Five squads flush with Hawke Cup, Major Association age-group, Provincial A and Māori Secondary School talent, have been named for Easter’s inaugural Māori National T20 Tournament in Whangarei.
Tāmaki Makaurau Māori (Auckland Māori), led by Māori Secondary Schoolboys head coach, Michael Tillett, are likely to hit the ground running, having already played multiple fixtures over the past two seasons – including matches against Cook Islands and Northern Māori.
They will look to former first-class cricketer, Dusan Hakaraia, and Auckland Provincial A representative, Jock McKenzie, to be leaders with the bat as well as off the field.
The McCaw Lewis Northern Districts Māori are another team with the benefit of having played together, holding a rich playing history spanning 13 years.
Captain Mikaere Leef and Leighton Parsons will be key players - both having been consistent run-scorers for Northern Māori over several seasons.
They form an experienced top order alongside Charles Williams, another Northern Māori veteran who has been in fine form in Bay of Plenty club cricket.
The inaugural Central Districts Māori squad is littered with up-and-coming talent from throughout the Central Districts region.
Jerome Robinson and Samuel Payne both represented Māori Secondary Schoolboys this year and will be players to keep an eye on for the future.
Jarred Cunningham (Taranaki) and Bailey Te Tomo (Horowhenua-Kapiti) are all experienced Hawke Cup players and will play a key role in Central’s bid to bring home a title.
Te Whanganui-a-Tara Māori (Wellington Māori), headlined by recent Wellington Firebirds debutant, Jesse Tashkoff, have also named a strong squad to represent their region.
Mitch Scott and wicketkeeper-bat Nik Swain have been consistent run-scorers in Wellington Club Cricket for Taita CC and should feature prominently.
Te Whanganui-a-Tara have also named recent Māori Secondary Schoolboys representatives Lachlan Bailey and Marco Muollo, both of whom showed plenty of promise through representative age-group tournaments.
Te Waipounamu Māori (South Island Māori) will see the southern regions’ best Māori cricketers combine to represent their Island of origin.
Batter Timothy Hampton-Matehe is coming off an impressive season for East Shirley Cricket Club in Christchurch and will look to continue this form for Te Waipounamu.
Brendan Domigan was Southland’s top run-scorer in Zone 4 of the Hawke Cup, averaging 75 runs with the bat while notching up two centuries.
Wicketkeeper-bat, Oscar Wilson, will be another player to watch, having represented Otago A through the 2022-23 season.
Te Waipounamu manager, Matiu Workman, said the chance for players to represent their whakapapa and their heritage is an important step for cricket.
“It’s an incredible opportunity not only for Māori cricket to be recognised nationally, but for us as players and support staff to think about who we are and our taha Māori.”
“It’s so empowering to have a space within such a traditionally British and colonial sport to not only explore our Māori identity, but to even allow us to live and play as Māori.”
Follow the matches live from Friday 7th April on PlayHQ. To view the tournament draw, click here.
See full squad lists below.
Tāmaki Makaurau Māori (Auckland Māori):
Fraser Campbell, Ben Brady, Jack Clough, Elias Falanitule, Flynn Goodley-Hollister, Dusan Hakaraia, William Martin, Jock McKenzie, Noah Scordino, Harry Sinclair, Ryan Smardon, Jack Windler.
Coaches: Michael Tillett, Corey Todd.
McCaw Lewis Northern Districts Māori:
Mikaere Leef (c), Depp Bollingford, Brock Cameron, Curtis Cherrington, Fraser Farrell,Joshua Hill, Harry Jones, Ryan Metcalfe, Leighton Parsons, Ethan Price, Cohen Stewart, Samuel Wilson, Charles Williams.
Manager: Kelly Grice.
Central Districts Māori:
Zack Benton, Aiden Clark, Jarred Cunningham, Dustin Emms-Healey, Taine Halbert, Bayley Latter, Rian Lyver, Jamie Marshall, Angus McKnight, Charlie Pawson, Samuel Payne, Jerome Robinson, Bailey Te Tomo.
Coach: Hayden Robinson.
Te Whanganui-a-Tara Māori (Wellington Māori):
Jesse Tashkoff (c), Lachlan Bailey, Kaleb Gilhooly, Ryan Jackson, Drew MacDonald, Henry McIntyre, Marco Muollo, Max Petrie, Mitch Scott, Nik Swain, Alex Thompson, Patrick White,
Coaches: Alistair Alcock, Tom Pere.
Te Waipounamu Māori (South Island Māori):
Jamal Al-sukhon, Shaun Berryman, Toby Clemett, Brendan Domigan, Timothy Hampton-Matehe, Charlie Robson, Rory Sloan, Kobe Stackhouse, Reuben Stoffers, Oscar Wilson, Jake Kura, Brayden Thomas.
Coaches: Liam Foulkes, Matiu Workman.