For more than 80 years, girls haven't been allowed to play in a prestigious Bay of Plenty school rugby tournament.
But now a group of Rotorua girls have created history by having their team name etched on the first Bay of Plenty Tai Mitchell Tournament Girls cup.
Intermediate-age boys have competed for the prestigious Tai Mitchell Shield since 1938 but this was the first time organisers opened the competition up for girls to have their own division.
The girls' division winners were Rotorua Gold, who beat their Te Puke counterparts in Sunday's final. The boys' division was won by Te Puke, with Tauranga West coming second.
Bay of Plenty Primary Schools Rugby Union president Seamus Collins said the goal was to have more children playing rugby and organisers decided "it was just time" because the girls' game had grown so much.
"There were two ways we could have gone - allowed girls to play in the boys' teams or grow it and give the girls their own competition. We thought we'd get greater numbers by having a girls competition."
He said six of the 10 sub-unions throughout the Bay of Plenty taking part in the four-day tournament entered girls' teams.
"We are hoping all 10 will enter next year."
Collins said the girls didn't only compete, they impressed.
"The standard of the girls' playing is phenomenal. Boys can get a bit stifled after having it in the ear to do this and do that but girls play to what they see.
"It's a pure form of rugby and has entertainment factor, it's exciting to see. Also because it's 10-a-side they have more space on the field to run."
Collins said given the founder of the tournament, Henry Taiporutu Mitchell, was from Rotorua, it was fitting the first girls' winners came from Rotorua.
"I'm a bit of a traditionalist and it was poignant that a Rotorua team won."
Adding to the prestige, Black Fern Luka Connor donated a trophy for the Girls Player of the Tournament, which was awarded to 12-year-old McKenzie Anderson-Tito from the Rotorua Gold team.
Collins described the Rotorua Intermediate Year 8 student from Murupara as a "force".
"She was a go to and was central to everything, going end to end and side to side, whether it was ball in hand or defending."
McKenzie told the Rotorua Daily Post she was thrilled to win the cup and the tournament.
"It was good to get to know some of my teammates and play alongside them and win."
She said she got a thrill out of tackling and encouraging her teammates and hoped to one day go all the way to the Black Ferns jersey.
When asked what she liked most about rugby, she said: "I just like the contact and running with the ball. And yeah, bowling people over."
And that was something she became known for throughout the tournament, according to her coach, Tania-Rose Raharuhi.
The former Bay of Plenty Volcanix player and Bay of Plenty 7s captain said McKenzie was "something else".
"Her work ethic for her size is amazing ... She's amazing and an exceptional leader on and off the field."
Raharuhi said McKenzie was yellow-carded twice during the tournament for supposed high tackles, but really it was more the force in which she tackled.
"She winded five girls over the tournament so we had to work through that. But that's the power she generates. Because the other girls got to train with her, they were able to prepare themselves a lot better when they were running into contact."
Raharuhi said the entire team already had an outstanding skillset and the standard of rugby from the girls was of a high level. She said it wasn't just about teaching girls how to catch and pass.
"The future for women's rugby in the Bay is looking great."
She said Connor and other players had spoken to her about their desire to have played the Tai Mitchell when they were at intermediate school but were never allowed.
"Our girls have been able to create that first year and create history."
Bay of Plenty Volcanix coach Rodney Gibbs credited the organisers for changing the tournament this year and inviting the girls.
"If they play against other girls, they grow a passion for the game. If they're passionate about the game, they will remain in the game."
The history of the Tai Mitchell Tournament:
In 1938, respected Rotorua sports administrator Henry Taiporutu Mitchell presented the Tai Mitchell Shield for competition between primary school teams, representing the rugby sub-unions of the Bay of Plenty.
The then seven Bay of Plenty sub-unions of Apanui, Ōpōtiki, Whakatāne, Rangataiki, Galatea, Rotorua and Tauranga competed for the shield.
At a later date, the Te Puke sub-union was formed and entered the annual tournament.
Today, all eight regions, plus an additional team apiece from Tauranga and Rotorua, participate in what has become a four-day festival of primary schools rugby in the July school holidays.
1st Rotorua Gold
2nd Te Puke
3rd Rotorua Maroon
4th Tauranga West
1st Te Puke
2nd Tauranga West
3rd Rotorua Gold