The 2016 Koroneihana saw 8 teams from around the country come together to battle it out in the Ki o Rahi Tournament held on Saturday 20th August at Patterson Park in Ngaruawahia.
We caught up with the coaches of the two Papatuanuku Marae teams that entered on the day to get their thoughts. Poutoa Papali'i from Mangere, Auckland said that the competition was a big step up compared with the competition in 2015. "There were heaps more teams this year, it was really well managed and the referees were of real high quality. The games drew quite large crowds so it was real cool for the sport. All in all it was a mean comp and Tainui are definitely doing a real good job of holding it down for the sport of Ki o Rahi."
The final game saw Papatuanuku Marae play Waikato Marae with Papatuanuku coming out winners in a close game. Takoha Ropati, from Mangere in Auckland and the coach of the winning team gave his thoughts on the day. "It was a quality day of Ki o Rahi, our team lost two games during the pool play before making the final which shows how good teams were. We had a few trainings leading up to the tournament but we still had a bit of learning to do on the day. We trialled a few different combinations in order to find out who worked best together. The majority of our players had a good understanding of the game but we still had a few who were playing for the first time, all of our players came from a touch or tag background so they had the skills for the sport and just had to transition these over to Ki o Rahi."
Poutoa and Takoha now turn to the Auckland Secondary School Regionals where they will coach teams to help qualify for the 2017 Secondary School Nationals held in Auckland. They're also both looking forward to Iwi of Origin held in Auckland in October.