The stage is set for this year’s Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, and Māori athletes feature heavily in a number of events. One of those athletes is Ngāti Porou descendant Shannon McIlroy who is competing in lawn bowls.

While most of his family will not be there to support him in person, they’re backing him all the way.

McIlroy’s father, Boon McIlroy says they are proud of their boy for reaching the top in his sport.

“Ko ia te toa o te ao mō tēnei tākaro, engari ko tana tino hiahia kia wikitoria te mētara koura ki ēnei kēmu i Ahitereiria.”

His mother Priscilla Nepia Te Ahu says they are staying in close contact over the phone, cheering him on.

“He knows the family are all behind him and we’ll be tuned in to watch him. He gets a lot of messages on social media these days so we’ll be there anyway.”

His father also has a message for McIlroy.

“Kia kaha koe ki te mau ki tō hiahia. Kaua e māharahara mō tō hīkoi, Shannon, haere ki reira, tikina tō hiahia, ā, whakahoki mai ki te wā kainga.”

McIlroy has a big challenge on his hands to win the gold in the singles for NZ but it seems his strength is certainly not his alone, but from those who support him.