It's kick off time as Palmerston North prepares to host the 9th Ethkick football tournament.

It's a fiercely competitive six-a-side event, with teams representing some of the 130 different ethnicities living in little old Palmy.

Ethkick coordinator Jason Flynn says the tournament was launched to get the ethnic community together.

"Celebrating diversity is the key advantage to Ethkick, we have the opportunity to see people that come from diverse religious, national backgrounds - Muslim teams playing with Christian teams and different nationalities. It really is a melting pot."


A melting pot where the best of the best battle it out for fun in the name of unity - and winning too.

"We found that football was a unifying sport for everybody, it's a global language and everyone that's involved in the sport of football, and there's no barriers between languages and cultures when you're playing the beautiful game," Flynn said.

One of the star players is Chit Moe, a former refugee from Myanmar who lived in Thailand until he moved to Palmerston North six years ago.

"Palmerston North is the best place because not too [many] cars, there's not too much traffic and it's nice to live in Palmy," Moe said.

He's also won the last two tournaments representing the Karen community from Myanmar, but Moe says it's not all about winning.

"I like to play Ethkick because I want to make more friends so you see a lot of new people come down and play, so have fun for the whole day."

Flynn agreed there was more to Ethkick than winning.

"We all play a different way, but when we get together on the field it makes everything seem insignificant - the troubles of their lives if they've been overseas and come from a war torn country or even if they just coming here for a better life," Flynn said.


"The sport succeeds in bring people together."

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