Māruawai College pupils have taken part in a sports tournament with Matthew Flinders Anglican College pupils from the Sunshine Coast.

The pupils competed in netball, rugby, hockey and football.

A mihi whakatau was held at the school to welcome the touring party on Wednesday.

At the end of the pōwhiri, a patu (club) commemorating the visit, made by teacher Aidan Forbes, was presented to Flinders’ head of sport Adam Ridgewell.

Mr Ridgewell gave Flinders T-shirts to the Māruawai pupils.

Māruawai College principal Mel Hamilton said the visit had been very successful.

Commemorative gift. . . Holding the patu which was presented to Matthew Flinders Anglican College pupils and staff from the Sunshine Coast visiting Maruawai College last week are (from left) Maruawai College learning support co-ordinator Gerry Ward, principal Mel Hamilton and Flinder’s head of sport Adam Ridgewell. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

‘‘Both countries share a deep love for sports and competition, and this exchange allowed students to experience the value of this universal language, fostering friendship through the spirit of competition and teamwork.’’

The schools mixed and mingled really well.

‘‘They enjoyed the camaraderie of the sports. ‘We shared some players in hockey, rugby and football.’’

The visit came about through the long-standing friendship of Māruawai learning support co-ordinator Gerry Ward and Mr Ridgewell.

The school had investigated the possibility of pupils visiting Australia in 2025 but the cost had been ‘‘too prohibitive’’, Mrs Hamilton said.

Passing. . . Maruawai College senior A centre Layla Connorton,16, looks to feed the ball into the circle in a game against a Matthew Flinders Anglican College team from the Sunshine Coast.

Some of the school’s senior A netballers who have been selected for the Netball Eastern Southland under-18 team played the Australian college’s A team.

Netball senior A captain Ellie Bedwell, 17, said it was a good opportunity for pupils of the two schools to mix.