Critical Funding Support for Sport and Recreation

Alongside the ‘Pay Half, Play Hard’ initiative, Whiti Ora established a Cyclone Recovery fund for the sport, active recreation, and play sectors. This involved the repurposing of existing funds within the organisation, and connecting with other funders who were willing to show their support by making financial contributions. The other funders included Sport NZ, the Department of Internal Affairs, Trust Tairāwhiti, and the Eastern and Central Community Trust. The almost $300,000 in combined funding has been used to provide fast and accessible funding for those most in need of support.

“The willingness of other funders to contribute to the Cyclone Recovery fund for sport, active recreation, and play has been outstanding! They understand how important these activities are for the well-being and recovery of our communities,” said Pishief. “The need for support will always outstrip the funding available, however, we know this funding has been vital in ensuring activities can continue during these difficult times where people are experiencing real hardship.”

Funding distributions covered travel for those who were impacted by road closures, extra accommodation costs, or who were experiencing financial hardship due to income loss; gear due to structural damage or gear that was damaged or contaminated; and activation to get people and communities active, connected, and participating again.

Groups that have received funding so far are:

  • Badminton Eastland
  • BMX Club
  • Comet Swim Club
  • Enterprise Swim Club
  • Farmyard Early Childhood Centre
  • Gisborne Basketball Association
  • Gisborne Bowling Club
  • Gisborne Boys High School
  • Gisborne Gymnastics Club
  • Gisborne Park Golf Club
  • Gisborne Rowing Club
  • Horouta Waka Hoe
  • Lytton High School
  • Makarika School
  • Mareikura Waka Ama
  • Midway Surf Life Saving Club
  • Nga Whanau Whanui Kohanga Reo
  • Ngata Memorial College
  • Ngati Porou East Coast Rugby
  • Ngati Porou Surf Lifesaving Club
  • Pakowhai Te Kohanga Reo
  • Poverty Bay Kayak Club
  • Poverty Bay Bowling Club
  • Riverview Treks and Pinehollow Riding School
  • Ruatoria City Sports Club
  • Tahunga Golf Club
  • Tainui Sea Scouts
  • Tapuwae Rugby Club
  • Te Karaka Area School
  • Te Karaka Pre-School
  • Te Kohanga Reo o Marotiri
  • Te Kohanga Reo o Pakowhai
  • Te Kohanga Reo o Te Whānau o Hinetapora
  • Te Kohanga Reo o Waitakaro
  • Te Kura o Māngātuna
  • Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Uri a Maui
  • Te Kura o Manutuke
  • Te Kura o Te Muriwai
  • Te Puna Reo o Te Waiu
  • Te Waitakaro Kohanga Reo
  • Tolaga Bay Area School
  • Turanga Tangata Rite
  • Turanga Touch
  • Uawa Sports Club
  • Waiapu Rugby Club
  • Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club
  • Waikohu Netball
  • Waikohu Rugby Club
  • Waima Rugby Club
  • YMP Waka Ama
  • Some grants have also been made to support individual whānau to keep active from those communities most affected by the Cyclone.

Pay Half, Play Hard

‘Pay Half, Play Hard’ this season with the new initiative launched by Whiti Ora and the New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) to ensure players can save money while keeping active and connected.

“Te Tairāwhiti has been hit hard by the cyclone, not only with regards to the loss of homes, critical infrastructure, and employment, but also in terms of mental and emotional wellbeing,” said Whiti Ora Chief Executive Stefan Pishief.

“Sport provides an opportunity for connection, purpose, and caring for tinana and wairua through being active. We know that in economically challenging times participation in sport drops as people are forced to make tough choices, yet sport has a critical role in restoring wellbeing and helping people and communities with their recovery. If ever we needed to focus on physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, it is now.”

NZCT has awarded a major grant of $250,000 to Whiti Ora for cyclone relief to ensure the continuance of sport within Te Tairāwhiti. This funding will allow high-participation winter codes to offer half price player fees for 2023 which will reduce the financial burden on families and remove a huge barrier to people participating.
“This grant from NZCT is critical,” said Pishief.

Ben Hodges NZCT’s National Grants Manger said “NZCT is delighted that through our partnerships with Bar 59 and Bollywood Stars we have been able to invest in this initiative to reactivate whānau across the Gisborne district.”

“We are passionate about the power of sport to lift the wellbeing of the community and to bind us together. We encourage sporting families from across the region to take advantage of this fabulous programme.”

In addition to this NZCT funding, some national sporting codes have provided financial support to also assist, including New Zealand Rugby – with a significant contribution also made from the other Heartland unions, New Zealand Football, Central Football, Netball New Zealand, and Basketball New Zealand.
Winter codes with high participation numbers, particularly with large numbers of tamariki and rangatahi will receive the funding support. Gisborne Basketball Association is one of the clubs that will be receiving funding toward reducing their players fees.

“Our whānau are currently struggling mentally and emotionally from the deleterious effects of the recent devastating cyclone on their wellbeing. This grant from NZCT will encourage more of them to get both their bodies and minds moving and reconnect with each other,” said Gisborne Basketball Association Chairperson Kylie Turuwhenua-Tapsell.

Poverty Bay Rugby Football Union and Ngati Porou East Coast Rugby participants will also receive the saving this year. “Everyone in our region has been impacted by the cyclone, some more than others. The social and financial impact has been huge. Many members of our rugby community work in industries that have been decimated by the cyclone. Taking away the barrier of cost and making participation in rugby more affordable for them will help our community get some sense of normality back into their lives and start the long road to recovery,” said Poverty Bay Rugby Football Union Chief Executive Ray Noble.

Although the funding is significant it wasn’t possible to cover all sporting codes, so Whiti Ora is considering other support mechanisms for year-round codes and the summer sports. However, the impact of ‘Pay Half, Play Hard’ should be far-reaching given the numbers involved in the selected codes. There are many families who have multiple kids who play sport, and many kids play multiple sports. This initiative will help with significant savings during a time of financial hardship.

Up to $50,000 of the grant will also go towards supporting the additional travel costs being experienced by codes and clubs given the damage to key roads or training facilities.