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Tai Tokerau kāiako sports programme connects clubs and kura

A group of kāiako from Tai Tokerau are lending their expertise to the development of Tākarokaro, a sport engagement programme that supports ākonga to help get everybody in their community active. 

The setting could not have been more idyllic when kāiako gathered in the Te Rarawa Rugby Club rooms at the southern end of Ninety Mile Beach in Ahipara. 

They came together with representatives from New Zealand Rugby and local club members to workshop how sports might reinvent how they engage with schools 

and kura to support learning across The New Zealand Curriculum, supported by healthy active learning advisors. 

Mike Hester, participation development manager at New Zealand Rugby, says his sport wants to play its part in encouraging New Zealanders to live more active lifestyles, through their vision to place rugby at the heart of every community. 

“We want New Zealanders to have a lifelong love of being active, and rugby can be a part of that. Like many sports, we experience a drop off in participation as people get older, and we would love to be part of the solution to turn this around by encouraging Kiwis to stay active for longer. 

“We see this initiative as a way for rugby to meaningfully contribute to the education space through the value of sport,” he says. 

Meanwhile, Deanna Saxon, a healthy, active learning advisor based in Tai Tokerau, says schools and kura are always looking for ways within their local curriculum, or marau ā-kura, to keep their tamariki active. 

Te Tai Tokerau kāiako and sports reps at the Te Rarawa Rugby Club in Ahipara

“Ultimately, we are aiming for quality experiences. If these experiences engender a sense of the value and connection that physical activity can provide for ākonga in their communities, and can empower them to be kaitiaki in their place, then we will see them flourish as active members of their community.”

Karen Laurie

“A lot of our community life is centred around clubs and kura. Connecting the clubs and kura will give us great opportunities to help tamariki and their whānau learn about the value and benefits of being active. Our workshop in Ahipara focused on how this might be achieved through a service called Tākarokaro,” says Deanna. 

What is Tākarokaro? 

Tākarokaro involves ākonga in researching participation in play, active recreation and sport in their class, community, and New Zealand. 

They answer questions such as: why is participation important, what value do people place on participation, what are the different ways people can be active within communities, how do rates vary across groups, and what is being done to improve participation? 

Ākonga then design, trial and refine activities for their class, with the aim of deciding as a group the activities they will use to help them be active every day, building on examples from various sports. 

They’re then encouraged to think broader than sport, and identify play, recreation, and other physical activity opportunities within the community. 

Next, they investigate the impact of a range of activities on things, such as teamwork, enjoyment, their sense of wellbeing, their desire to be active, heart rates and recovery rates. 

Ākonga select their favourite games and organise a Tākarokaro festival for their class, syndicate, or school. Held one evening at a local sport club, each festival engages whānau in the research and activities, and concludes with kai.

The rugby workshop in Ahipara got kāiako thinking about how sports could reinvent engagement between sports clubs, and schools and kura to support learning and healthy communities.  

Clubs and curriculum 

“Te Rarawa Rugby Cub is a big part of our local community and our school community and to be able to incorporate the sport of rugby within our local 

curriculum to get our students more engaged and more motivated with their learning would just be amazing,” says Petrina Hodgson, who teaches at Ahipara School. 

Sport New Zealand tamariki lead Karen Laurie says it has been great to see the sports and schools working together to co-design the Tākarokaro service offering, putting young people’s wellbeing at the centre of this process. 

“Clubs have real value to offer schools and kura but are not experts in the educational context. Working with schools and kura to design what support or service they provide means they are more likely to together deliver quality experiences in support of local curricula or marau ā-kura. 

“Ultimately, we are aiming for quality experiences. If these experiences engender a sense of the value and connection that physical activity can provide for ākonga in their communities, and can empower them to be kaitiaki in their place, then we will see them flourish as active members of their community,” says Karen. 

Now that the Tākarokaro programme has been framed, the next step is to pilot the various activities and experiences ahead of launching the service nationwide alongside the three Women’s World Cups (the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, the Women’s Rugby World Cup, and the FIFA Women’s World Cup). 

Read more about In Our Backyard projects 

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