Gisborne is hosting the annual Aotearoa Māori Netball Oranga Healthy Lifestyles tournament. With over 700 netballers set to compete, the national Māori netball school's head coach, Jess Huia, will be out on the hunt over the duration of the tournament for the next batch of Māori talent to take on board.

“I'm so excited when I got asked to do this it's about what can I bring because they have been so successful for many years.”

Huia is scouting for 24 secondary school players to trial for the 2018 Aotearoa Māori Netball School Team. The coach has taken over from Rebecca Gable and acknowledges she has some big shoes to fill.  

Some of the potential talent that Huia will be scouting at the tournament include Princess Tomoana who was a member of last year’s Aotearoa Māori Netball School team. The team won the 2017 International Schoolgirls Netball Challenge which was hosted by Fiji.

Paku-Jane Skudder, a former player on the Aotearoa Māori Netball School team, says the tournament is great for Māori talent to be recognised.

“Ko te tino painga mō māua mō mātou rohe he whānau kotahi tātou. Ka tākaro tuākana-tēina. Ko ngā painga hoki o tēnei tonamana ka kite ngā tāngata rerekē, ka tākaro i ngā tangata rerekē me ō rātou painga huhua.”

The founder of the tournament, Dame June Mariu, is unable to attend the tournament due to a family unveiling.

The finals will be held this coming Monday.

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