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Former White Fern captain to coach inaugural NZ Maori Schoolgirls team

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Former WHITE FERNS captain Maia Lewis is set to coach the first New Zealand Māori Secondary Schoolgirls team when they take the field early next year.

Following the success of last season’s inaugural New Zealand Māori Secondary Schoolboys team, an equivalent New Zealand Māori Schoolgirls team will be selected to play alongside the boys in Wellington in February.

The Māori teams, announced in Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, are part of NZC's drive to better include, recognise and celebrate New Zealand's first people.

NZC Network and Participation Advisor Andrew Tara said the additions to the Māori playing calendar complemented NZC's push to maintain cricket as a game for all New Zealanders.

"Last season’s New Zealand Māori Schoolboys match was really well received, so naturally we wanted to expand this initiative to also include a girls team," Mr Tara said.

"Having someone of Maia’s experience is a real bonus and gives this initiative extra credibility. She will be a great resource for our players on and off the field," he said.

"The opportunity to learn more about Māori culture, including the chance to stay in a local marae, were highlights of last season’s initiative and we're looking forward to more of these cultural experiences this season."

BLACKCAPS paceman Trent Boult was on hand earlier this year to present the caps to the New Zealand Māori Schoolboys team, three of whom were selected in the New Zealand Under 19 squad.

"It was an honour to present the caps to the boys last season and it’s great to see there will be a girls team formed as well. I’m very proud of my Māori heritage and hope to see this initiative continue for years to come," Boult said.

An opposition for the matches in Wellington is still to be confirmed, but Mr Tara said initial conversations with the Governor General’s office have been very positive.

The NZ Māori School matches will be played in the week surrounding the BLACKCAPS first Test against India.


New Zealand Māori School teams

Selection in both the New Zealand Māori School boys and girls teams will take place through formal nomination processes. NZC will also have selectors at upcoming national tournaments (Gillette Cup/Gillette Venus Cup, Under 17 and U19 national tournaments).

Players selected in the NZ Māori Secondary School teams must be enrolled in a NZ secondary school in 2020.

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