June 11, 2020

Now that the shift to Alert Level 1 has been confirmed, it is important to reflect on the huge efforts of whānau, hapū, Iwi, community groups, Aotearoa as a whole, and in particular our ‘Essential workers’ in proving that through kotahitanga  our country has been able to reduce COVID-19 to ‘no new cases’. 


With the country now operating at COVID-19 Level 1, the NZMRL board have decided that we will only hold two of our four national tournaments in 2020.  These will be the Rangatahi and Tuakana tournaments, with both to be held in Rotorua:


Rangatahi Tournament Date:   3-4 October 2020,   Rotorua

Tuakana Tournament Date:   24-45 October 2020,  Rotorua


We have made application to the NZRL for sanctioning, and don’t see any problems arising.


The board took the following into consideration when making this decision:

  1. the impact of the COVID pandemic on Aotearoa as a whole

  2. a request from NZRL that we refrain from holding any events to the end of September.            

  3. challenges with running four back-to-back tournaments in October/early November.

  4. 2020 is a significant year for our rangatahi tournament, as it marks the 20th year.                           

  5. the Tuakana tournament is an important platform for the selection of players for our NZMRL  representative teams, and is normally held on Labour Weekend; and

  6. the need to be considerate of the overall impact of COVID on the  country’s economy, unemployment,  unplanned changes that impact of whānau, pressures with fund-raising, any continued restrictions around physical and social distancing, and health and safety.


Unfortunately, this decision means that our 2020 Teina and Tamariki tournaments will be cancelled.  It is unfortunate, but we have to make the best of a difficult situation, and as our country works through what a return to ‘normal’ will look like for events such as the NZMRL tournaments.


Our apologies to Taranaki Whānui and Tuhoe Rugby League who were ready to host our Teina and Tamariki tournaments this year.  We also acknowledge Tuwharetoa Māori Rugby League who are unable to host the Rangatahi tournament, due to the unavailability of Delaney Park.  


While we have had to make some tough decisions, we look forward to a successful return to sports and to our kaupapa of Māori rugby league.  We also look forward to 2021 when we will be able to hold all four tournaments again.


Ngā mihi nui



John Devonshire

Chairman,  New Zealand Māori Rugby League

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