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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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Tēnā koutou katoa - Greetings 


Firstly, we share our sincere thoughts, prayers and aroha to you all.   In these unprecedented times please know that your health and wellbeing, and the health and wellbeing of all our whānau throughout Aotearoa  is paramount. The challenge of Covid 19 is real, and there has been much written and spoken about the pandemic by the experts in the hauora field.  I can only reiterate their messages and encourage you all to continue to heed their advice and instructions. Kia kaha tātou. WE CAN DO THIS!


Recently the NZRL released a statement informing of the cancellation of all their fixtures and tournaments for the 2020 season.  The NZRL has seen fit to make this call, and we respect their decision. However, although we the NZMRL are an affiliate of the NZRL, we want to clarify that our board has not made the same decision regarding our tournament activity.   Instead we want to highlight the following information regarding our tournaments:


Rangatahi (Postponed) New date to be confirmed

Teina (Postponed) New date to be confirmed

Tamariki (No Change) September 24 & 25

Tuakana (No Change) October 24 & 25

Work is underway on the planning and preparation of our tournaments in readiness for when our country comes out of lockdown and we get the “go ahead” to hold events again.  I must also highlight, that our priority reamins the health and well-being of all whanau involved with our tournaments. Therefore, we will only consider and run our tournaments when we are authorised to do so.  


We know that the situation is similar for the Pasifika tournaments.   These tournaments are currently:

13’s & 14’s, Auckland, October 3 & 4

15’s & 17’s, Auckland, October 24 & 25


Do know that we are determined, where at all possible, to continue with our tournaments.   We may also be faced with the reality of having to run only one or some of our tournaments.    We also know that the timeframes may be tight, and that some teams may no longer be able to participate as a result of this pandemic.  And of course, there may be pūtea constraints given that the whole country is facing economic / financial pressures which will almost certainly affect some of our whānau as well as NZMRL. 


I make no excuses in that NZMRL are under the same pressure, and that the tournaments that we know may have to change slightly for this year.   But remember that the board are still working through this, so we will let you know as soon as we have the plan in place. Therefore, if I could encourage patience on all fronts, this would be very much appreciated.   Kia kaha tātou.


Ngā mihi nui.  Noho haumaru mai e hoa mā.


John Devonshire (JD)

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