Rhonda Lee McIsaac —
First-time contenders bring their ancient Māori spirits to the hardwood at the 2017 World Indigenous Basketball Challenge. The team may also intimidate their fellow teams with the haka; a traditional war dance which was also used in peace times to show unity, pride, and strength of mind, body and spirit.
Father; Willy Taurima, and son Ross Taurima; who is the Ngāti Tao team manager took time out of their team preparations to answer Haida Laas questions.
What made you want to participate in this year’s WIBC?
Our tribal team from Ngāti Toa in New Zealand was asked to participate because the New Zealand Māori Team couldn’t attend the 2017 WIBC and the Toa team have stepped forward to participate.
The Toa team plays a lot of basketball and for the tribe there are a lot of kids who play and follow basketball. The team is based around Porirua in New Zealand and have strong ties as individuals as they are a part of families from the Toa tribe.
How have you prepared for this basketball tournament? Is there anything special about your preparations that would set you apart from other teams?
Many of our players play for a number of teams within New Zealand and are not all living in the same area; so largely preparations have been based around participation in basketball events where the players live. We depend on them individually preparing themselves. They have played together for many years so team offensive and defensive processes will happen more naturally because they know how each of them play.
Have you prepared anything for the cultural portion of the WIBC?
We have travelling with us a couple of people who may be able to perform in our native language for a performance as well as the team being able to perform the haka for teams as appropriate.
Do you wish to say anything to the fans who will be watching or listening to the games?
Our Ngāti Toa team are really happy to be a part of the World Indigenous Basketball Challenge this year; some of the players were there last year with the Māori National Team and are looking forward to some great basketball and interaction with others from around the world.
We do want to recognize those who have worked hard to make it happen and appreciate the energy it takes to make things happen.
Is there a special story that you’d like to share with the fans about a member of your basketball team?
They are a hard-working team who love their clan and will do their best.
Game 4: Ngāti Toa will play Team Regina at 12:30pm at the UBC War Memorial Gym on Wednesday August 9th, 2017.