‘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.