This bi-annual event saw some of the 78 thousand registered tribal members from 68 marae compete in fun events that encouraged all to participate, from tamariki to kaumaatua.
Held over two consecutive weekends at three regional locations - Raglan, Ngaruawahia and Hopuhopu - whaanau competed in a wide range of activities, which included touch, volleyball, netball, basketball, power pulling, surfing, Haakarimata Track, table tennis, chess, tennis, Ki-o-Rahi, waaka ama, indoor bowls, euchre, tiaki taiao and talent quest.
Everyone knows there’s nothing better than a good Marae vs Marae battle on the sports ground, and with over 260 teams there was definitely some awesome competition. But the emphasis and focus of the Games was 'whakawhanaungatanga' and above all fair play - manaakitanga!
Celebrating the 22nd year of the event, over 26 thousand people streamed onto the Hopuhopu Sports Grounds, the home of ‘Tainui Games’, to not only enjoy a weekend full of competitive fun sport, but also entertainment from local talent quest participants from various marae, from Sistema Waikato - a social development programme that empowers children through music- to New Zealand artists NRG Rising and Three Houses Down.
The Expo area showcased a huge range of exhibitors from kai to clothing, jewellery to informative service providers, music and arts. One of the kaupapa for the weekend was ‘te tiaki i te taiao’ or looking after the environment. The kai stalls had no plastic and there were no water bottles for sale; instead whaanau were encouraged to bring their own water bottles to fill from the water stations provided all around the grounds.
The temperamental weather that saw four seasons in one day didn’t put a ‘dampner’ on the weekend -whaanau participated on the fields, courts and stages, spectated and celebrated together while we ‘Spread the Love - Mauria Te Aroha’.
Those that couldn’t attend were able to check in via social platforms Ko Waikato Te Iwi, Ko Tainui Te Waka and Radio Tainui thanks to Mahi Tahi Media who enabled viewers to watch the weekend's proceedings via the Mauria Te Aroha live broardcast.
Check the weekends highlights at this link https://www.facebook.com/WaikatoTainu1/