CPIT leads traditional sport revival in Christchurch

News News & events

27 Mar 2012

A fast-paced traditional Māori contact sport played in the US, France and Italy is being revived in Christchurch by CPIT tutor Heperi Harris.

The first CPIT Ki-o-rahi tournament was played at Linfield Park on 3 April from 8.30am to 2pm with secondary school and community teams.

Heperi describes the game as a cross between handball, touch rugby and netball. He was introduced to Ki-o-rahi in 2009 and has been playing it with friends ever since.

“I’m passionate about Māori sports. The opportunity to take Ki-o-rahi to the community and establish an annual tournament has been my dream. I’d like to establish a Canterbury team to compete at the national level as well.”

 

Ki-o-rahi is played on a circular field, with a ‘ki’ (ball) which is passed swiftly and imaginatively to reach a bucket or basket in the centre or players can also score by touching flags on the field perimeter. Traditional aspects of the game have been retained wherever possible.

“Traditionally the game was preceded by days of negotiations. There were different adaptations of the game so each tribe would try to establish rules that would benefit their team. We negotiate too, but only for a few minutes,” Heperi said. 

Students from CPIT’s Certificate in sport training and indigenous culture (also called TOA Sports) led several practice sessions to introduce teams to the rules and tactics of Ki-o-rahi. The initiative is an ideal fit with their studies into sports training and Māori and other Pacific Island languages and cultures.

The game is currently played in the North Island, and overseas. Heperi is unsure how one million American children came to be playing Ki-o-rahi, but his research shows that the game was introduced to Italy and France by soldiers from the Māori battalion.