Even though the Manawatu Gorge was closed and with a ‘weather bomb’ looming, scores of whānau from throughout the region still made it to a Rugby League Community Roots Carnival in Palmerston North last month.
Manawatu league spokesman Mikki Haddon (Ngāti Rangitāne, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Hauiti, Whanganui) says the push is for whānau and tamariki to get involved.
“It’s the whole whānau, on our Friday night kids league we have all the nannies going along, the kaumātua, parents. Last Friday we had a hāngi going down there so yeah we are catering for the whole whānau,” says Mikki.
“We are alcohol free, smoke free and drug free; that’s our kaupapa we are promoting to our kids here every Friday night.”
League legend Ruben Wiki also braved the terrible weather to spend the day with some excited kids and their families. Mikki says the aim was also to encourage parents and caregivers to get involved themselves in sport, whether it is coaching, administration, management or just to tautoko.
“Te Puni Kōkiri staff helped out with registration and administration. It was great to have their support for our whānau.”