New Zealand's best Maori tennis players have taken to the courts for the 91st time and Rotorua players more than held their own.
The 91st Maori Tennis Championships were held in Hamilton last week and attracted 150 players who competed in a wide range of age groups.
Rotorua's Dinny Mohi won the 76+ men's singles and doubles, in which he partnered with Whakatane's Richard Collier. At the other end of the age-scale it was a busy, yet successful day for Vienna Marew Waerea-Tamai. She won the girls' 10-and-under singles and doubles, in which she partnered with Mahinaranga Warren, as well as the 10-and-under mixed doubles, partnering with Benji Bryce.
Mohi, 77, said the biggest thrill he got out of competing at the tournament each year was seeing the young players coming through.
"It's about meeting whanau, relations and seeing our grandchildren coming through. To see them blossom and playing tennis is unbelievable, that's what drives me on.
"Winning is a bonus, absolutely, and your opponents are there to win too. It's played in beautiful spirit. It's a good sport - at my age it keeps me fit and keeps me agile. Seeing guys my age and being competitive is great, I'm enjoying it. As long as I can make my opponent play the ball one more time, keep the rally going."
Rotorua's Leona Davis-Kaye, who won the 50-59 women's singles, said she never missed the annual tournament.
"I've been for many years, the whole championship is about the positive side for Maori people, bringing whanau together. It's just a beautiful event where family get together, play tennis, make new friendships and renew old ones."
One of Rotorua's rising tennis stars Logan Nathan partnered with Te Kani Williams, of Auckland, to win the open men's doubles, while Jesse Galvin-Dawson was runner-up in the open men's singles.
Aliya Edwards won the 30-49 women's singles, Albie Tipiwai and Jeremy Wichman won the 50-59 men's doubles and Wendy Wrigley and Lehi Hohaia won the 50-69 mixed doubles.
Aotearoa Maori Tennis president Dick Garratt said the championship was a highlight on the Maori sporting calendar.
"It went really well. The pohiri led by our patron King Tuheitia and our legend Ruia Morrison hitting the first ball across the net set the scene and was a good start to the tournament.
"Our juniors like our tournament, compared to the mainstream tournaments because, with respect, they're probably a bit rigidly run. Ours is about our whanau getting together, that makes it special.
"The level of tennis is very good, a couple of young ones were outstanding. The game of tennis has a challenge, a bit like golf, it's an individual sport and it's hard to make it to the top. A lot of our young ones like to play team sports, that's the challenge for us. It's amazing to see so many supporting this tournament," Garratt said.
Rotorua players' results at the Maori Tennis Championships
Played in Hamilton on December 27
Dinny Mohi - Winner; 76+ men's singles
Dinny Mohi (Rotorua)/Richard Collier – Winners; 76+ men's doubles
Te Kani Williams/Logan Nathan (Rotorua) - Winners; open men's doubles
Aliya Edwards – Winner; 30-49 women's singles
Leona Davis-Kaye – Winner; 50-59 women's singles
Jessie Galvin-Dawson – Runner-up; open men's singles
Vienna Marew Waerea-Tamai – Winner; girls' 10-and-under singles
Mahinaranga Warren/Vienna Marew Waerea-Tamai (Rotorua) – Winners; Girls' 10-and-under doubles
Benji Bryce/Vienna Marew Waerea-Tamai (Rotorua) – Winners; 10-and-under mixed doubles
Albie Tipiwai (Rotorua)/Jeremy Wichman – Winners; 50-59 men's doubles
Wendy Wrigley (Rotorua)/Lehi Hohaia (Rotorua) – Winners; 50-69 mixed doubles