AFL New Zealand in partnership with Counties Manukau Sport continues to improve its standing in the South Auckland region. The KiwiSport project currently underway, focuses on providing new opportunities for Secondary School students to play organised sport.
With an increased focus on female participation, the AFL New Zealand pathway for particpants within the project commences with the delivery of a selection of Secondary School programmes including taster sessions, opportunities to compete in school at class and house level and finally school representative opportunities. Outside of school time, opportunities continue with the pathway leading to the Regional Youth Competition that run from October to December each year. Further opportunities exist for participants to be selected in the AFL New Zealand Academy which focuses on improving the skills and fitness of athletes through use of a training and development programme. From the AFL New Zealand Academy, the next step is the selection process for National Representative teams, with the project producing nine students from the Counties Manukau region who have completed the pathway and now represent their country in the sport of AFL.
The Introduction to AFL programme was delivered to over 1000 students at four Counties Manukau Schools during the past twelve months with Mangere, Pakuranga, Howick and Pukekohe High School and Colleges all participating. Howick College Year 10 students will receive Introduction to AFL in Term 3 this year which will lead into the Junior AFL Cup in Term 4. Rosehill College will also join the project in the back half of 2017 with Pakuranga revisiting further sessions of AFL. Rosehill already has a number of participants within the AFL New Zealand Youth Competition.
The competition is the perfect forum to engage with potential volunteers who add to community capability. Parent Matthew Morling, has two sons (Ronan and Argyle) who have represented Rosehill College in the Secondary School AFL Cup. Matthew has progressed through the volunteer ranks to play a role as the school coach and the current manager of the AFL New Zealand Academy Level 1 team.
Earlier on in the year, Howick College competed in a Class Rules competition, with three female students (Archie-Leigh Russell, Ceyan Drollet & Jazmin Stevens-Apaipora) from the College moving on through the pathway representing the New Zealand Kahu Youth Girls in Wellington over the ANZAC weekend.
A huge success in participation was generated through the Junior AFL Cup Secondary Schools competition. In Term 4 2016, the Franklin region ran and competed in their first cluster tournament with new schools Pukekohe High school and Tuakau College also taking part. The success of the tournament was directly driven by the interest shown by Pukekohe High School to host the event. Pukekohe High School Sport Coordinator, Paul Meads, showcased a willingness to have his students involved in a new sport and increased opportunities for activity. Over the senior and junior AFL Cup, Pukekohe introduced 90 students to inter school competition. Chelsea Young was a shining light representing the AFL New Zealand Kahu Youth Girls and the inaugural National Womens combine in Wellington over the ANZAC period.
The Kiwisport project is currently at the halfway point with opportunities for new schools coming on board. If you would like to find out more about how your school can be involved in the project you can contact Mick Coultard, AFLNZ Youth and Female Development Manager on firstname.lastname@example.org or 09 213 3251