In the lead up to the 2018 NZ Secondary School Ki o Rahi Nationals we will focus in on the teams that you will need to prepare for, these teams include current and past champions as well as teams on the up.
Every week we will feature two schools from around the country, this week we start with the top 2 teams from 2017 Ki o Rahi Nationals – Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae and Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga.
Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae
The 2017 Champions - last year was the first year Nga Tapuwae made the grand final and the first time they won it, they did so in front of their home crowd in Auckland. They wont have the same amount of support in Gisborne so it will be tougher for them to reach the heights of 2017.
This Kura have been a regular feature at Ki o Rahi Nationals for the past 5 years, placing in the top 8 every year since their inception. They have improved steadily every year having made the semi’s for the first time at Tokoroa in 2016, they took it one step further in 2017 so will be looking for at least a top 4 spot this time around.
Nga Tapuwae have a flowing style of ki oma with lots of cutting that gets them lots of points, they also have a different styles of taniwha defence that can be hard to figure out, this helps them to limit points scored against them.
Their strongest asset in 2017 though may have been their kaitiaki. They had very resilient girls who worked really hard for their team. A small school so if they haven’t lost many of the senior students then Nga Tapuwae will be tough again.
Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga
One of the pinnacles of Ki o Rahi at Secondary School Level in New Zealand, no better make that the world.
In the last 5 years they’ve been crowned champions at Ki o Rahi Nationals twice, going back to back in 2013 and 2014. They finished 4th in 2015, 3rd in 2016 and 2nd in 2017. That means they've finished in the top 4 for at least the last 5 years, that's amazing - they're like the Melbourne Storm of Ki o Rahi.
In our opinion Rakaumanga have probably the best taniwha shooters in the game, their shooters are fierce young men who make jumping into the air look easy, this is beautiful to watch and it must be intimidating for the kaitiaki who have to go up against them. These shooters have a few tricks to help them get hits on the tupu and because their shots have power behind them the tupu can really be rocked. .
They're another team with a ki oma that likes to move about and this can really help them in racking up their points. Over the years they’ve adjusted their defence to suit the players they have and again they don't allow you to score that many points against them. Always a threat, Rakaumanga will be looking to go one better in 2018.
We look at semi-finalists from 2017, 3rd placed Turanga Wahine Turanga Tane as well as 4th placed Hamilton Boys and Girls.
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