The Aotearoa Māori Tennis Championships are looked forward to by tennis enthusiasts all over New Zealand every year. While it is always a social, whānau orientated affair, the fiery competitiveness on court is obvious. Sports reporter David Beck went to check it out.
Eighty-five-year-old Peter Thomas says, at his age, many of his friends are unwell or even dead.
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He accepts that it is a fact of life as one gets older but whenever the hallmarks of old age threaten to tap him on the shoulder, he springs into life and smashes another forehand back across the net.
The Aucklander was in action at the 93rd Aotearoa Māori Tennis Championships in Rotorua at the weekend and while he admits his hearing is not what it once was, his love for the sport has never diminished.
He estimates he has been playing in the tournament for "about 40-50 years".
"When I was younger I could play pretty good, I'm a bit slower than I used to be, but I still enjoy it because all the guys I play with are great.
"It's a friendly tournament and there's always a lot of happy people here - that's why I come. I get to see all the guys I used to play with years ago.
"It's not always about winning, well it is a bit, but I enjoy the company. It's just me and Dinny Mohi (of Rotorua) left in the oldies now, I used to beat him when I was younger but now the tide has turned."
Thomas said he walks every day and plays tennis once a week to stay fit and active.
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"I never complain because half of my mates are bloody dead, the rest are in hospital or using a walker. The experts say that playing tennis is eight times more beneficial than just walking. You use your arms, you're breathing heavier.
"It's definitely true, you get breathless which is good for you."
Clearly the life of the party wherever he goes, Thomas had the small crowd around him in hysterics as he was interviewed at the Lynmore Tennis Courts on Saturday. Even in his lack of hearing, he said he had found a silver lining.
"Sometimes my wife gets upset with me because I haven't done what she asked and I say "I'm sorry dear but I didn't hear you"," he laughed.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, Auckland's Fiona Wilson started playing tennis only in January and was at her first Māori Tennis Championships. She said she loved the atmosphere of the event.
"I'm here playing with amazing Māori tennis players, it's great. I've always played sports for fun but I'm 55 and I wanted to play something because sport makes me happy. I decided this was a sport I could learn and master.
"I've played for interclub teams but this is my first tournament ever. There's a lovely feeling here and some really good players. In the singles yesterday I got shown how to play tennis, a woman in her 60s schooled me but this is one of those games that you have to keep the faith, go one game at a time, and I managed to win the plate in the 50-59 age group. Singles are the hardest so I was really excited."
She said the way she had been welcomed, despite not being a regular, was beautiful.
"You just have to come and give it a go. There aren't many Māori tennis players at my club in Devonport so I would love to encourage more to come along. You just have to be here and be a part of it.
"It's really inspiring seeing the other players here. I have so much still to learn and I feel really motivated now to work on my skills. I can't wait to come back again next year."