The vehicle is sport but the outcome is the seeding of lifelong global connections as youth from around the globe prepare to take their first shot at the inaugural Indigenous Youth Basketball Tournament 2017 in Te Taitokerau.
The Kaitaia Basketball Association will be hosting 16 teams of under-14 boys' and girls' teams representing various indigenous cultures at Te Rangi Aniwaniwa for a three-day tournament from August 14-18.
Teams will be arriving from Canada, Samoa, Tonga, the Philippines and other parts of New Zealand for the tournament which also represents an opportunity for the hosting association and the kura to launch healthy kai and water-only guidelines in the interest of supporting healthier engagement in sports.
KBA chairperson Brett Crown said the event's inception came from a relationship which started when Native American Basketball Tournament (NABI) champions, Arizona Warriors, visited Te Tai Tokerau in 2016.
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That side went on to secure the world youth tournament title in Hawaii while the visit was then reciprocated when two Far North players travelled to Arizona earlier this year, said Crown.
"The vehicle is basketball, but the kaupapa [theme] is kotahitanga [unity]. It gives our young ones up here an opportunity to share our culture with our manuhiri. Because of our isolation, it's important that we can break down barriers and connect spiritually with kids from all around the world," he said.
The visiting teams will be hosted by Te Rarawa and NgaiTakoto marae for the duration of their stay.
The IYBT2017 gets underway with a powhiri on Monday, August 14, before the competition begins the next day and runs until Thursday. On Thursday evening, all teams participate in a cultural concert at the Te Ahu Centre before the ending on Friday, August 18, where players willjoin in a non-competitive showcase of traditional games, in the spirit of sharing culture at Parkdale Reserve.
The event will also promote the launch of the sugar-free beverage framework and the high profile smoke-free rangatahi campaign.