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Collaboration sees Rotorua rangatahi get rugby tickets
9 July 2019
Collaboration sees Rotorua rangatahi get rugby tickets
​Implementing positive role models and giving tamariki a unique experience is what the Kotahi +1 programme is all about.
More than $35,000 has been donated by iwi, Māori Land Trusts and private businesses to ensure that nearly 3000 Rotorua school children get to go to the upcoming Māori All Blacks game being held at Rotorua International Stadium on July 20.
The Kotahi +1 programme was the brainchild of Rotorua Lakes Council Sport Development Manager Steve Watene, who says it was about making the international rugby game as accessible as possible. 
The tickets have been dished out to students at Kura Kaupapa, Rumaki Units and Decile 1 and 2 schools.
“Rotorua doesn’t often get these international games and we wanted to make this as accessible as possible for our rangatahi.
“Removing the cost barrier mean these kids and whanau will get to experience a top calibre game and the atmosphere and experience of an international rugby match.
“These players are people our rangatahi recognise and look up to, so for the kids to see them in action will be amazing.
Steve raised more than $35,000 from 30 various sponsors to achieve his vision.  “We couldn’t have done this without the support of all of our generous sponsors.”
Sixty-two students at Horohoro School have been given tickets to the game, which Principal Pirihira Brown says was amazing.  “The kids were so amped, they just couldn’t believe there were people out there that were this generous.”
CLM, which runs the Aquatic Centre, was the sponsor for Horohoro School and staff including Kori the mascot delivered the tickets to school before the holidays.
“Kori the penguin gave us the free tickets to Māori All Blacks versus Fiji. It was a surprise, I didn’t know this was going to happen,” says James Hapi from Room Pokaitu.  Pirihira says a lot of the students receiving tickets wouldn’t otherwise be able to go to the game.
“A lot of these players, the Māori All Blacks, these are role models to these kids. They see them and think ‘if you can do it, I can do it too’,” she says.
“Our tamariki are so excited, they could not stop talking about it.”
Sunset Primary School was another recipient of tickets, thanks to engineering consultancy company Tonkin & Taylor, and principal Eden Chapman says the Kotahi +1 programme is a great initiative.  “It’s fantastic that we are able to offer this awesome experience to some of our children and whānau.”
In addition to the Māori All Blacks vs Fiji game on July 20, there is also a week-long festival celebrating all things Pacific.  Ahurei Pasifika is a celebration of events connecting cultures through sport.
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