi) Marlborough Boys College
Ruben Love (Te Āti Awa) Palmerston North Boys High School
Rhys Mariu (Ngāi Tahu me Ngāti Tūwharetoa) St. Andrew's College, Christchurch
Bailey McDonald (Ngāi Tūhoe) Lindisfarne College, Hastings
Kuwyn Price (Ngāti Porou me Ngāti Hauā) St. Paul's Collegiate, Hamilton
Nathan Robinson (Ngāti Hei) Kings College, Auckland
Brayden Thomas (Te Āti Awa) Southland Boys High School
Ollie White (Ngāti Apa) Auckland Grammar School
Mitchell Williams-North (Rongomaiwahine) Napier Boys High School