Special initiative sees Rotorua students attend NRL games for free
A unique sponsorship programme will give 3,503 lower decile students and their whānau the chance to attend the upcoming NRL Harvey Norman All-Stars: Māori v Indigenous games, at Rotorua International Stadium on 11 February 2023.
The special Kotahi +1 programme, which is a Rotorua Lakes Council initiative, focusses on providing opportunities for tamariki to see their heroes in action and to reinforce that anything is possible. The programme was successfully first trialled for the Māori All Blacks vs Fiji game hosted in Rotorua in 2019.
Twenty five local businesses have sponsored 20 lower decile schools in the Rotorua district to give students the chance to see this unique cultural and sporting event.
Tamariki classes were selected from kura kaupapa, rumaki units within mainstream primary schools and/or from Decile 1 and 2 schools.
The students at Sunset Primary School have been involved in both Kotahi + 1 programmes and principal, Eden Chapman, is grateful for the opportunities given to his tamariki.
“What’s so great about this programme is that the organisers are giving family passes, not just tickets for students. This makes it so much easier for whānau to enjoy an amazing experience together”, Mr Chapman says.
“We are so thankful for our sponsors and Rotorua Lakes Council for all the work and support that goes into this kaupapa.”
Local schools involved are: Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hurungaterangi, Te Wharekura o Ngāti Rongomai, Whangamarino Primary School, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Rotoiti, Lake Rotomā School, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata, Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake o Tāwhiuau, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Koutu, Te Rangihakahaka Centre for Science and Technology, Whakarewarewa School, Aorangi School, Horohoro School, Kaingaroa School, Kaitao Intermediate, Murupara Area School, Ngongotahā Primary School, Ōwhata Primary School, Selwyn Primary School, Sunset Primary School and children from the Big Brothers & Big Sisters programme in Rotorua.
The students and their whānau will be watching history in the making as this is the first time the Indigenous All Stars games have been held in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The exciting clash of cultures between New Zealand Māori and the Australian Indigenous men’s and women’s teams will offer up a full afternoon of three games and a range of entertainment celebrating indigenous culture from both sides of the Pacific.
Red Stag Timber is one of the iwi entities, land trusts and local businesses that have sponsored the schools to bring the tamariki to the game and Tim Rigter, General Manager of Red Stag Timber, says it was important to be involved.
“Youth are our future. By channelling their energy towards positive sporting activities we put them on a path towards successful achievement in all areas of life. Red Stag is an organisation built on hard work and good ideas that build a healthy economic future and we support community efforts that mirror our vision. Red Stag encourages other local businesses to get behind our young people and guide them towards academic and sporting attainment”, Mr Rigter says.
Rotorua Lakes Council Deputy Chief Executive of Community Wellbeing, Anaru Pewhairangi, says it is important to provide these opportunities to tamariki.
“Attending these events that showcase Māori playing on the international stage offers our local youth inspiration and reminds them that they too can strive for greatness.”
“We are very grateful to the local businesses and iwi groups that have sponsored the tamariki and can’t wait to see them soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the games,” Mr Pewhairangi says.
The local iwi entities, land trusts and local businesses that have sponsored schools are: Ngati Whakaue Education Endowment Trust Board, Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust, EY Tahi, Rotoiti 15 Trust, Rotomā No.1 Incorporation, Kahui Legal, Te Rūnanga o Ngati Manawa, Tūhourangi Trust Board, Hepburn Electrical, Aqua Vent Mechanical Services, ElectriServ, Community Leisure Management, Timberlands, Venue Response Security, Deloitte Rotorua, Tompkins Wake, WSP, GHA Chartered Accountants & Management Consultants, Red Stag Timber, Westpac Rotorua, Rotorua Welldrilling Co Ltd, Tonkin+Taylor, i-Park Rotorua, TOA Architects and Natare.
Details about the game can be found here.
Gates open at 1.15pm. Tickets are on sale now at Ticketmaster here.