Maori/All Stars Profiles 2021 - #2
Posted September 20, 2021
As part of the IHNZ 25th celebrations, an exhibition game is being held between a New Zealand All Stars team and a New Zealand Maori team. This match will showcase some of our most exciting talent in hockey and we look forward to introducing the members of these teams over the following days. This game will be broadcast live on Sky Sport Next.
New Zealand Maori leadership team
We start the first of our profiles with the New Zealand Maori leadership team Captain, and Assists:
- Lewis Taiapa
- Ant Nathan
- Brad Ayers
Lewis Taiapa started playing Inline Hockey in 1998 when 12 with his brothers and sister. He had previously excelled in Ten Pin Bowling as a Junior National player but transitioned to Inline Hockey by accident when asked to play by a local club in Wainuiomata after being seen rollerblading around the area. Lewis’ family (brothers Jensen, Leigh, Hayden, and sister Kylie) have been involved with the sport since then and all have represented NZ at Oceanias, Junior World AAU, FIRS World Champs, and IIHF World Championships.
The most memorable achievement includes winning their clubs first National Prems Championship in Tauranga against the Christchurch Snipers in 2008. They were a young team and they credit this to starting the path of their success to today.
Another is being part of the 2007 IIHF Men’s World cup team which just fell short of a Division 1 Gold medal vs Brazil in the Grand Final. Coached by Shane Clark and lead by Captains Devon Kay, Bevan Varney, and Mark Drummond they were a young team full of talent and managed to upset professional teams like Hungary (8-7), Japan in the quarterfinal, Australia in the semifinal and an overtime defeat vs Brazil in the final.
Lewis said,“we were leading in the last period 4-1 and with penalties, Brazil managed to capitalise and bring it back to a tie. The average age of our team was 22, with players coming out of u18s and u20s, Ant Nathan, James Trevena-Brown, Zach Beardman, Alan Peddie, Tim Whipps - we did well to come away with a close fought Silver medal. We built great memories and long lasting friendships on that trip and to date was the best performance at a IIHF world championship NZ has ever had”.
There are many memories and stories to share but here are some highlights from Lewis’s long career in Inline Hockey:
- Being the First NZ Club to play at NARCh in 2012 - making the Men’s Semifinal and winning the Men’s Skills Contest with “Best Moves.”
- Oceanias Gold from 2001- 2010 (or 2014?) as NZ Mens Captain 2009 onwards
- IIHF Silver Medal 2007, Captain Mens IIHF 2011-2017
- Penguins Prems Nationals Champs - 2008’, 10’, 12’, 14’, 15’, 16’, 17’, 18’, 19’
- Lower Interregionals
- Coach Vipers u10s team - First Club National Championship 2018 u10s
- Helped to set up first NZ Maori team 2015, Exhibition game vs Invitational squad, then Exhibition game vs Team Hawaii 2017
- NARCh 2019 Wellington Penguins, Semifinal Mens Gold
- NARCh 2015 Playing in the Pro Division against the best players in the world for Team NZ
- 2009 NZ Men’s Invitational team to play team Brazil at 2009 Nationals. 7-1 final score to NZ.
And on a special note - Lewis’s father Horace Taiapa who is a Ngati Porou carver and artist helped to design the Maori patterns for the jersey and Joe Dowman completed the graphical design aspect of the jersey.
Ant Nathan started playing roller (quad) hockey at the age of 9. In 1999 he began to play Inline hockey and first represented New Zealand in 2001. Ant further represented New Zealand in 2002 - 2008 and again in 2010, 2012 and 2017.
Ant says his most memorable moment was coming second in the 2007 Division 2 IIHF championships. The New Zealand team also entered the 2007 - 2009 and 2011 events.
In 2007 Ant became part of the Botany Swarm playing in the NZIHL where he was an instrumental part of the team that won the National title in 2007 and 2008.
Ant was a member of the inaugural NZ Maori team in 2015 and again in 2017.
In 2021 Ant has been focusing on coaching the younger players coming through, leading the Northern Region InterRegional 16U team to a gold medal in July. He is currently co-coaching the Panthers 16U team.
Brad Ayers began Inline hockey after watching the Mighty Ducks movie!
20 years later he is still playing for the Rimutaka Renegades after a move to Wellington. As captain of the Renegades Senior A team they have won four national titles in 2013, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Brad played for the New Zealand U21’s team for three years becoming the captain in his last year. He has also represented New Zealand at Senior Men and Masters grades.
Brad has coached a number of NZ representative teams and says his highlight was being the Inline Ferns’ head coach for two World Championships, reaching the quarter final stage both times.
Brad was a member of the inaugural NZ Maori team in 2015 and again in 2017.
Keep an eye out for the rest of the team members over the following weeks!
NZ Maori Inline Hockey Team Haka at the 2015 NZ inline Hockey Nationals, Hamilton: