Otago Polytechnic

Recently I had the privilege of travelling to Rotorua with the New Zealand Māori Under 18 men’s rugby team. My role within the team was Performance Analyst, a qualification I achieved in 2017 through our Graduate Diploma in Applied Science (Performance Analysis). 

The team had a two-match programme against Fiji Schools in Rotorua and a ‘Game of Three Halves’ against the NZ Schools and NZ Schools Barbarians in Palmerston North.

Identifying an opportunity for our OP learners to be involved, I took Jordan Hector and Liam McLister. Both are studying the Diploma in Photography (Level 6) and they shared the roles of photographer and videographer.

Alongside running social media during the campaign, they will produce a promotional video which will be used for their final assessment. The video will also be used by NZ Rugby as an opportunity to attain sponsorship for the Māori age-group programme.

For our players we had three main priorities through the campaign: Build tikanga; Build better rugby players; and most importantly, Build better men. Whilst my rugby aspirations have passed, I certainly feel my tikanga knowledge has increased and I am a better man because of this experience.

Some of the off-field highlights for me were:

  • Many players learning their pepeha and understanding where they come from
  • The human vacuum cleaner (pictured)
  • Seeing how the team embraced both Liam and Jordan
  • Using mau rākau for stretching (I now keep one by my desk)
  • Putting my Liaison Advisor hat on, one of the players is coming to OP in 2020
  • Nga tāne taking responsibility for their learning and taking leadership opportunities
  • Growing their capability and profile through radio and tv interviews -  https://teaomaori.news/building-better-rugby-players-and-better-men?fbclid=IwAR2kUr6TM4vRt-NLDY7X1dexNJtT3SmYvWH8veI8RCKqSNaicRikVe7VPs8
  • Visiting Blue Lake near Rotorua to understand its importance to local iwi
  • Visiting where Te Rauparaha composed Ka Mate (the haka) at Lake Rotoaira
  • Standing in the trenches where Te Kooti fought the final battle of the NZ Wars at Te Pōrere.


For those wanting to know the results:

vs Fiji U18 – 46-13 win

vs NZ Schools Barbarians – 17-14 win

vs NZ Schools – 7-12 loss

Published on 6 Nov 2019

Orderdate: 6 Nov 2019
Expiry: 13 Nov 2020