Foundation North lays base for AFL in New Zealand to grow

AFL New Zealand would like to acknowledge and thank Foundation North for their continued support in the development of AFL within New Zealand.


Foundation North have continued to support the growth and development of AFL in New Zealand with a grant of $180,000 over a three year period.

The funding provided by the Trust directly assists the AFL New Zealand employment structure and leads to the leadership and structure required to impact on the initiatives highlighted below.

The impact within Auckland and Northland for the 5 to 18 age group is evident through the success of AFL New Zealand programmes in these regions.


Counties Manukau

In the first half of 2018, AFL New Zealand partnered with CLM Community Sport to deliver the AFL KiwiKick programme to over 4700 Primary and Intermediate students in the Counties Manukau region.

As a result of their involvement in the AFL KiwiKick programme, participants will develop a connection to the sport of AFL and can go on to be lifelong participants in sport through a structured pathway available to all participants.

The project, which commenced in in Term 2 this year has so far been a stunning success, increasing the number of active participants in sport and delivering on key outcomes.

The programme teaches children not only the fundamental movement skills of Kick, Catch, Pass and Bounce but also stability and locomotive movement skills as well. These skills are valuable for a wide variety of sports, and the AFL KiwiKick programme ensures that everyone who participates is confident and competent with those skills. Qualified AFL KiwiKick coaches deliver focused and fun sessions during school hours, with every child receiving four sessions of coaching.

CLM Community Sport were announced by Aktive in August 2017 as a significant delivery partner for The Auckland Approach to Community Sport in Counties Manukau.

Through the assistance of these projects, AFL New Zealand has increased the exposure of the sport to so many more potential players and has been able to launch the AFLNZ Youth Competition for both Boys and Girls aged 12 to 17.

The following Schools are involved in the project and already, 3825 students have been delivered the AFL KiwiKick programme.

  • Redoubt North School
  • Manurewa Intermediate School
  • The Garden School
  • Dawson School
  • Somerville Intermediate School
  • Manurewa East School

The ‘Introduction to AFL’ programme was delivered to over 3000 students at ten Counties Manukau Schools during the project with Mangere, Pakuranga, Howick, Pukekohe, Rosehill, Tuakau, Onewhero, Dilworth Rural, Southern Cross, Alfriston College and High Schools all participating.

Introduction to AFL exposed students to the game to then go on to play in the AFL Cup Secondary Schools Competition.

The AFL Cup 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 manager of the AFL New Zealand Academy Level 1 team.

AFL New Zealand Premiership player and Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate teacher Brad Ingram has also been involved in coaching his junior school at the Counties Manukau regional cluster tournament.

Pukekohe High School continued their good run of success at the tournament as they recently took out the 2018 Junior AFL Cup in November last year.



Through the support of Foundation North, AFL New Zealand delivered AFL KiwiKick to 6825 primary school children across 14 schools (Auckland Intermediate, Avondale Primary, Beach Haven School, Dawson School, Glendowie Primary, Manurewa East School, Manurewa Intermediate, Mount Roskill Intermediate, Redoubt North School, Somerville Intermediate, Stanhope Road School, The Gardens, Victoria Avenue School, Wesley Intermediate) within the Auckland region in the past 12 months.

The programme teaches children not only the fundamental movement skills of Kick, Catch, Pass and Bounce but also stability and locomotive movement skills, with an aim to encourage all participants involved to be Active For Life by following Sport New Zealand’s “Physical Literacy” approach.

Physical literacy is “the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding required by participants that allows them to value and take responsibility for engaging in physical activity and sport for life”.  In conjunction with Sport New Zealand, AFL New Zealand will look to support and promote this concept of physical literacy by actively seeking out ways to align and deliver this philosophy.

AFL KiwiKick continues to teach the fundamental motor skills to Primary Schools in Auckland and Northland.

AFL KiwiKick continues to teach the fundamental motor skills to Primary Schools in Auckland and Northland.

These skills are valuable for a wide variety of sports, and the AFL KiwiKick programme ensures that everyone who participates is confident and competent with those skills. Qualified AFL KiwiKick coaches deliver focused and fun sessions during school hours and afterschool, with every child receiving between 1 – 8 sessions of coaching.

AFL New Zealand will continue with these programmes, as they deliver on key outcomes that encourage children to live healthy lifestyles through sport.

To follow on from the six sessions during school time, the children then have access to an after school programme that takes place within the school grounds directly after school.

With the assistance of Foundation North, AFL KiwiKick has continued to increase exposure of AFL to the New Zealand public. Many participants aged between 5 and 12 that have completed the AFL KiwiKick programmes over the past 8 years have gone on to play in the AFLNZ Youth Competition for both Boys and Girls aged 12 to 17.


North Harbour

Orewa College students delivering the AFL KiwiKick programme to Orewa Primary students.

The ‘Coach the Coaches‘ programme has had a significant impact in Secondary schools and local feeder schools and the wider community.

In Term 3 2018, 25 students from Orewa College took part in the ‘Coach the Coaches‘ programme as part of their NCEA achievement standards.

The ‘Coach the Coaches’ programme takes a look at the fundamentals of AFL and the AFL Kiwikick programme. After 6 – 8 practical structured sessions your students will assist delivery of the AFL Kiwikick programme in local Primary or Intermediate schools in your area.

Coach the Coaches can and has been used for students being assessed for NCEA achievement standards or NZQA Unit Standards.

To gain the achievement standards, the students travelled to local primary schools (Red Beach Primary, Orewa Primary, Orewa North Primary) and were assessed on how they delivered the AFL KiwiKick Programme to Primary school students. This culminated in cluster tournament at Orewa College including the three Primary Schools. The tournament was managed and operated by Orewa College senior students and created positive engagement and links between the College and its feeder Schools.

“It’s exciting for the kids to learn new skills. The Orewa College students have been the number one draw card as their management skills have been so relatable with the kids” Julie Gibson, Red Beach School.

In addition to the Coach the Coaches programme, Introduction to AFL was delivered to seven Secondary Schools in the region (Albany Junior High School, Whangaparaoa College, Mahurangi College, Kingsway Senior School, Northcote College, Orewa College, Silverdale Primary) in the lead up to the Junior AFL Cup Secondary School Tournament.

The success of the delivery saw Albany Junior High School field a strong team as they were crowned champions of the regional North Harbour/Waitakere tournament along with winning the North Island Championships for the first time.



The ‘AFL New Zealand Academy’ was created to provide a pathway for athletes to excel through the pathway of AFL in New Zealand.

The Academy will improve the skills and fitness of athletes, through a training and development programme.

In 2018, nine students from Whangarei Boys High School (Mark Komene-Stowers, Blake Williamson, Bronson Kake, Dylan Hook, Manny Snooks, Shayden Jones-Codlin, Taonga Stanish-Murphy, Troy Fyfe, Xavier Mexted) were selected in the Academy, where two players who showed ability were then included as development players in the AFL New Zealand Premiership.

The AFL New Zealand National Premiership Competition features the best 120 AFL players from around the country. It is seen as the perfect opportunity for a higher level competition providing an extension to the traditional regional league seasons spanning between August to December each year.

AFL New Zealand will provide a number of talented players from the AFL New Zealand Academy the opportunity to participate in the Premiership as development players.

The opportunity will be utilised to further develop and manage the environment for young players and their introduction into senior football.

Northlanders Manny Snooks and Blake Williamson have both made the most of their opportunities within the sport over the past 12 months.

Snooks and Williamson were each presented with a Rising Star Award after producing stellar performances during the season.

The AFL New Zealand Rising Star award is awarded weekly to a standout young player in the 2018 AFL New Zealand Premiership.

Each week the award will be allocated to those who show ability that favours the core components it takes to become an AFL Player. To be eligible to be nominated for the award, a player must be born in 2000 or younger.

The AFL New Zealand Rising Star award for round 2 of the 2018 AFLNZ Premiership has been awarded to Manny Snooks from the AFL New Zealand Academy.

The 16 year old made his debut in the AFL New Zealand Premiership playing as a development player for the Northern Sun’s and fit right in at the top level of footy in New Zealand.

Manny hails from Whangarei and stands at 190cm tall. He rotated between the forward line and the ruck and outshone his opponents with his clear height advantage.

“Manny has come to AFL from a league background and has quickly grasped AFL concepts. He has many quality attributes and I am really excited watching his development. Manny will be an athlete to watch, what ever code he chooses.” AFL New Zealand Youth Development Manager, Mick Coultard.

Northlander Manny Snooks representing New Zealand.

Blake Williamson, took out the Rising Star award in Round 8.

Williamson played as a development player and after a terrific all round performance during round 8, Blake was named best on ground for the Southern Saints.

His background with adventure racing means that he had speed and endurance. With more development through the academy, Blake has the potential to become a big name in the AFL community in New Zealand.

Blake made a name for himself at the 2018 AFLNZ National Combine where he won the YoYo test beating out 30 talented athletes from all over New Zealand.

“Blake played AFL a few years ago and then went to concentrate on his Adventure Racing. Two years later the benefits of his adventure racing certainly show through with his ability to move around the ground and running a whole game out. Blake’s confidence has grown with each opportunity given through the premiership and will be one to watch in Wellington in two weeks’ time. 2019 will see the opportunity for Blake to be drafted into the Premiership, no doubt he will be a highly sought after player.” National Youth Manager, Mick Coultard.

The pair also represented New Zealand for the Academy Level 2 side and travelled to Melbourne as part of the U18 NZ squad who became the first NZ U18 side to beat an Australian side.


AFL New Zealand Youth Competition

Now into its fourth season, the 2018 AFL New Zealand Youth Competition kicked off in October at Unitec in Mt Albert.

AFL New Zealand created the Youth competition in 2015 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.

AFL continues to attract new participants for the very first time with the new junior competitions set to provide a youthful base to feed and grow local competition.

In 2018, three new grades were introduced to accommodate the growing amount of new players to the competition.

  • Under 12 Boys & Girls
  • Under 15 Boys & Girls
  • Over 16 Women grades

Each week, all age groups (Under 12 Boys and Girls, U15 Boys and Girls, U16 Girls, 16 & Over Female and U17 Boys) take part in a development session which lead into a game of AFL.

The Youth competition introduced new grades in 2018.

With the support of Foundation North, AFL New Zealand is looking forward to continuing and expanding these programmes. As a new and dynamic sport in New Zealand, AFL New Zealand is ideally placed to deliver on the outcomes specified by Foundation North.