November 14, 2023

Te Reo Triumph: Puni Reo Poitarawhiti 2024 to Showcase Māori Language in Auckland’s Netball Scene

Launched in 2021, Puni Reo Poitarawhiti stands out as Auckland’s inaugural netball event where every participant, from umpires to players, announcers, and coaches, only speak in te reo Māori on and off the court. Widely embraced by schools throughout Tāmaki Makaurau, the festival offers students and teachers a unique opportunity to celebrate te reo Māori during a mainstream sports event.

Murray Gardiner, General Manager of Netball Waitākere, continues.

“Puni Reo Poitarawhiti focuses on promoting te reo Māori in everyday activities which are not considered ‘traditional’ Māori language arenas. As a te reo Māori initiative in partnership with Te Puni Kokiri, this event sees use of the Māori language normalised outside of formal learning and cultural settings. With over 50 teams already signed up to next year’s festival, it’s going to be the best one yet!”

Held annually at Netball Waitākere’s facilities in Henderson, the event attracts teams from schools across Tāmaki Makaurau. Looking ahead to the 2024 event, Healthy Families Waitākere Systems Innovator, Ruta Tai is working alongside netball coaches from West Auckland mainstream schools, to encourage more to take part in this annual event. Tai continues.

“In just two years, Puni Reo Poitarawhiti has expanded to draw over 70 school teams each year, highlighting a clear demand for such sporting events. As we set our sights on next year’s tournament, we’re heartened by the growing interest from mainstream schools. This signals an exciting new phase for Puni Reo Poitarawhiti and underscores its potential for continued success.”

For the past year, Tai has been facilitating a group of netball coaches from West Auckland schools, providing space for them to come together, learn and share ideas and knowledge on the popular sport in a way which works for them, their cultural identity and self-expression.

Gearing up for Puni Reo Poitarawhiti in May 2024, Netball Waitākere, Healthy Families Waitākere at Sport Waitākere, Te Puni Kokiri and netball coaches from across Tāmaki Makaurau are striving to put their best foot forward come game day.