The McCaw Lewis Northern Districts Maori Women's team will head to Rarotonga tomorrow for a 10 day tour. Following their successful inaugural tour in 2015 the team will return to the island nation to promote cricket as well as playing the local teams.
The Northern Districts side sees a return of 7 players who made the tour last year including first class players Kerry Tomlinson (player/coach) and Ariana Te Wake, as well as some inexperienced players making their debut to cricket.
Peter Roach, CEO of Northern Districts Cricket, says the tour is an important part of the investment in Maori Cricket in the region. "Participation of Maori in cricket continues to be a key focus for us. This tour is a key highlight in the calendar of our McCaw Lewis Maori programme and allows for our players to be exposed to further competitive fixtures."
Kerry Tomlinson says the Rarotonga tour helped with generating interest from new players "We have recruited five new players this winter. Some of our girls had never played cricket before and their perception of cricket has changed after experiencing how fun it was. It is always the people who make any sport trips fun. The Maori team culture we create is just that, fun. It makes recruitment easy."
Tomlinson acknowledges that the tour is important culturally for the players as well as forming relationships with Cook Island clubs. The players will be attending church, visiting local marae as well as being hosted at several dinners at the different island locations. "Our new players will get to experience playing in a very small family-oriented cricketing culture which is familiar to what we create in the Maori team. It is also exciting for our players returning to Raro who will get to see friends made from our last trip."
The ND Maori Womens team will again face local club Avana in a T20 match, after Avana toured New Zealand in April. The tour also includes a 40 over match against the national Rarotonga side and T20 matches against local clubs Turangi and Takitumu.
McCaw Lewis Northern Districts Maori Women:
1. Kerry Tomlinson
2. Ariana Te Wake
3. Tayla Hollis
4. Christine Hollis
5. Jayda Tainui
6. Quinn Robinson
7. Taneika Uerata
8. Ashlee Hawkes-Board
9. Maija Stephens
10. Briana Perry
11. Phoebe Taylor