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Good show by Hokianga netballers

A team from a Hokianga hapu with strong ties to the Methodist Church as had a successful expedition to Queensland to take part in a major netball carnival.

Te Taha Maori administrative manager Lana Lazarus, her mother Evalene Haua, and her sister Leah Lazarus led the coaching and management team that took the Te Mahurehure Under 14 team to the 2008 Canterbury Gold Coast Netball Carnival in July.

The Te Mahurehure Under 14s Netball team took out one of the sportsmanship awards at the 2008 Canterbury Gold Coast Netball Tournament.
The emphasis of the Canterbury Gold Coast tournament is not on ‘all-out’ competition but on good sportsmanship and providing an opportunity for young players to meet people from other places and cultures.

Not only did Te Mahurehure make a strong showing on the scorecard, winning the Junior B division, the umpires awarded them the Junior Gold division Canterbury Encouragement award. The encouragement award is given to the team that best displays the qualities of sportsmanship and fair play.

Lana says efforts organise the trip to the Gold Coast began in October 2007 after the inaugural Iwi of Origin netball competition which is held in North Harbour. Lana coached the Te Mahurehure team, which is named after the hapu from Waima, Hokianga that she and her whanau belong to.

The team won its division at that competition and some of the parents approached Lana about entering the Gold Coast competition.

Netball NZ gave permission to attend the event and Te Mahurehure whanau in Auckland and the Hokianga endorsed the team. Then the hard work of fundraising and training began.

“We did all the usual fundraising events and weekly practices until June when we started to practice twice a week,” Lana says.

Her cousin John Cassidy composed a waiata especially for the team which relates to the pepeha (proverb) for the Te Mahurehure hapu.

Lana says there was a lot of excitement on the day of travel. A couple of the girls had never been on a plane before, much less travelled overseas.

“We were privileged to be accommodated at a home in Mermaid Waters on the Gold Coast. We had access to a kayak, dinghy, fishing rods, bicycles and outdoor pool. We also had a visit to Dream World and White Water World.”

The games schedule was quite gruelling with three or four games each day. On the final day, Te Mahurehure won all three of its games to win its division.

New Zealand teams did very well in terms of sportsmanship at the tournament winning two of the three encouragement awards, with Wanganui High School winning the top award for carnival spirit.