Māori golf champion Maihi is looking forward to New Zealand Open Challenge

Off the back of his third national title at the 86th New Zealand Māori Golf Championships in Wellington last month, Kyle Maihi of Ngāpuhi earned a spot in the 2024 New Zealand Open.

Having his parents fly down from Auckland to support him during the final round was quite a special moment for Maihi to be able to share his victory with his family.

“It was great to have Mum and Dad here supporting me, and because the final was live-streamed, my family and friends could follow along and watch,” says Maihi. “My phone blew up with messages saying how cool it was to feel like they were there. It was quite an emotional afternoon.”

Maihi admits that playing alongside professionals in an unfamiliar environment had originally been daunting and unnerving, although returning for his second New Zealand Open, Maihi is now excitedly looking forward to being back in action at Millbrook Resort.

“It’s pretty cool coming back for 2024 after playing last year and it’s quite special to not only represent Māori, but also my whakapapa” Says Maihi

“To be that person carries a lot of pressure but I know that I have a lot of support from it and I am proud to be that person. I’ve got the weight of our Māori golfers on my back but I relish having this opportunity again.”

Maihi is grateful for constant support from whānau, friends and coaches over the years, in particular New Zealand Māori Golf and Golf New Zealand.

Between working full time, managing Royal Auckland and Grange Golf Club’s top pennant team, and practicing and competing himself, he’s keeping himself busy and prepared in the leadup to tee off.

Though he doesn’t think of himself as much of a goal-setter he does try to stick by his mantra of “letting the little things take care of the big things.”

“I believe the most important shot in golf is the next one, and as long as I take care of the little things then everything else follows.”

Alongside PJ Campbell, the pair have started the Tamaki Junior Māori initiative to provide opportunities for young Māori golfers.

“Seeing them enjoy golf makes me want to be better and enjoy it too,” he says.

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