The whistle has blown the start to another season of winter sport in Wairarapa, and once again the Trust House Foundation is proving to be a major player.
Already this year Trust House has approved nearly $200,000 in grants for the four main winter codes – hockey, netball, rugby and football. Development is the common thread for each of the code’s use of the money.
Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union chief executive Tony Hargood says his organisation is seeing “real benefits” from the way they are using Trust House’s funding, which this year is $50,000.
WBRU divide the grant over three initiatives with the junior and “rippa” programme getting the lion’s share of the spoils. The aim is to get primary and intermediate age kids engaged in rugby as early as possible, Hargood says.
Such is the growth of rippa rugby, schools are now putting it into their calendars as part of their sports curriculum. This is feeding through to the next tier with youngsters, who perhaps weren’t interested in playing rugby, now coming onboard as a result of their positive experiences playing rippa, Hargood says.
Player registrations in midweek and Saturday rugby across all schools now exceeds 2,300, well ahead of where is was just a few years ago, he says.
The other two initiatives are referee recruitment at college level, and also health and safety and overall well-being which is part of a nationwide strategy.
As the region’s flagship football club, Wairarapa United chairperson Gill Flower says they also put a lot of emphasis on development. Their $40,000 grant enables the club to roll out its ‘football in the communities programme’ in schools and clubs across the region which is teaching kids not only football specific skills but teamwork skills as well.
Flower says the club has a genuine aim of wanting to provide a pathway for local players to become good enough to progress to a higher level, but without having to leave the district to do so.
“We are starting to see some real benefits from what we are doing with plenty of boys and girls coming through the ranks and playing their way into higher teams,” she says.
Hockey is benefiting from two tranches – $17,500 for the association to assist with the work of the regional development officer; and a further $15,000 for the Dalefield Hockey club to help towards high performance players to continue to play hockey in the 2019 season.
A trailblazer of local sport, Wairarapa Hockey has been setting the benchmark for more than 20 years, firstly with the development of the hockey complex at Clareville, and in more recent years, innovations in competition formats.
Wairarapa Hockey executive officer Kelly Govan says a new initiative last year to play more junior school competition midweek has seen a jump in playing numbers. Boys in particular have spiked with many of them participating in multiple sports throughout the week, Govan says.
“Trust House have supported hockey for a number of years and without them hockey in Wairarapa would not be in the position where it is now,” Govan says.
The Wairarapa Trust House Netball Centre in Masterton is also getting an injection of money with a grant of $55,000. Owned and governed by the Bring it to Colombo Trust, the majority of the money will go towards installing two multi-use indoor sports nets under the big roof at the Colombo Road facility.
Bring it to Colombo Trust chairperson Luther Toloa says the whole ethos behind the redevelopment of the Colombo Road netball courts was to create a community facility for multi-purpose use.
“Netball will always have the first call, as it is their facility. But a facility that size must always look to find ways of catering for different users as well,” Toloa says.
With the retractable nets becoming available, baseball, cricket, football and tennis are all potential users, he says, with line makings for the various sports also being painted.
In addition to the four codes receiving grants, the Wairarapa College Sports Foundation has been awarded a grant of $20,000.