Ngātiwai Soldiers under 16 team (from left to right) Johnny Sadler (Coach), Howard Covich, Aonui Nathan, Elijah Hebden-Penitoa, Tyrell Pita, Cyrus Shortland, Rehutai Kingi, Te Maru Sadler, Eli Warmington, Brooklyn Kaipo, Jayden Murray, Arapereri Beazley, Taaj TeHauroamairangi Tawhara-Crown and Kape Murray (Coach).
On 19 – 22 October 2018, a group of rangatahi representing Ngātiwai competed in New Zealand's biggest pro-am basketball tournament – “HoopNation”.
HoopNation is New Zealand’s premier basketball event hosted each Labour Weekend, attracting the hottest teams and players across many grades and ages groups. This tournament is viewed as “a must” for basketball players and fans!
This year’s HoopNation has seen the tournament grow to nearly 10 times the size of the original tournament in 2011 which had just 15 teams. This year has seen the biggest competition yet with more than 1300 players across 143 teams and with more than 380 games of basketball being played on 12 courts across five venues in the Tauranga rohe over four days.
The Ngātiwai Soldiers are an Under 16’s Team that is made up of boys from Whāngarei, Kerikeri and Kaitaia who travelled to Tauranga to compete in HoopNation.
With the team being spread out across Te Taitokerau, coming together for training was always a challenge. To get around this, the team would base their trainings around wananga, where they would come together to train on a Friday evening and all day Saturday and then go home to their whānau on a Sunday.
Coach Johnny Sadler says “When we come together and train at these wananga, developing the boys’ skills sets, the team dynamic and game tactics are obviously important. But equally if not more important to us are the relationships, whanaungatanga, whakapapa, tautoko and awhi. These are important as we see these skills and morals transferable for these boys in their everyday lives.
But the most important skill we teach the boys is how they use their taringa (ears). Not just here at training, but at home, at school or where ever they may be. It’s about being engaged in the moment.”
Mother of Te Hauroa Tawhara-Crown, Micah Tawhara says “These boys have been training hard and have developed some great skills and knowledge of the game. When they are in sync they are unstoppable which is what was witnessed by many in Tauranga.”
“Many people were coming up to us asking; where the heck did we come from! Our boys are so respectful and genuinely supportive of each other, and with some more training and hard work they'll be soaring.”
The Ngātiwai Soldiers won all their games in the lead up to the finals. Unfortunately the team lost in their semi-final, going down in a closely fought game by just three baskets. Many teams and supporters were constantly amazed at the team and how well they played against some more well-known high performing teams.
Coach Johnny says “It was exciting when random strangers would see our boys and come up to us to make Whakapapa connections to Ngātiwai whānau, and whenua. We were greeted from players and teams from all over the motu.”
“I am so so proud of our boys. It’s great to see them represent Ngātiwai and to be seen on that stage. In typical “hard ballin” Ngātiwai fashion, these young rangatahi made a statement!!”
“We would like to give a big shout out to the Ngātiwai Trust Board for its massive support in helping our Under 16 Ngātiwai Soldiers basketball team to participate in the HoopNations Basketball Tournament. I also want to give a big mihi to my fellow coach Kape Murray and all our whānau that supported our team to make this happen.”
The Ngātiwai Trust Board has contracted Carla Klink to work with in its newly formed Social Development unit.
Carla is Ngātiwai, with her whakapapa connecting her to our hapū Ngāti Rehua and both Motairehe and Kawa marae on Aotea – Great Barrier Island. She has built up her extensive experience in social services for the past 16 years, and it has always been a dream of hers to one day work for and give back to her people.
Since working with the Ngātiwai Trust Board, Carla has been instrumental in leading a number of new initiatives and building strong new relationships.
One new partnership established is with E Tu Whānau. E Tu Whānau is a movement for positive change developed by Māori for Māori. Their kaupapa is about taking action in communities and supporting whānau to thrive.
With a mission that whānau are strong, safe and prosperous, living with a clear sense of identity, cultural integrity and with control over their destiny – Ngātiwai will be driving the E Tu Whānau philosophy of “Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau” via E Tu Ngātiwai.
Working with Mikaira Pau, Area Manager for E Tu Whānau, the Social Development Unit will be reaching out to whānau with the kaupapa of E Tu Ngātiwai, focusing on creating positive change for Ngātiwai tamariki and whānau using the values of Aroha, Whakapapa, Tikanga, mana manāki, kōrero awhi and whānaungatanga.
Mikaira Pau, Area Manager for E Tu Whānau says “it is our intention to work with the E Tu Ngātiwai team to lift the spirit of whānau within Ngātiwai.
Our strength and power comes from whānau – whānau is the key to eliminating violence”
Project Manager Carla Klink says “My role is to set up a social service to meet the needs of our people”.
“Having a strong relationship with E Tu whānau is important as it allows us to walk on this journey together and bring about change. Being able to work with an organisation that has the same values and kauapapa as ours, gives us strength in knowing we are not alone on this journey.”
A significant project that the Social Development unit is on working on with Dr Lily George is Youth Development/Youth Suicide prevention via the Ngātiwai programme - Kokiritia Te Aroha.
“Kokiritia Te Aroha is a big project for Ngātiwai, with a very important kaupapa affecting many of our whānau.”
Beginning in January 2015, this is the third project in the Kokirtia series.
“Kokiritia Te Aroha is a marae- based taitamariki development programme which has suicide prevention strategies that we have developed along with our taitamariki, a toolbox of resources that they can use along with their whānau. It is about the restoration of identity for our whānau and their Ngātiwaitanga.
As Ngātiwai we are so fortunate to have someone of Dr Lily George’s calibre lead this programme. Dr Lily has come home, and we are so pleased to have her as part of our team.”
Recently the Ngātiwai Trust Board Social Development Unit led, supported by Bright Sunday productions, the screening of “Māui’s Hook” at Ngunguru Marae and Whāngarei Te Rerenga Paraoa Marae.
A feature film by Māori psychologist and filmmaker Pāora Joseph, director of Tātarakihi: Children of Parihaka, Māui’s Hook is a raw, compelling road trip of loss, forgiveness and redemption. It invites open discussion of suicide through the brave testimony of five grieving families travelling to Cape Reinga.
The film has been touring the country to create a platform for kōrero. Following the screenings, whānau were invited to discuss and challenge the stigma associated with suicide by opening up our hearts and minds through the stories of whānau. Through the movie and associated discussions after screenings, the messages of awareness, enlightenment and hope are spread and shared throughout the community.
Chairman of the Ngunguru Marae, Jesse Williams says “We at the marae have been extremely impressed to have witnessed the absolute sense of positivity received by those of our community who attended the screenings.”
“While there was certainly an understandable level of emotion, controversy and a very critical element of honesty that was tapped into as part of the screenings, we at Ngunguru can do little more than simply commend Carla and the Ngātiwai Trust Board, for the leading role they have played in organising the event.”
“We commend the bravery shown by Carla and the Trust Board who, in our view, have recognised the power that the movie had to be able to first of all, put forward a view of suicide in Aotearoa today that looks at this epidemic through a māori lense, recognising at the same time that suicide is not just a māori issue, instead it is a national and global issue at large.”
“Among so many other things, you have helped dispel some of the myths around suicide, and you have most importantly, stoked the fires of debate and discussion in the hope that, as a first step at least, we as a people can use the medium of 'discussion' as a starting point towards tackling this taniwha, te whakamate taurekareka!”