The aim of taking these two teams to the tournament is to encourage the boys to remain in sports and focused on achieving goals. This age group, especially u16s, are at a stage where the pressures of ‘life’ sees many boys drop out of rugby – we have noticed that when many young talented rugby players reach their teenage years they no longer play rugby (or other sports) for a variety of reasons – e.g. lack of appropriate age group teams (the Hokianga has limited opportunities for boys to continue to play rugby without having to travel long- distances for trainings and games, this becomes a cost barrier for many families), they no longer see the benefits of sports, and the influence of drug and alcohol use. By supporting the boys to compete at the tournament, we hope to get them to see how sports, goal achievement (e.g. raising the money for them to attend) and experiencing different cultures can open so many opportunities for them that they were not aware of!
About the teams:
The majority of the players are Maori, but we also have some non-Maori players as well. The boys come from the Hokianga and North Harbour (Albany/Mahurangi).Most of the boys are from low/middle income families but this was not one of the criteria used to select them
Their selection was based on:
– previous rugby experience, including sevens rugby (the aim is to take competitive teams to the tournament)
– commitment to team trainings, individual training and competing at the tournament
– have long-term potential to play professional rugby
– positive attitude to rugby, training and team work
– live in either North Harbour or the Hokianga
– be eligible to play u14s or u16s in 2016
– their whanau were willing to assist with getting the teams to the tournament
– players and their whanau had to support the team kaupapa of being drug, alcohol and smoke free.
Sometimes people fail to see the impact events like this offer youth through team bonding, sharing of cultures, commitment and dedication. This project is a huge event for those involved with direct and flow on impacts for the players themselves, and wider implications for families and their communities.
Many of these boys come from families who have never been overseas (let alone have a passport), who have never had an opportunity to play against international teams, who know this is a major financial investment for the family but are willing to commit this resource to their child’s development, and who know this experience allows their boy to grow and develop in ways they would otherwise not have the opportunity to do.
The wider families (whanau) and communities see these achievements, rally around the boys to support them, and gives them the understanding these opportunities are attainable and not just for ‘other people’. The experiences the boys bring back with them will be shared with their communities via presentations, panui/newsletters, marae and school visits, social media and with their own whanau. Through this we hope to encourage other youth to take opportunities like this and understand that through dedication, commitment, and with the support of their whanau and communities anything is possible.
“PROMOTING AND ENCOURAGING ACHIEVEMENT BY MAORI… THROUGH SPORT”
WHAT IS THE FUNDING FOR?
The Trust is supporting two boys youth teams (u14s and U16s) compete at the Victoria BC (Canada) International Youth Rugby Sevens Tournament in July this year.
Funding is required for: travel, accommodation, food, uniforms, team activities, tournament fees, cultural exchange gifts and insurance
HOW WILL THIS BENEFIT THE COMMUNITY
a) Develop leadership and goal setting skills, and a sense of achievement in reaching these goals
b) Develop commitment and focus as individuals and as a team
c) Recognise the benefits of hauora as individuals and whanau (we have a smokefree, drug free and alcohol free kaupapa)
d) Foster cultural awareness and understanding both from a Maori and First Nations perspective
e) Instil a since of pride in themselves as individuals, as team members, and as ambassadors for Aotearoa
f) Promote Maori culture and Aotearoa!