More than 20 basketball hoops have been donated to schools in South Auckland in a move to increase participation in the sport. Today Basketball New Zealand officially opened the first of these hoops, at Hōmai School in Manurewa.
Tall Black Tom Abercrombie was there to help the students welcome in the new addition to their playground.
Hōmai school haven't had a basketball hoop for many years, the students having to use netball hoops to mimic Māori NBA star Steven Adams.
Acting Principal Bathsheba Tofilau is thrilled that the students now have genuine basketball hoops as well as netball hoops.
"The kids are been really enthusiastic and really engaged with the hoops and the basketballs".
Student Phillip Taufa says he felt good telling his friends they can now play basketball at school.
"We were getting really bored playing it cause there's no board at the back," he says.
In total, 24 hoops will be put up in 12 schools in Manurewa, Ōtara and Māngere.
Basketball New Zealand- under their Kiwi Hoops banner- and Auckland Basketball Services approached the Lion Foundation for funding for their 'Hoops in Schools' program.
Marcus Reynolds of the Lion Foundation says, "The funds we generate here we wanted to return back here," and therefore the decision was a "bit of a no-brainer, really".
BBNZ have said access to facilities is a barrier to participation.
The new hoops in South Auckland schools are an attempt to break down that barrier.
CEO Ian Potter told the students at Hōmai this morning when opening the new hoops, "more basketball hoops, more basketballs, more kids playing basketball - what could be wrong with that?".
Basketball New Zealand is now planning for other areas to adopt the template, and see more Hoops in Schools throughout the country.