For the first time in history, one extended family has dominated the Aotearoa Māori Tennis Championship, winning all five open titles on offer at the prestigious tournament.
The closely-related Hourigan and Butters clans gave visitors no chance in the open sections in the 2020 version of the classic tournament, this time hosted by their home club, the Wanganui Tennis Club.
It was the first time Whanganui had hosted the Aotearoa Māori Tennis Championship for 93 years.
New Zealand female No1 Paige Hourigan was the first family winner, beating three-time tournament woman’s singles winner and former top four New Zealand tennis player Lucy Barlow, from Waikato, 6/1 6/1.
Teaming up with cousin Paris Butters, they won the final against Jane Wylie and Tania Martin Phillips 6/1 6/1.
Then up stepped Hourigan’s cousin and Paris Butters’ brother, Kyle Butters. In a hard-fought match, he beat Jayden Harrison (Taranaki) 6/2 6/4 in the men’s singles final.
Harrison has been offered three tennis university scholarships to the states and will head off this year.
Kyle Butters has won the Māori tournament men’s singles title seven times.
He then teamed up with his older brother, Sam, in the men’s doubles final to beat a talented pairing from Waikato and Hawke’s Bay, of River Apatu and Phillip Warren 6/1 6/2. This was the Butters brothers’ fourth Māori doubles title.
That just left the mixed doubles title to win.
Kyle Butters teamed up with nervous sister Paris to play Phillip Warren and Pacifica representative and sister Mahinarangi Warren in the final.
The record books will also show Whanganui produced the winners of the youngest and oldest grades played.
John Goldsmith, aged 82, won the over-76 age group national titles in singles and doubles. He won against Dinny Mohi in the singles final 6/5 and with doubles partner Peter Thomas beat Mohi and Richard Collier in a classic encounter, eventually winning 6/5.
Young rising star, 9-year-old Naomi Browne, won the girls 10s title.
Wanganui Tennis Club president David Butters, who is also patriarch of the Butters clan, said the most the family had won previously was three.
“For the first time in Māori tennis history a family dominated and won all five open titles. The most we have won previously was three, so to win all five open titles will go down as a great victory for Whanganui Māori and Whanganui Māori tennis,” Butters said.
“The opening powhiri was very powerful and the cultural night and kapa haka was spine-chilling. I believe that we did Whanganui proud. What a great city we have with tennis facilities that are world class.
“This event was huge for us all and will go down in Māori history as the year Whanganui dominated the opens as well as other age groups,” Butters said.
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