Sport | Hākinakina

Tamai Sports aims to create a healthy generation of children and a healthy community

A Christchurch East-based non-profit organisation is working to improve rates of tamariki participating in sports. Tamai Sports uses Māori and Pasifika values to nurture cultural identity and diversity in their programmes.

Programme director Ben Hamilton says the role he plays is to encourage more kids to play sports and build a healthy foundation which they can carry over later in life.

“Tamariki involved with the programme have generally had no previous exposure or opportunity to be involved in team sports. They are selected by the Tamai Community of Learning based on having the greatest need of the benefits that come from participation,” he says.

Kids in sport are thriving post-Covid 19 but it can cost parents hundreds of dollars for uniforms, equipment and travel. Tamai Sports is looking to remove those barriers, and create a space for all tamariki.

“The programme provides a unique opportunity for us to demonstrate that community leadership but also recognise the wide learning and connection aspects of bringing different communities and whānau together,” Hamilton says.

The organisation was first established in 2018 and South Island funder Rātā Foundation and other significant funders like Te Pūtahitanga have supported Tamai Sports for the past three years. Tamai’s work to strengthen the hauora of tamariki by removing barriers to accessing training or games and designing a programme that is accessible and culturally appropriate, aligns with the Rātā funding focus priority to provide equitable access to participation opportunities in sport and active recreation in communities of need.

“We keep growing. This year we have 78 tamariki participating in the programme. We have a good mix of girls and boys and a big majority of them will be with us for two years. Once they finish the programme we then help create pathways into clubs like Linwood Rugby Club, so they can carry on their sporting journey,” h,e says.