One team are the runners/defenders (kioma) and score tries, the other are attackers (taniwha) and aim to hit a target (tupu). Players wear ripper tags and lose possession of the ki (ball) if the tags are ripped off.
More than 170 primary school children learnt how to play the game last week and competed in the inaugural Marlborough Ki-o-Rahi schools tournament at the Redwoodtown School.
Tournament co-ordinator Margy Crosby said the game had a great history and it was an exciting way to get everyone involved in physical activity.
“The Māori Battalion took the game to Italy and France during the war, and the soldiers were quick to catch on,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter what shape or size you are, everyone can play Ki-o-Rahi, so we wanted to put on something competitive for the children and this is it.”
The game was introduced to some schools in November as a joint initiative between Maataa Waka physical activity co-ordinators and Resource Teachers of Māori, in Marlborough, Mrs Crosby said.
Redwoodtown, Renwick, Riverlands, Blenheim, Kaikoura, Mayfield, Grovetown and Bohally Intermediate all took part in the tournament, with the years 5, 6, 7 and 8s taking to the field.
Renwick School proved the champions, taking out both the senior and junior grade titles.
Souce: The Marlborough Express