The three-day annual area schools tournament took place last week and pupils set out to be the best of the best against others in the southern region.

Athletes from six schools — Lawrence, Twizel, the Catlins, Waiau, Roxburgh and Maniototo Area Schools — gathered in Lawrence for fun and games, and to be selected for nationals in their desired sport.

Core sports including netball, basketball, rugby, Ki O Rahi and football were on show.

Other sports and activities including ultimate frisbee and gold panning were also available.

Some pupils billeted in Lawrence homes with accommodating families and some travelled there each day to take part in the events.

Event co-ordinator Carla Murray said the traditional event always had a ‘‘unique’’ twist compared to a classic school tournament.

‘‘Each year wherever the tournament is held we have an opening ceremony to break the ice between the schools,’’ she said.

‘‘Every school is welcomed in and they each do a personalised skit where they poke fun at the other schools and have a good laugh to get everyone comfortable and prepared for when the tournament begins.

‘‘It’s really unique and cool to see how the kids bond through the skits and then through the sports.’’

Lawrence Area School principal John Auld said the tournament helped to make ‘‘friends for life’’ and he was proud of the tournament’s continuance over 30 years.

On it . . . The Catlins Area School footballer Amelia Morrison (16) takes control against her Twizel opposition during a match in their tournament last week.
Line up . . . Different area schools joined together to make rugby teams for the tournament last week.
Breakthrough . . . The Catlins Area School pupil Tafaitoa Tyrell (15) is first to the ball against his Twizel opponents during their football match last week.