The second year of the Poiuka Tairawhiti project has come to an end and like year one it was a fantastic success.

The success of the year two delivery was due to a locally led approach. Ray Noble (Regional Development Manager), and Softball Officers Mike Marumuru and Corey Boocock (delivered softball, basketball and rippa rugby to 713 rangatahi from 16 kura across Tairawhiti from Te Kaha to Matawai targeting high deprivation communities and decile 1 schools. Of the 713 participants (6324 participations) 678 identified as Maori.

Collectively Ray, Mike and Corey developed 16 staff members (1 per kura) to coach and umpire softball games so that the capability to run tournaments increased. Over the 6 months of the programme the team coordinated 2 regional tournaments, 4 cluster tournaments whilst delivering every day an in-schools development module for term 3/4 of the school year.

In addition, a funding summit that was attended by 10 kura specifically targeting future funding for the project.

To put the icing on the cake the Poiuka Tairawhiti project won the 2022 Sport NZ Community Impact Award as highlighted in the Sox Nation Insider November edition.

The funding benefit to whanau hapu and iwi was extremely beneficial, as below.
•    Scope. The project covered 3 iwi territories. Turanganui a Kiwa, Ngati Porou, Te Whanau Apanui.
•    The project was for community and designed and run by the community.
•    Project catered for young people aged 5 to 18.
•    Sustainability. Having locals deliver the programme means the knowledge and expertise stays in the community.
•    Gear was provided to the schools to carry on their softball journey once the project finished.
•    Educating the community to source future funding for the project.
•    T Shirts were provided to each school as uniforms that can be used as uniforms in the future. 
•    Delivery. Modules were delivered in Maori at Kura Kaupapa.
•    Poiuka Aotearoa T Shirts were given out as prizes over the 6 month programme.

Key learnings from the Poiuka Tairawhiti project

Having a multi-sport deliverer is beneficial in terms of alternative sports. Te Karaka is an underserviced community so having a broader skill set provided more opportunities as well as attracting a wider range of students through a variety of activity. This also aligned with key messages from Sport NZ's Balance is better programme.

Why kids chose these 3 codes
(from notes taken from student consultation sessions)

•    Always wanted to play but never had the equipment.
•    Bat down is popular in the playground.
•    A few family members compete in local senior competition. Kids exposed to the sport on the side-lines.
•    Both boys and girls can compete at the same level on the same field together. 

•    The most popular sport. Aligns with national trend in the Secondary school space.
•    You can play and practise by yourself.
•    Cheap.
•    Access – there are 3 public outdoor hoops in Te Karaka, 1 in Whatatutu, 1 in Matawai.
•    Youth culture – NBA, clothes and apparel, hip hop, social media movement, esports.

•    Most of the secondary school students had a positive Rugby experience through their clubs up until Under 13. When they got to High School there were not enough numbers to have a team in either the Under 15, Under 18 and girls grades in town.
•    Both Girls and Boys can compete at the same level on the same field together.

After delivering softball along with Rugby/Basketball in a shared service model there are some positive learnings that improved the quality of experience for both deliverer and participant that include:
•    Better ratios – By splitting a class of 30, each deliverer has 15 students for 30 minutes of skill development, then swap over. After the skill development sessions, we play 30 minutes of each code with the whole class, to try and transfer what was taught in skill development sessions into a game.
•    Variety – Keeping things fresh and new helps keep the kids engaged.
•    Opportunity to target specific group eg ability, age, female etc
•    Rural schools feel like they have been let down in the past by deliverers who have been unreliable in the past. They are given low priority because of lower participation numbers and higher the cost (time, travel) compared to town schools

The Locally Led approach has led to Balance is Better outcomes.

The programme has fostered a more positive and constructive relationship between the schools. Instead of competing for students they are now working together to provide quality experiences for their students.


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