Critical Funding Support for Sport and Recreation

Alongside the ‘Pay Half, Play Hard’ initiative, Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti established a Cyclone Recovery fund for the sport, active recreation, and play sectors. This involved the repurposing of existing funds within the organisation, and connecting with other funders who were willing to show their support by making financial contributions. The other funders included Sport NZ, the Department of Internal Affairs, Trust Tairāwhiti, and the Eastern and Central Community Trust. The almost $300,000 in combined funding has been used to provide fast and accessible funding for those most in need of support.

“The willingness of other funders to contribute to the Cyclone Recovery fund for sport, active recreation, and play has been outstanding! They understand how important these activities are for the well-being and recovery of our communities,” said Pishief. “The need for support will always outstrip the funding available, however, we know this funding has been vital in ensuring activities can continue during these difficult times where people are experiencing real hardship.”

Funding distributions covered travel for those who were impacted by road closures, extra accommodation costs, or who were experiencing financial hardship due to income loss; gear due to structural damage or gear that was damaged or contaminated; and activation to get people and communities active, connected, and participating again.

Groups that have received funding so far are:

  • Badminton Eastland
  • BMX Club
  • Comet Swim Club
  • Enterprise Swim Club
  • Farmyard Early Childhood Centre
  • Gisborne Basketball Association
  • Gisborne Bowling Club
  • Gisborne Boys High School
  • Gisborne Gymnastics Club
  • Gisborne Park Golf Club
  • Gisborne Rowing Club
  • Horouta Waka Hoe
  • Lytton High School
  • Makarika School
  • Mareikura Waka Ama
  • Midway Surf Life Saving Club
  • Nga Whanau Whanui Kohanga Reo
  • Ngata Memorial College
  • Ngati Porou East Coast Rugby
  • Ngati Porou Surf Lifesaving Club
  • Pakowhai Te Kohanga Reo
  • Poverty Bay Kayak Club
  • Poverty Bay Bowling Club
  • Riverview Treks and Pinehollow Riding School
  • Ruatoria City Sports Club
  • Tahunga Golf Club
  • Tainui Sea Scouts
  • Tapuwae Rugby Club
  • Te Karaka Area School
  • Te Karaka Pre-School
  • Te Kohanga Reo o Marotiri
  • Te Kohanga Reo o Pakowhai
  • Te Kohanga Reo o Te Whānau o Hinetapora
  • Te Kohanga Reo o Waitakaro
  • Te Kura o Māngātuna
  • Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Uri a Maui
  • Te Kura o Manutuke
  • Te Kura o Te Muriwai
  • Te Puna Reo o Te Waiu
  • Te Waitakaro Kohanga Reo
  • Tolaga Bay Area School
  • Turanga Tangata Rite
  • Turanga Touch
  • Uawa Sports Club
  • Waiapu Rugby Club
  • Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club
  • Waikohu Netball
  • Waikohu Rugby Club
  • Waima Rugby Club
  • YMP Waka Ama
  • Some grants have also been made to support individual whānau to keep active from those communities most affected by the Cyclone.

Pay Half, Play Hard

‘Pay Half, Play Hard’ this season with the new initiative launched by Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti and the New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) to ensure players can save money while keeping active and connected.

“Te Tairāwhiti has been hit hard by the cyclone, not only with regards to the loss of homes, critical infrastructure, and employment, but also in terms of mental and emotional wellbeing,” said Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Chief Executive Stefan Pishief.

“Sport provides an opportunity for connection, purpose, and caring for tinana and wairua through being active. We know that in economically challenging times participation in sport drops as people are forced to make tough choices, yet sport has a critical role in restoring wellbeing and helping people and communities with their recovery. If ever we needed to focus on physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, it is now.”

NZCT has awarded a major grant of $250,000 to Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti for cyclone relief to ensure the continuance of sport within Te Tairāwhiti. This funding will allow high-participation winter codes to offer half price player fees for 2023 which will reduce the financial burden on families and remove a huge barrier to people participating.
“This grant from NZCT is critical,” said Pishief.

Ben Hodges NZCT’s National Grants Manger said “NZCT is delighted that through our partnerships with Bar 59 and Bollywood Stars we have been able to invest in this initiative to reactivate whānau across the Gisborne district.”

“We are passionate about the power of sport to lift the wellbeing of the community and to bind us together. We encourage sporting families from across the region to take advantage of this fabulous programme.”

In addition to this NZCT funding, some national sporting codes have provided financial support to also assist, including New Zealand Rugby – with a significant contribution also made from the other Heartland unions, New Zealand Football, Central Football, Netball New Zealand, and Basketball New Zealand.
Winter codes with high participation numbers, particularly with large numbers of tamariki and rangatahi will receive the funding support. Gisborne Basketball Association is one of the clubs that will be receiving funding toward reducing their players fees.

“Our whānau are currently struggling mentally and emotionally from the deleterious effects of the recent devastating cyclone on their wellbeing. This grant from NZCT will encourage more of them to get both their bodies and minds moving and reconnect with each other,” said Gisborne Basketball Association Chairperson Kylie Turuwhenua-Tapsell.

Poverty Bay Rugby Football Union and Ngati Porou East Coast Rugby participants will also receive the saving this year. “Everyone in our region has been impacted by the cyclone, some more than others. The social and financial impact has been huge. Many members of our rugby community work in industries that have been decimated by the cyclone. Taking away the barrier of cost and making participation in rugby more affordable for them will help our community get some sense of normality back into their lives and start the long road to recovery,” said Poverty Bay Rugby Football Union Chief Executive Ray Noble.

Although the funding is significant it wasn’t possible to cover all sporting codes, so Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti is considering other support mechanisms for year-round codes and the summer sports. However, the impact of ‘Pay Half, Play Hard’ should be far-reaching given the numbers involved in the selected codes. There are many families who have multiple kids who play sport, and many kids play multiple sports. This initiative will help with significant savings during a time of financial hardship.

Up to $50,000 of the grant will also go towards supporting the additional travel costs being experienced by codes and clubs given the damage to key roads or training facilities.


2023 Autumn Holiday Programme

Gisborne Tennis Club

8-12 years

9am – 12pm

Week 1: Tuesday 11 April – Thursday 13 April

Week 2: Tuesday 18 April – Thursday 20 April

Cost: $30 per child for one day, $50 two days, $70 three days

Register with [email protected]


YMCA Oscar Programme

5-13 years

9am – 3.45pm

Tuesday 11 April – Friday 21 April

From $45

Register on


Central Football Tairawhiti

Girls only fun day – Friday 14 April, 9am – 3pm, 6-14 years girls, $35

Street football day – Thursday 20 April, 9am – 3pm, 6-12 years boys and girls, $35

3 day holiday programme – Tuesday 11 – Thursday 13 April, 9am – 3pm, 6-12 years boys and girls, $80

3 day futsal holiday programme – Monday 17 – Wednesday 19 April, 9am – 3pm, 6-12 years boys and girls, $80

Register via MyComet or [email protected]


Gisborne Netball Centre

Year 5 and 6 holiday programme

Wednesday 12, Thursday 13 and Friday 14 April

10am – 2pm

$20 per day

Year 3 and 4 holiday programme

Monday 17 April

10am – 2pm

$20 per day

For either programme, register online


Gisborne Gymnastics Club

Week One

Tuesday 11 April – Thursday 13 April: Open Holiday Fun, 9am –12pm, $25 per child

Friday 14 April: Open Preschool Gym, 9.30am – 11am, $10 per child

Tuesday 11 April and Thursday 13 April: Parkour Class, 4 – 5pm, $20 per child

Week Two

Monday 17 April – Thursday 20 April: Open Holiday Fun, 9am – 12pm, $25 per child

Friday 21 April: Open Preschool Gym, 9.30am – 11am, $10 per child

Tuesday 18 April and Thursday 20 April: Parkour, 4 –5pm, $20 per child

To register, visit

NPEC Whakataetae Eke Ngaru Kura Tuatahi 2023 

The first ever surfing competition in Ngati Porou for primary schools was more than just catching waves, it was about connecting whānau to Taiao and the Moana through the shared experience of surfing. 

Ninety tamariki from nine schools took part, as far as Mangatuna in Uawa and all the way from Te Kura Mana Māori o Maraenui in the Opotiki district, two hours away from Wharekahika where the event took place. 

“My wairua is overflowing, I can’t even put it in words” said Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Manawakura Advisor Shyla-Drew Taiapa.  

“What I took away from this day was oranga Taiao, oranga whānau – healthy environment, healthy family, our whānau reconnecting with the Taiao and remembering how our Taiao can sustain us holistically. The impact that this resource (surfboard container) has provided for our whānau here in Wharekahika and other surrounding communities all along the coast from Ruatoria to Maraenui is huge. Toddlers, teenagers, to 65 year old pākeke utilise the gear. I have loved seeing whanau especially the dads out there day in and day out practicing with their whānau.” 

A container, of 20 surfboards and 60 wetsuits, is located at Wharekahika beach as part of an initiative by the Gisborne Boardriders Club to be able to provide surfing opportunities for communities that otherwise would have barriers to participate due to access. There are two other surfboard containers located in Tokomaru Bay and Waipiro Bay that were funded by Trust Tairāwhiti.  

“We are incredibly proud to see our vision coming to life, tamariki and whānau connecting with the Moana and each other sharing the stoke.” said Gisborne Boardriders Club Surfing Development Manager Flo Bub. 

“This wouldn’t be possible without the local champions such as Shyla-Drew Taiapa from Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti. We are here to help them on their journey running surfing programs and initiatives by themselves. We have learned that there’s lots more appetite from communities around the cape and we are looking forward to duplicating what we have done the last few years up the coast. Share the stoke.” 

Each school entered a team, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Mangatuna, Makarika School, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Waiu, Ngata Memorial College School, Pae o Te Riri, Te Waha o Rerekohu Area School, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kawakawa Mai Tawhiti, and Te Kura o Potaka, Te Kura Mana Māori o Maraenui, with some schools entering two. 

Each team was made up of five participants. Each team had twenty minutes for all participants to catch a maximum of two waves. Teams were scored on their time – teams received extra points for finishing early, stance, pop up on the board, how long they rode the wave and their ‘stoke’ (how stoked they were). 

Future plans are already in place to expand this kaupapa by hosting the first NPEC secondary school surf competition as well as a Te Aho Matua Eke Ngaru competition where the event will be held completely in Te Reo Maori.  Surfing competitions along the coast provide more opportunities for whakawhānaungātanga as well as being physically active within the natural environment.  

The Grand final placings were, TKKM o Kawakawa Mai Tawhiti (first), TKMM o Maraenui (second), and TKKM o Kawakawa Mai Tawhiti (third). In the Pool B finals, Potaka blue (first), Rerekohu black (second) and Te Waiu – Waiu (third). 

Cyclone Relief Sport and Active Recreation Funding Available

We have been talking with groups from our sport and recreation sector to understand the extent of the damage and disruption from our region’s extreme weather events. To provide support, we have secured funding that can support some of your most urgent needs.

We have a very simplified process that starts with a conversation with you. No application forms to fill out. We’ll just need to know what costs you’re facing in the here and now, like transportation or equipment costs, or costs related to displaced training, etc.

Please reach out to our team to start the conversation as soon as you can. You can email sara[email protected] or any team member who you already know.

This first lot of funding is available to registered groups or entities that engage young people in sport, active recreation and play and are facing costs now. We’re looking at securing other funding for the medium and long term and for sport and physical activity groups who don’t fit this funding. We want to hear from you, to make sure any future funding is fit for purpose

Post-Cyclone Event to Provide Connection

In these challenging times, examples of the community’s desire to reach out, support one another, and to connect have been unmistakable. It is this spirit of connection that will permeate this year’s Well Wāhine Week.  

Between 8 – 19 March, providers will deliver free sessions for women, girls, and gender diverse people to come together and prioritise their wellbeing. Around 50 activities span the calendar, ranging from seminars about nutrition and women’s health, to physical activities like tramping, yoga, and rugby. The sessions welcome newcomers to safe, inclusive, and fun environments.  

“One of the providers I spoke to mentioned how the communications disruptions we faced after the Cyclone created an acute desire for people to see their friends face to face, particularly by their older players,” said Sarah Pocock, Active Communities Advisor at Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti. “We hope that this year’s calendar of events will allow members of our community to carve out even an hour for themselves.”  

“We are looking for ways to support our hardest-hit communities with bespoke Well Wāhine events when the time is right,” said Ms Pocock. “We are in contact with community members so that they can drive the timelines for this. If there are providers keen to add support to future rural and Coast events when they happen, contact us as Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti.” 

Cost can be a significant barrier when it comes to participation. To overcome that, Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti will ensure that all activities during the 12 days are free. Bring a mate or attend alone, these sessions are for everyone.  

“Some events will have limited numbers and will require registration, and some will require more time to lock in their location,” said Helayna Ruifrok, Active Communities Advisor at Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti. “We recommend people check with the website for the most up-to-date event information.” Providers who have an activity that they’d like to add to the event should reach out to the team via the Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti website. 

To learn more about the kaupapa, view the full calendar of events and to register, click here.  

Check out the calendar, grab your whānau and try it, love it, be it!