National | Community

Police youth aid worker keeping Te Kūiti rangatahi out of trouble through sports

A youth aid officer in Te Kūiti is making a difference in her community – without the power of the her badge.

Muffy Sheedy collects sports shoes and equipment for tamariki keen to get involved in sports and has even organised a Christmas toy appeal.

Sheedy, of Ngāti Maniapoto descent, got the idea after having to pay for new sports shoes every year for her daughter. She says the response to her calls for donated shoes through the Te Kūiti community Facebook page, has been "awesome" over the past three years, and she has "rehomed" rugby boots through to hockey sticks.

“This year was the biggest year, with over 100 shoes donated and rehomed,” she says.

“Being in a rural community, we don’t have a lot of activities to do. It’s great to see tamariki do join in. It keeps them occupied, out of trouble, and gives them the sense of belonging and achievement in a positive way.”

'Positive interaction

When Sheedy is out and about, she’s quick to help out those who need the correct shoes for their sports code.

“Just seeing the parents happy that they’re [tamariki] in the right shoes, it takes the stress off them not having to worry about it.

“One boy we had a size 14 pair to give to. His feet were so big he kept breaking all of his shoes. That was awesome to go along to his rugby game and see him wear them.”

It also serves as a positive interaction with someone from the police engaging with rangatahi.

“A lot of our rangatahi will wave out to us because they’re so used to that positive interaction instead of negative ones."

Donations can be given into the Te Kūiti Police Station, or go to to the community Facebook page to find out more.