I’ve always enjoyed sport, as in, being on the sidelines when my sons were little, following whānau as they excelled, and watching the big national games. I’m not sports mad, but I have to say I am VERY excited for the almighty Pacific Series 2023, which is happening here in Ōtautahi this weekend.
Hosted by the South Island Pasifika & Sports Association, the rugby league tournament is a big deal and continues to grow each year. You may remember this beautiful story about Te Toka Tū o Waitaha re-establishing a Māori presence in the competition.
The kaupapa of the Pacific Series is first and foremost culture and using rugby league as the vehicle to bring nations and teams together to connect, share and celebrate the uniqueness and diversity of our people.
This year, the Pacific Series theme is “I belong”, sending the message that no matter who you are, there is always a space or place to feel connected to and belong; whether this is a marae, a church, a sports team, our whānau, we always have a place that feels like home, a place that lifts our spirits and mental health and well-being.
There is so much heart to this kaupapa, and our kaimahi were certainly not upset about giving up their public holiday to be there. If you have a few hours free, come on down and watch the action. It kicks off today (Friday) at Burnside Park and play continues on Saturday as well. Look out for the Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu flags and we’ll see you there!
And to all the teams, good luck!