From 23 October to 1 November 2015 Brazil will host the I World Indigenous Games. Over 2,000 athletes representing indigenous peoples from 30 countries will participate, making the Games a unique gathering of different folks, cultures and skills of their native communities. The event will take place in Palmas, capital of the State of Tocantins in the Legal Amazon, geographic heart of Brazil and South America, near the exotic Jalapão National Park, the river beaches of the Araguaia, and the biggest fluvial island in the world: the Ilha do Bananal – home of the Karajá and Javaé people.
Māori athletes from New Zealand will take part in both the competitive and demonstrative categories in which the 15 modalities of games will be divided. During the launching ceremony of the Games last June, a flax-woven ki (ball) was gifted to Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, drawing wide public attention to New Zealand’s Māori culture. Aotearoa New Zealand is expected to be one of the highlights of the event. Spectators will surely be thrilled to watch the Māori athletic performances in competitions and demonstrations of traditional dance and ki games, such as ki-o-rahi, hakariki and ti-uru. Kiwi athletes will be back in Brazil in 2016 for the Olympic Games in Rio.