Interview with Iasiah Harrington-Bartlett - Palmerston North Boys and Girls
At the New Zealand Secondary School Ki o Rahi Nationals we were fortunate enough to meet up with Ki o Rahi enthusiast Iasiah Harrington-Bartlett.
We remember seeing Iasiah playing for Taita College at the 2014 Wellington Nationals, since then we’ve seen him coaching Palmerston North Boys & Girls High School, this year Palmerston North Boys & Girls had their best ever finish, making the top 8 for the first time!
Interview with Iasiah Harrington-Bartlett - Palmerston North Boys & Girls High School
No Ngati Porou me Nga Puhi ahau
No Niue, Cook Islands me Samoa hoki!
My Niuean villages are Alofi & Makefu, in Samoa I’m from Apia and from Mangaia & Atiu in the Cook Islands!
I am 21 years of age!
How did you get into Ki o Rahi?
The two people I would like to thank for introducing me to this beautiful game we play is Simon Hirini & Troy Tāwhai.
How many years have you been involved with Ki o Rahi and in what regards?
I have been involved since 2012. In that time I have been a player, coach, ref & a spokesmen for the sport I love.
What do you enjoy about Ki o Rahi?
The thing I enjoy the most is the culture. I am a big fan of the dynamics of the game & its layout. Another is seeing familiar faces I used to play with and against at nationals, people I haven’t seen in 5+ years. The last thing I enjoy would be the relationships you build.
How many years have you been to Ki o Rahi Nationals as a player and as a coach?
My first Nationals was in 2012 in Whanganui, majority of the teams stayed together in the Marae at Ratana Pa & my last was in 2015 in Gisborne. I coached while I was at Taita College but now coach PNB/GHS and have been doing so since 2017
What was your experience like as a player? Any notable experiences?
As a player it would have definitely been to play against the likes of Rakaumangamanga & TWTT (Top 2 teams in my Nationals stint). They were the games I looked forward to the most. Interesting fact, through Ki O Rahi I was asked if I wanted to play Dodgeball (thought he was having me on). I ended up playing for the Wellington Open Men Thunder side at Nationals in 2014!
What has your experience been like as a coach? Any notable experiences?
Coaching is awesome! We have been fortunate enough to win the 2017/2018 Regional competition in Manawatu, we are hoping for a 3-peat but that won’t be an easy task with the other Kura’s just as hungry as us for the 2019 Title.
What made you get into coaching Ki o Rahi? Do you coach any other sports?
I became a coach to give back to the game I love. The door closed as a player and one as a coach opened. I also am a Strength & Conditioning Coach training softball, rugby, league and sevens players!
What did preparation look like for you and your team in the lead up to Nationals?
We had a lot of interest from both schools. We ended up having nearly 40 who fought for a spot (16) which kept the competition between the players healthy & high. We trained 2x per week (sometimes 3x per week), Josh the mangai from our rohe, had organised game time against the other Kura coming to Nationals which was awesome for our kids to get more game time under their belt.
Going into Nationals in Hastings, what were you hoping to get out of it? What were your fears?
Top 4 was the goal. A month out from Nationals we had a few set backs, with players having to pull out due to other curriculum/sporting endeavours. This was my only concern was finding someone to fill that spot & teach them everything they needed to know in a limited amount of time.
What were the main things you gained from the experience of Nationals?
The game continues to evolve & with it so does the defensive systems/attacking structures implemented to dismantle sides. I learnt that you don’t have to have the most talented side on paper, you need 16 players who buy into the defensive systems and attacking structures taught and don’t shy away from the game plan.
What has been the highlight of your Ki o Rahi journey so far?
Being in a environment that is rich in culture. As a player it would have lacing up with/against some of the best players that was on offer at Regionals/Nationals. As a coach, watching players progress week in and out until it comes time to show case their talents on the big stage
How popular is Ki o Rahi in the area? What other schools are usually at your regionals etc?
Ki o Rahi isn’t that popular in the Manawatu. When DHS was coached by Troy Tāwhai they were a kura to look/watch out for. The other usual goers who do well at our regional tournament is Tu Toa, Fielding & Manawatu College (Top 4 that qualified for Nationals 2019).
Who are the main drivers of Ki o Rahi in your area and how have they helped make Ki o Rahi as popular as it is?
Unfortunately Ki O Rahi in the Manawatu isn’t a recognised sport. The main driver would have to be none other then Josh Strictland. He deals with the management/admin (behind the scene work) side of Rahi. He organises modules so that the kids are exposed to different playing styles. It is awesome to have someone who is just as passionate about the sport and the culture it comes with. Liam Bassick helps me out with coaching so a quick shout out to him for all his help!
What visions do you/the team have for Ki o Rahi in the future?
Being the best in your backyard is one thing, but being the best in the nation is something special. The goal is to have a module (all ages) here like they do with touch/indoor netball.
Was a real enjoyable read Iasiah! Thank you for an insight into your love of Ki o Rahi! All the best to you and your teams over the year! Be awesome to see you back playing the game!