MatarikiYouth Development

Matariki Team 2023 - Tupu-ā-rangi

Matariki Team 2023 - Tupu-ā-rangi

Posted July 04, 2023
IHNZ News Matariki

Within the Matariki star cluster, Tupu-ā-rangi has long looked out for the ngahere (forests).  Our native wildlife – manu (birds and bats), mokomoko (lizards), and ngārara (bugs) – are being ravaged by introduced pests and predators. As are our ancient rākau (trees) – like tōtara, pūriri, pōhutukawa and rātā. 

Tupu-ā-rangi encourages us to take action to help to bring our forests back to life again.

James O’Donnell leads the Tupu-ā- rangi team consisting of:

  • Syd Sills
  • Braeden Kettle
  • Matt Barakat
  • Matthew Hansen
  • Daniel Middleton
  • George Chen
  • Scott Eastwood (G)
  • Matthew Eastwood (G)

James O’Donnell started playing Inline hockey for the Wanganui Lightning at just 9 years old. Due to study and work, James has played for various clubs in Palmerston North, Auckland and Melbourne before moving back to Wanganui a few years ago.

James highlights include:

  • representing New Zealand at Oceanias from under 16 to senior grades
  • AAU and the IIHF world qualifiers and championships.

James currently plays for the Wanganui Lighting Premier team and has recently taken on the role of Club President. James is the captain of the Tupu-ā-rangi Matariki series team.

Syd Sills has played for the Mt Wellington Panthers since the age of 10 and is now a member of their Premier team.

Syd has coached Panthers age grade teams and has been a part of many winning teams.

He says its his love for the game along with the family/camaraderie that has kept him playing.

Syd is honoured to now be playing alongside players he looked up to growing when up!

Braeden Kettle has played for the Hamilton Devils since 2012, starting as a goalie for U10s.

He has represented various age grades at regional level and New Zealand at 12U Oceania’s in 2017, 16U NARCh in 2018, selected for 16U Oceania’s in 2020 and was named captain of 14U AAU in Hawaii in 2019.

Braeden currently plays for the Devils premier team.

Daniel Middleton has been playing since he was 6 years old, joining the Hamilton Devils.

He has represented NZ at AAU 2019 (12U) and was selected for the 2020 Oceania’s 14U team. He lovesto play and will play whenever the opportunity arises! Daniel tries to give back to the sport by refereeing regularly (regional league games and tournaments).

In 2023 Daniel was selected to play for the New Zealand 16U that played at the NARCH Winternationals in LA in January.

Daniel also captained the Hamilton Boys High School Inline team that won NZSSC in May.

Matthew Hansen startedplaying Inline Hockey for the Panthers in 2012, aged 7 and movedto the Vipers club in 2018.

Representing the Northern Region multiple times, Matthew also runs the Learn to Play program, coaches the 10U grade and referees on a regular basis.

Matthew is looking forward to his second Matariki series!

George Chen began playing Inline Hockey in 2019 with the Hamilton Devils. George now lives in Auckland and plays for the Panthers.

George also plays Ice Hockey and is a member of the Auckland 18U representative team.

Matt Barakat has played for the Waihi Miners since the 10U grade following in the skates of his two older brothers - being the youngest he got the hand me downs!

He has played for New Zealand twice and has been to both Hawaii (AAU) and LA (NARCh) tournaments.

Matt has also played in the Inter Regionals for the central region teams for a number of years. Matt also referees and is currently playing for the Waihi Miners Senior A team and Matt says he is still loving it.

Matthew Eastwood has been playing inline hockey for 10 years.Whilst he enjoys playing out but has always enjoyed being a goalie.

Matthew has always encouraged and been helpful with advice to any new goalies starting out at the Vipers club, and regularly participates in various grades for the club to ensure teams can play.

Matt has represented Northern Region at various Inter Regionals tournaments, being the goalie for the 12u team that took out the gold medal in Levin, and always looks forward to new challenges.

As one of 5 hockey players in his family (3 goalies!!) he is looking forward to the opportunity to play with his older brother Scott in the Tupu-ā-rangi team!

Matts elder brother Scott Eastwood started playing hockey around 2018 for the Ravens social team The Beers. He says they are awesome! Being 27 when he started playing, Scott thought it was too late and says he took himself far too seriously.

The Beers knocked that out of him quick!He started by playing out for the first 6 months but realised it wasn’t for him. He managed to get his hands on about 80% of a goalie kit for $75. Scott said after his first go in the net he felt like he’d finally found his spot on the rink!

He said The Beers constantly pushed him out of his comfort zone for two years. Then he started thinking about working towards trialling for a regional team.He received a lot of support and started to train with the seniors.

Scott has been playing with the seniors for 3 years and that most have been NZ players so training with them has been awesome and he has gained a lot playing with them!