2018 NZSS Ki o Rahi National Champions: Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae
For the second year in a row the New Zealand Secondary School Ki o Rahi Tournament came down to a battle between Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae and Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga, both teams showed up to play and the game went down to the final quarter!
The game started with Nga Tapuwae on Taniwha and Rakaumanga as Ki oma. The first quarter was dominated by the Nga Tapuwae shooters, seemingly scoring on the Rakaumanga Kaitiaki whenever they wanted.
The second quarter saw Rakaumanga come out firing with their own Taniwha shooting, clawing points back, the shooters made the Nga Tapuwae Kaitiaki work and made them give away a number of wairua points. The half time score was pretty much even again.
The third quarter saw a better blocking performance from Rakaumanga as Nga Tapuwae scored only a few points with their shooters, however Nga Tapuwae did manage to hold out most attempts from the Rakaumanga Ki oma, although there were a couple of tries scored around the ara that had Nga Tapuwae wondering how they let those in. Still anyone's game at three quarter time.
The final quarter saw a vastly improved one from the Nga Tapuwae Kaitiaki, where they let in zero points from either shooters or from wairua. Nga Tapuwae scored a try or two to get to 18 - 13 and win fairly comfortably.
This puts Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae's name on the trophy for the second time in a row after winning the title for the first time in 2017, this means they are the third team to have won the competition twice since the tournament's inception in 2010.
The other teams to have won the tournament twice are Turanga Wahine Turanga Tane or Gisborne Boys and Girls who achieved the feat in 2011 and 2012 as well as Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga who won the title twice in 2013 and 2014.
The challenge now is to see if Nga Tapuwae can become the first team to the win the tournament three times in a row! We will only know this in another year when the tournament heads down to Te Matau a Maui.