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Connecting schools and communities

Watch how teaching and playing Kī o Rahi brought together a community.

Gill Bloxham, Director of Sport at Rutherford College and Play.Sport Activator, and Casey Redman, Play.Sport’s Activator at Sport Waitakere, sat in a room and together conceived the idea of an inter-school competition using the traditional Māori game of Kī O Rahi.

Their aim? To strengthen links amongst their Kāhui Ako (Community of Learning), the nine schools located in the Te Atatu area in Auckland.

To do this, they engaged Matua Jeff Ruha and his students at Rutherford College’s Mahi-a-Toi Academy (a group of Year 12 and 13 students that explore opportunities for Māori students to achieve success as Māori) and designed a training programme and inter-school competition with their seven local primary schools.

The competition was planned around Matariki, providing the perfect alignment with a core curriculum focus area, and was a win-win-win for everyone involved.

Teachers at Rutherford Primary scheduled two one-hour sessions with their Year 5 and 6 Students over two weeks. The students of Mahi-a-Toi earned credits for delivering the training to the 700 primary school students. The primary school students benefited by learning tikanga Māori (Māori cultural protocol) and the physical components of the game from their older peers (Tuakana-Teina). The Play.Sport team worked with Kī o Rahi Tāmaki Makaurau, a Regional Sport Organisation for Kī o Rahi, to ensure what they were teaching was consistent and aligned with what was being taught across the region.

Then on 26 June 2019, the tournament was held at Rutherford College. The engagement was incredible: the primary school students who participated in the training and competition were enamoured by their older peers, and everyone walked away feeling charged and inspired by what had taken place.

As a result, Rutherford College has pledged to make the Kī o Rahi tournament an annual event and to integrate the two intermediate schools within the Kāhui Ako next year.

"It's a win-win. You have kids out there enjoying competition from primary schools and then you've got older kids really enjoying what they're contributing to the community."

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