Waterboy organisation aims to grow sports paticipation

By Moana Makapelu Lee
  • Auckland
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A non-profit organisation called The Waterboy aims to help New Zealander's of all backgrounds to seek the benefits of participating in sport. Today they took their message to New Zealand's largest and most iconic marathon.

Over 14,000 runners from across the country came together for the iconic ASB Auckland Marathon. A special occasion for Waterboy's Ocean Stephens and Craig Armstrong who alongside their guide-dog Jay completed their first half-marathon. They hope to prove that all New Zealanders can participate in sports.

Armstrong says, "We'd love if all of our friends and New Zealander's with disabilities to get out there and give this sort of stuff a go. Run a marathon!"

Stephens says, "For me, it's just being able to participate in an able-bodied sport."

They're just two of 22 Waterboy members. An organisation offering support for children and adults of  all backgrounds into sport.   

The Waterboy founder Thomas Nabbs says, "Sport isn't the answer to everything but it is a large chunk of what makes people stronger in my opinion and if people want to do sport, they should be able to and that's the place I want to get the waterboy too."

Working alongside schools, local councils and district health boards, the organisation relies on sponsorship from local businesses to help fund members into their local gyms and sports clubs. A program Nabbs believes is just as much about growing stronger communities, as well as athletes. 

"That's really rewarding as well just being able to see the development and the changes that some of the members have experienced just from being able to play the sport. Making people feel included, teaching them those lessons, giving them that self-esteem and self-purpose that sport does' says Nabbs"

Nabbs hopes to expand The Waterboy nationwide.