Central North Island Maori rugby teams are gathering in Palmerston North for a regional competition.
The Te Tini a Maui Central Maori Rugby tournament brings together teams from Taranaki to Gisborne, including Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa, Wellington, Manawatu and Whanganui.
Te Tini a Maui chairman Mike Haddon, who affiliates to most iwi in the central region, says Maori rugby tournaments have provided the springboard for some of New Zealand's best rugby players.
One of the greatest things about the three regional Maori rugby tournaments is that they have been a stepping stone for young Maori players to enter the Super 16, Rugby 7s and the All Blacks, including the Maori All Blacks.
The tournament runs on Saturday and Sunday at Palmerston North's Arena Manawatu.