by Lorraine Genia – EM TV Sport, Port Moresby
Haka’tautai is a group of men who represent the Tasman, Fead and Mortlock group of islands in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
Their work doesn’t just stop at scoring tries and registering victories on the field – they stand for a cause, something so close to their homes.
The Mortlock groups of islands are currently under threat, due to rising sea levels and the warming effects of climate change and global warming. Through rugby, these men wish to spread the awareness far and wide, on something happening in our own coastal waters.
In 2007, it was reported that the estimated 2,000 Papua New Guinean’s living within the Carteret Islands of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, could very well be the world’s first climate change refugees, and as the year’s progress – this is easily becoming a reality.
While many have launched community development plans to develop positive projects that will benefit the people of the Mortlock group of islands, Haka’tautai stands alone as the only team using rugby to drive the importance and awareness of global warming.
“Haka’tautai is a team we formed to spread the message that our islands are affected by global warming. We are playing for our people,” said team manager Kahlua Sione.
While spreading awareness on the affects of global warming, the concept of Haka’tautai also provides an avenue for young men in the islands to showcase their talent – eventually, becoming a potential feeder club into the national team.
The team has been around since 2014, and will continue to feature in rugby tournaments nationwide, as they strive to create and build masters within their communities.