Matangirau Marae claimed bragging rights at the 36th running of the Piri Mokena Memorial at Kaeo over Labour Weekend.

Matangirau won the overall title for winning the rugby tournament of the annual two-day event in a field of nine teams, while Waihapa Marae took out the Te Aroha Trophy after winning the netball competition in a field of 20.

Individual standouts included Isaac Misky, winner of the Henare Tomo Tua Trophy as best rugby player of the tournament, while Alex Ahchee from Waihapa Mara was presented with the May Mokena Trophy as best netballer.

Isaac Misky is presented with the Henare Tomo Tua Trophy by Piri Mokena Memorial committee member Richard Stewart
Isaac Misky is presented with the Henare Tomo Tua Trophy by Piri Mokena Memorial committee member Richard Stewart

It was the 36th time the Pa Wars-styled sporting event has been held with organisers estimating nearly 1000 people came through the gates of Waikoura Domain to enjoy the action and the kai on offer from the many fundraising stalls provided by local marae on Saturday and Sunday, October 21-22.


This year's tournament was hosted by Karangahape Marae and saw 12 marae from the Whangaroa area represented.

Event spokesman Robert 'Bru' Rush said it was a hugely successful weekend on a number of fronts, but mostly importantly for achieving the desired goal of reuniting local whanau, some of whom came from as far away as Australia to be part of proceedings.

"It [Piri Mokena] is about whanaungatanga and giving marae the opportunity to raise funds through stalls for their marae. All the funds made over the weekend are re-invested into local marae," he noted

The two-day affair also allowed local kaumatua and kuia to catch up to and watch their mokopuna in the field of play. As well an exciting addition to this year's programme saw Rippa rugby and junior netball games played by over 100 tamariki on the Sunday.

Both days were held in mild late spring conditions before proceedings were capped off in traditional style with prizegiving and a social on Sunday night.

On behalf of organisers, Rush thanked everyone who had supported the event this year by playing, volunteering and working behind the scenes or just turning up to support their whanau.

He also singled out local businesses Te Runanga o Whaingaroa for supporting the rangatahi/ kaumatua/ kuia programme, and Foundation North for their kind sponsorship of equipment and gear which was used throughout the weekend.

"Without the support of organisations like these, it is a huge burden on marae to find the funds to run this event," he reminded.