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Labour Weekend sees the Aotearoa Maori Titles take place in Taranaki with this year’s winners of the premier Open Men’s and Women’s Divisions taking home a ticket to the big time come March 2020.

The top male and female surfers will be awarded one of 16 limited trials slots for the Piha Pro, of which the top two surfers in each division will be granted wildcards into the main round of the World Surf League Challenger Series event.

That means the winners of the event could join other top Maori surfers in Ricardo Christie (Mah), Kehu Butler (Mnt) and Elliot Paerata – Reid (Piha), the three athletes being in the qualification zone for the Piha Pro next year.

The added incentive brought to the 2019 event has piqued the interest of several of the country’s top Maori surfers.  They will be out to topple defending champions Bachelor Tipene and Zhana Hutchieson both of Taranaki.

The two local surfers stormed to victory last year blowing away their opponents in clean Stent Road waves.

Tipene only competes selectively in events located close to home but his surfing matches any in the country when the conditions suit.

For Australian based Hutchieson, the Maori Titles provides an opportunity to return home each year to be part of such a meaningful event.

Hutchieson is part of a strong group of Maori surfers including current and ex New Zealand representatives Raiha Ensor (Mnt) and Elin Tawharu (Mnt).  Younger New Zealand Junior reps Brie Bennett (Rag) and Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), will be absent from the event whilst competing at the World Junior Championships in California.

Much of the hype will be around the two elite divisions and the chance to secure a trials slot but the Maori Titles means a lot more to the participants that take part across the nine divisions being contested during the weekend.

The Maori Titles has a unique feel to it with a mix of top New Zealand surfers as well as many who focus their attention on Labour Weekend as the only time they pull on a coloured jersey in competition.  Divisions range from Under 14 Boys through to Over 45 Men plus longboarding and standup paddleboarding.  Families and friends attend the event as a celebration of surfing with the Friday evening powhiri setting the tone for the long weekend.

The event takes place on Saturday and Sunday of Labour Weekend (20th – 21st October).  On Friday evening, the powhiri will be held at Parihaka Pa.

Waitara Bar Boardriders will host the event again this year and will direct everyone to the best conditions on offer.

Please see below for defending champions from the 2018 Aotearoa Maori Titles.

Open Men’s Division – Bachelor Tipene (Taranaki)
Open Women’s Division – Zhana Hutchieson (Te Atiawa)
Under 18 Boys Division – Sonny Rapira – Martin (Tara)
Under 18 Girls Division – Brie Bennett (Tainui)
Under 16 Boys Division – Kora Cooper (Ngai Tai)
Under 14 Boys Division – Kora Cooper (Ngai Tai)
Over 35 Men’s Division – Dwaine Mataa (Tara)
Over 45 Men’s Division
– Darren Kiwi (Ngai Te Rangi)
Longboard Division
– Matt Rawson (Aus)
Stand Up Paddleboard Division – Jamie Andrews (Te Atiawa)
Amateur – Jordie Luke (Tara)

Information
For more information on the 2019 Aotearoa Maori Surfing Titles, please contact Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

Imagery
High resolution images will be available to media upon request. Images will be distributed free of charge.

Partners
The 2019 Aotearoa Maori Surfing Titles would not be possible without support from hosts Waitara Bar Boardriders Club, Surfing Taranaki and Surfing New Zealand.

Follow Surfing New Zealand
Keep in touch with all the surfing info from around the country by following Surfing New Zealand’s social media channels Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – @SurfingNZ.

Event Hotline
The Surfing New Zealand event hotline is 0211134506. This will be updated daily at with venues, divisions contested and conditions.

Surfing New Zealand is proudly partnered by:

Sport NZ
SunSmart
Water Safety New Zealand

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