The inaugural New Zealand Maori Golf/New Zealand Golf Rangatahi Development wananga was held in Whakatane over the weekend of October 9, 10 and 11 at Ohope Beach Golf Links and Whakatane Golf Course. 

Hosted by New Zealand Maori Golf Life Member Charles Bluett and Ngati Hokopu ki Wairaka at Wairaka Marae.

Nga mihi nunui Ngati Hokopu ki Wairaka, ka rawe te manaakitanga. Mauri ora.

The initial concept of a rangatahi development wananga and ensuing discussion was proposed at a New Zealand Maori Golf board meeting in early 2019. From that discussion the inaugural wananga was 18 months in the planning, due to a heavy calendar of events, personnel availability and a global pandemic, the wananga was moved to October 2020.

Over the space of three years New Zealand Maori Golf and New Zealand Golf have been building a working relationship between the boards and the operational teams. Michael Smith, Chairman New Zealand Golf has been instrumental in this approach and New Zealand Golf Chief Executive Dean Murphy has been supporting the operational plans between New Zealand Golf and New Zealand Maori Golf.

It is with deep appreciation that New Zealand Maori Golf acknowledges and thanks New Zealand Golf for predominantly resourcing and funding the inaugural wananga.

New Zealand Golf High Performance team Jay Carter (National Coach) and Gregg Thorpe (High Performance Manager) along with New Zealand Maori Golf General Manager Mark Tito, National Secretary Te Arani Barrett and Vice President Crete Wana had worked together on the operational plans to make the wananga successful.

Over a six-month period, Crete Wana and Jay Carter had been canvassing eligible rangatahi candidates. The criteria was simple; the candidates were to be of Maori descent, aged between 13 – 20 years old, showed high integrity, had potential to develop, were willing to learn and essentially were non-elite golfers.

17 rangatahi were invited to attend, 13 rangatahi attended and travelled to Whakatane from Auckland, Huntly, Fielding, Ngaruawahia, Opotiki, Tauranga, Taupo and Rotorua. The rangatahi group was made of five girls and eight boys, and the group dynamic was a perfect fit. Each participant was eager, respectful, and keen to learn and connect with their taha Maori.

The key outcomes of the wananga were te reo me ona tikanga as a cornerstone, practice role modelling, show leadership, willing to develop educationally and personally and last but not least, to develop their golf.

From the parent and rangatahi feedback each and every outcome was clearly achieved, many positives were uncovered through the wananga weekend a resounding success.

New Zealand Maori Golf’s intention in partnership with New Zealand Golf is to improve this model, make it fully sustainable and implement it across Aotearoa/New Zealand.

The two organisations will continue to work closely together and look forward to expanding the reach of their joint initiatives in the future.



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