It has been a busy year for AFL in the nation’s capital. AFL New Zealand has been busy delivering the AFL KiwiKick programme to Primary School students in the region. The sport of AFL is thriving and thanks to the support given by Sport Wellington, it will only become more sustainable in years to come.
The Regional Sporting Trust has supported a three-year Kiwisport project that has seen thousands of Wellington children undertake six sessions of fundamental movement skills coaching.
AFL New Zealand’s ‘AFL KiwiKick’ programme focuses on developing fundamental movement and ball skills for boys and girls between 5 to 12 years of age. The programme can include between 6 to 10 sessions and a match programme and takes place schools to ensure the burden of travel is reduced for parents and volunteers. It can be held before, during or after school and runs on a set day each week with session frequency, duration and cost structure designed to suit the needs of each school or centre.
Over the past year, over 3300 children between the ages of five and 12 have experienced the game of AFL through the in-school KiwiKick programme. This has been a fantastic increase commencing from a base of zero in 2012.
Schools who have participated as part of the latest Wellington KiwiSport Project so far are:
- Tawa School
- Fergusson Intermediate
- Holy Cross, Miramar
- Rangikura School
- St Benedict’s School, Khandallah
- Wainuiomata Intermediate
- Corinna School
- Willard School
- Totara Park School
- Belmont School
- Silverstream School
AFL KiwiKick has also been a big hit with students at different sporting festival days around the region including the Sport Wellington Stadium Sports Festival at Westpac Stadium, the Lower Hutt Primary Schools Sports Association (LHPSSA) FUNdamentals Skills Festival and the Hutt City Sports Festival.
The Kiwisport project included the element of AFL KiwiKick Tournament days where the Upper Valley Cluster has produced 14 sides from 10 schools, the Lower Hutt Western zone had 6 sides participate, while the Lower Hutt southern Zone has seen 8 sides from 5 Schools participate in the tournament. The tournament days provide the students who have participated in the programme to display their skills in which they have been taught against other Schools in the region.
In October 2015, the creation of the new exciting Youth competition to compliment the pathway for participants to excel in AFL. Within the AFL New Zealand Youth competition there is a focus on improving athletes’ skills and fitness along with a training, game and development programme that highlights the necessary requirements throughout the pathway. The AFL New Zealand Youth Boys competition includes two major centres in Auckland and Wellington. This is seen as the perfect way to transcend participants from school to club and connection with the local Wellington AFL Senior League and add to a successful year in AFL in Wellington.
Participants from the AFL KiwiKick programme have gone on to become part of the AFL New Zealand High Performance programme with students participating in the 10-week inaugural Youth competition. From there 3 students from Fergusson Intermediate, Hari Below, George Hopkins and Rico Tuhua were picked to represent the Level 1 (U14) Academy NZ Hawks against a touring NSW Independent Schools team in April of 2016.
AFL New Zealand will continue to deliver the AFL KiwiKick programme, as it both delivers on key outcomes specified by Sport New Zealand and KiwiSport, and gives all participants an affinity with the sport of AFL.
Free taster sessions can be arranged for schools to provide both teachers and students with the opportunity to experience the fun and learning provided by AFL KiwiKick.
To arrange your free taster session for your School, please email Wellington regional Coordinator Sam McKenzie, firstname.lastname@example.org