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Kehu Butler, Natasha Gouldsbury Claim 2020 Maori Titles

Kehu Butler stamps his mark on the 2020 Maori Titles, bringing his world-class surfing to one of New Zealand’s most iconic events. Set in a backdrop of Northland’s waves Butler is joined by Natasha Gouldsbury on the top step of the podium.

Kehu Butler, world class at The Bluff. Photo: Ronny Rolfe

Tauranga Moana surfer Kehu Butler (Ngai Te Rangi) has returned to New Zealand waters claiming the Men’s Division of the 2020 Aotearoa Maori Titles. Alongside Butler was young Taranaki surfer Natasha Gouldsbury (Te Atiawa) winning the Women’s Division.

The event was completed in Te Tai Tokerau over Labour weekend. The final day of the event returned to The Bluff north of Ahipara. The surf had subsided a touch from day one with a solid 1.5 plus swell and offshore winds all day.

Despite Butler’s win, Ngai Te Rangi could only manage a runner-up finish with defending champions Te Atiawa victorious for the fifth straight year.

It was Butler’s third title (2016, 2017) at the event and it came in dominating fashion with a 16.3 out of a possible 20 points for the win.

“This event means a lot to me and to stand up here in front of a number of Aotearoa surfing legends that my Dad has told me stories about over the years is special,” commented Butler at the poroporoaki referencing the likes of National Champions in attendance – Motu Mataa and Brent Hutchieson as well as Dwaine Mataa and Darren Kiwi.

“This event means a lot to me and to stand up here in front of a number of Aotearoa surfing legends that my Dad has told me stories about over the years is special.”

Kehu Butler, Ngai Te Rangi
Levi Stewart the closest threat to Butler’s crown at The Bluff. Photo: Ronny Rolfe

Te Awa surfer Levi Stewart, of Waihi Beach, finished in second place and was the only surfer to push Butler for the win after posting a high scoring ride in the opening minutes of the final and finishing with a 13.7 point heat total.

 Kehu’s father Khan had to settle for third place in the final as he continues to hunt for an elusive win over his son. Josef Jungwirth (Ngai Te Rangi) finished in fourth place in his first Men’s Division Final.

Gouldsbury held on for the win in the Open Women’s Division with defending champion Zhana Hutchieson coming up short on her last attempt in the final. The Te Atiawa surfers shared the lead in the final before Gouldsbury went clear leaving Hutchieson with the runner-up finish.

Natasha Gouldsbury on form at The Bluff. Photo: Ronny Rolfe

“The Maori Nats is always one of the best comps for me, everyone is so chill – it is such a great vibe compared to some of the other comps. Everyone just has a good time,” commented Gouldsbury after the final.

“I was stoked to get the win off Zhana after she has won it for the last couple of years,” she added. “I have always looked up to her so it was cool to have the final with her. Well done to Brie for taking out the Under 18 Girls Division, too, she was ripping in that final.”

“The Maori Nats is always one of the best comps for me, everyone is so chill – it is such a great vibe compared to some of the other comps. Everyone just has a good time.”

Natasha Gouldsbury, Te Atiawa

Brie Bennett (Ngati Hine) finished in third after earlier topping Gouldsbury in the Under 18 Girls to claim the victory. Ngai Tahu surfer Jaya Reardon finished the final in fourth place to continue her strong recent form – coming off the back of a win in the Under 18 Girls at the National Scholastic competition a few weeks earlier.

Kora Cooper outstanding at The Bluff. Photo: Ronny Rolfe

Kora Cooper (Ngai Tai) won the Under 18 Boys Division with some tight backhand surfing in the final to post a 15.0 point heat total.

Fellow Raglan surfer Navryn Malone (Mahaki) won the Under 16 Boys Division while Ryder Pennington (Te Atiawa) won the Under 14 Boys Division.

Local Te Tai Tokerau surfer, Indi-Lee Ruddell won the Under 14 Girls Division with some brave surfing taking on the large waves out the back.

In the senior divisions, it was Chris Malone (Mahaki) that came out on top in the Over 35 Men’s Division, defeating Motu Mataa (Taranaki), double finalist Khan Butler (Ngai Te Rangi) and Dave Lyons (Nga Puhi).

In the Over 45 Men’s Division, Darren Kiwi (Ngai Te Rangi) came out on top after opting to surf the outer banks and posting a 12.43 point heat total for a dying seconds win in the final. The Tamati brothers Dawson and Mitchell finished in second and third respectively with Luke Baxter (Nagti Awa) finishing in fourth.

James Atutahi (Te Arawa) won the Longboard Division while Chris Karaitiana (Kahungunu) won the Stand Up Paddleboard Division.

Brent Hutchieson throwing some tail in the Over 35’s at The Bluff. Photo: Ronny Rolfe

Participants enjoyed some exceptional manaakitanga at Roma Marae, the event concluding with the poroporoaki and a hangi for everyone in attendance.

A total of 21 Iwi were represented at the event. It is the first time the event has been held in Northland in its 25-year history.

 The Maori Titles has a unique feel to it with a mix of top New Zealand surfers as well as many who focus their attention on Labour Weekend as the only time they pull on a coloured jersey in competition.

The 2020 Aotearoa Maori Surfing Titles would not be possible without support from Oxford Sports Trust, Pub Charity, Far North District Council, Te Runanga a Iwi of Ngapuhi, Te Tuhua ki Aotearoa Charitable Trust, Aio Solutions Limited, Maori Flavoured Limited, Clements Contractors Limited.

Report: Ben Kennings/Surfing New Zealand
Photos: Ronny Rolfe and Cory Scott
Northerly winds meant the iconic waves of Shippies couldn’t be utilised for the Maori Titles. Photo: Cory Scott

Full Results from the 2020 Aotearoa Maori Surfing Titles

Iwi of Origin
1. Te Atiawa
2. Ngai Te Rangi
3. Mahaki
4. Nga Puhi
5. Ngai Tahu
6. Te Rawara
7. Ngati Awa
8. Ngai Tai
9. Ngati Porou
10. Ngati Hine
11. Te Arawa
12. Kahungunu
13. Ngati Whatua
14. Ngati Wai
15 Maniapoto

Open Men’s Division Semifinals
Heat 1
Levi Stewart (Ngati Awa), 12, 1, Khan Butler (Ngai Te Rangi), 10.6, 2, Chris Malone (Mahaki), 9, 3
Heat 2

Kehu Butler (Ngai Te Rangi), 13.2, 1, Josef Jungwirth (Ngai Te Rangi), 7, 2, Jacob Buckle (Nga Puhi), 3.37, 3

Open Men’s Division Final

Kehu Butler (Ngai Te Rangi), 16.3, 1, Levi Stewart (Ngati Awa), 13.7, 2, Khan Butler (Ngai Te Rangi), 12.2, 3, Josef Jungwirth (Ngai Te Rangi), 10.5, 4

Open Women’s Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Natasha Gouldsbury (Te Atiawa), 6.83, 1, Jaya Reardon (Ngai Tahu), 4.67, 2, Kiri Binnersley (Ngati Porou), 0, 3
Heat 2

Brie Bennett (Ngati Hine), 10.3, 1, Zhana Hutchieson (Te Atiawa), 6.67, 2, Renee Ruddell (Te Rarawa), 5.5, 3, Kelly Murphy (Te Arawa), 0, 4

Open Women’s Division Final
Natasha Gouldsbury (Te Atiawa), 7.5, 1, Zhana Hutchieson (Te Atiawa), 6.74, 2, Brie Bennett (Ngati Hine), 4.34, 3, Jaya Reardon (Ngai Tahu), 0.5, 4

Under 18 Boys Semifinals
Heat 1
Josef Jungwirth (Ngai Te Rangi), 11.9, 1, Jayden Willoughby (Nga Puhi), 10.8, 2, Jack McKenzie (Ngai Tahu), 9.24, 3, Trae Cooney (Nga Puhi), 3.17, 4
Heat 2

Kora Cooper (Ngai Tai), 9.27, 1, Reuben Lyons (Ngai Tahu), 9.17, 2, Jacob Buckle (Nga Puhi), 7.26, 3, Luis Southwood (Ngai Tahu), 6.86, 4

Under 18 Boys Division Final

Kora Cooper (Ngai Tai), 15, 1, Josef Jungwirth (Ngai Te Rangi), 13.9, 2, Jayden Willoughby (Nga Puhi), 11.2, 3, Reuben Lyons (Ngai Tahu), 10.3, 4

Under 18 Girls Division Final

Brie Bennett (Ngati Hine), 9.83, 1, Natasha Gouldsbury (Te Atiawa), 6.76, 2, Jaya Reardon (Ngai Tahu), 5.93, 3, Sky Gundry (Te Rarawa), 0, 4

Under 16 Boys Semifinals
Heat 1
Reuben Lyons (Ngai Tahu), 11.5, 1, Jack McKenzie (Ngai Tahu), 7.4, 2, Hunter Cooney (Nga Puhi), 5.87, 3, Will Hardie (Ngati Porou), 1.33, 4
Heat 2

Jayden Willoughby (Nga Puhi), 10.9, 1, Navryn Malone (Mahaki), 9.87, 2, Kora Cooper (Ngai Tai), 9.77, 3, Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Nga Puhi), 6.84, 4

Under 16 Boys Division Final
Navryn Malone (Mahaki), 10.2, 1, Jayden Willoughby (Nga Puhi), 9.7, 2, Jack McKenzie (Ngai Tahu), 6.2, 3, Reuben Lyons (Ngai Tahu), 4.9, 4

Under 14 Boys Semifinals
Heat 1
Ryder Pennington (Taranaki), 16.83, 1, Remy Sale (Ngai Te Rangi), 5.23, 2, Otis Baxter (Tuhoe), 5.07, 3
Heat 2
Will Hardie (Ngati Porou), 11.97, 1, Sonny Lyons (Ngai Tahu), 7.83, 2, Kauai Rahui (Ngati Whatua), 2.07, 3, Hugo Sale (Ngai Te Rangi), 0, 4

Under 14 Boys Final

Ryder Pennington (Te Atiawa), 12.17, 1, Remy Sale (Ngai Te Rangi), 7.53, 2, Sonny Lyons (Ngai Tahu), 5.49, 3, Will Hardie (Ngati Porou), 4.1, 4

Under 14 Girls Division Finals
Indi-Lee Ruddell (Te Atiawa), 9.33, 1, Amanda Gouldsbury (Te Atiawa), 4.46, 2, Poppy Pennington (Taranaki), 3.93, 3, Grace Gundry (Te Rarawa), 0, 4

Over 35 Men’s Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Chris Malone (Mahaki), 9.77, 1, Motu Mataa (Tara), 8.3, 2, Brent Hutchison (Taranaki), 6.44, 3, Dwaine Mataa (Tara), 3.07, 4
Heat 2
Khan Butler (Ngai Te Rangi), 7.5, 1, David Lyons (Nga Puhi), 6.74, 2, Dawson Tamati (Te Atiawa), 6.36, 3, Darren Kiwi (Ngai Te Rangi), 5.23, 4

Over 35 Men’s Division Final

Chris Malone (Mahaki), 14.8, 1, Khan Butler (Mnt), 11.1, 2, Motu Mataa (Tara), 10.3, 3, David Lyons (Nga Puhi), 4.23, 4

Over 45 Men’s Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Mitchell Tamati (Te Atiawa), 10.4, 1, Darren Kiwi (Ngai Te Rangi), 7.47, 2, David Lyons (Nga Puhi), 6.56, 3
Heat 2

Dawson Tamati (Te Atiawa), 6.7, 1, Luke Baxter (Ngati Awa), 6.03, 2, Phill Willoughby (Nga Puhi), 5.7, 3

Over 45 Men’s Division Final

Darren Kiwi (Ngai Te Rangi), 12.4, 1, Dawson Tamati (Te Atiawa), 9.27, 2, Mitchell Tamati (Te Atiawa), 9.2, 3, Luke Baxter (Ngati Awa), 0.93, 4

Longboard Division

James Atutahi (Te Arawa), 9.97, 1, Isaac Johnston (Nga Puhi), 8.2, 2, Daniel Hick (Nga Puhi), 5.44, 3, Jeff Piper (Nga Puhi), 0, 4

Standup Paddleboard Division

Chris Karaitiana (Kahungunu), 9.83, 1, Mike Gundry (Te Rarawa), 7.1, 2, Leslie Bore (Mahaki), 3, 3, Curtis Nu’u (Tuwharetoa), N/S

Amateur Division Final

Chris Karaitiana (Kahungunu), 10.3, 1, Ronny Rolf (Kaitaia), 6.17, 2, Hawk Edwards (Nga Puhi), 2.03, 3, Kupa Mackie (Ngati Wai), 1.37, 4, Daniel Hick (Nga Puhi), 0.5, 5


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