Charlie Jackson (4), of Dunedin, plays ti uru with adults
at the Otago Museum Reserve during the Otepoti Maori Games
Wananga in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
For nearly a century, traditional Maori games have been
abandoned in favour of popular European games such as rugby,
cricket and netball.
But games like ti uru, ki o rahi and horo hopu made a
comeback in Dunedin yesterday with the running of the Otepoti
Maori Games Wananga.
The games were hosted by the University of Otago School of
Physical Education and run by Rangatahi Tu Rangatira (R2R), a
Maori health organisation based in Wellington.
The R2R programme was established in a bid to improve the
health and physical well-being of Maori youth by encouraging
them to participate in sports and physical activities, with a
particular focus on Maori games and the use of Maori values
University of Otago School of Physical Education lecturer
Anne-Marie Jackson said more than 80 people posted entries
for the games, but numbers had to be limited to 35.
While some participants were "seasoned pros" at the games,
many had never played before, so tutors explained the
objectives and rules of the games.
Dr Jackson said stories of Maori history and genealogy were
woven into the games, making them a great teaching tool.
For example, the game of ki o rahi is based on the legend of
Rahitutakahina and the rescue of his wife, Tiarakurapakewai.
They invented the game as a way to resolve disputes
The R2R programme has created such a resurgence in Maori
games that an annual national secondary schools ki o rahi
tournament has been established.