New Zealand Rugby League has officially opened a brand new playgroup area at Taniwharau Rugby League Club, the first of its type in the Waikato region.
Parents along with their children gathered at the local club rooms in Huntly to launch the occasion. While the kids enjoyed their new found playgroup area, parents enjoyed a couple's bonding session.
NZRL Community playgroup manager, Marissa Holland says, “The overall feedback is hugely positive, the clubs are loving that they are able to reach out to the wider community and invite new families into their club.”
Community Playgroups' focus is to provide for local community groups comprising children five years and younger.
However, Taniwharau club president and local Te Wharekura O Rakaumangamanga school teacher Harley Te Wherowhero Raihe says, “Although the programme is focused at nursery level, I welcome older siblings to take advantage of this chance to use this as a place for after school homework.”
Parents welcomed the idea and say this is another way to integrate family initiatives into the club.
“This is great for us, for the most part while my partner is training we are left at home. So this is an awesome initiative for kids,” says mother Miria Flavell.
Flavell and partner, Taniwharau premier player Chris Fox live in Auckland but will make the journey home to Huntly for evening training.
Fox says the concept works perfectly for them to help ease the burden of finding a place to accommodate his family while he trains, "It’s all part of the whakawhanaungatanga bring our kids along and having a bit of fun, and bringing our partners as well."
Marissa Holland says they look to extend the programme to other parts of the region including Ngaruawahia, where there is a strong rugby league nursery.
The programme is currently delivered to eight clubs in the Auckland Area. On Monday, the programme was launched at Takahiwai Rugby Club rooms in Northland.