Maia Lewis, former New Zealand captain. © Getty Images

Following the success of the first ever Māori secondary schoolboys team last season, New Zealand Cricket on Thursday (September 12), announced that an equivalent team will be selected for the girls. Maia Lewis, former New Zealand captain, will coach the first ever New Zealand Māori secondary schoolgirls team when they take the field in Wellington in February. 

“The Māori teams, announced in Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, are part of NZC’s drive to better include, recognise and celebrate New Zealand’s first people,” said a release from NZC.

 The selection of these teams will take place through a process of nomination. In addition to this, NZC selectors will also be present at all the upcoming Under-17 and Under-19 national tournaments.

Andrew Tara, NZC Network and Participation Advisor, stated that the additions of these teams to the Māori playing calendar added greater weight to the board’s push to maintain cricket as a sport for all New Zealanders.

“Last season’s New Zealand Māori Schoolboys match was really well received, so naturally we wanted to expand this initiative to also include a girls team,” Tara said.  “Having someone of Maia’s experience is a real bonus and gives this initiative extra credibility. She will be a great resource for our players on and off the field.”

“The opportunity to learn more about Māori culture, including the chance to stay in a local marae, were highlights of last season’s initiative and we’re looking forward to more of these cultural experiences this season.”

While the opposition for these matches is yet to be confirmed, Tara said that the initial conversation with the Governor General’s office was promising.

The matches will be played in the week preceding New Zealand men’s first Test against India next year.

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