Regional | Rugby league

Warriors Foundation tour arrives in Te Taitokerau

Ruben Wiki signs autograph for Kaikohe West School students

The Warriors Community Foundation is in Northland today as it continues its road trip to small communities around the motu.

In collaboration with the New Zealand Rugby League, Rugby League Northland, and Sport Northland, the tour encompasses visits to Ahipara, Kaitaia, Kaikohe, and Whangārei.

“We did some tackling practice, ball skills, a bit of awareness and just a bit of fun,” says Kiwis legend and Warriors Foundation ambassador Ruben Wiki, who took students at Kaikohe West School through some drills on Friday morning.

Community programmes coordinator Charlotte Scanlan says there is a special emphasis on the foundation’s Tupu Māia programme, which focuses on the health and well-being of girls in years seven and eight.

“There are a lot of opportunities for our boys and they are more inclined to go into those sporting situations. Our girls aren’t as inclined and they can be quite intimidating spaces.

“So I wanted to make sure there was a place just for them, a programme led by strong women that can create role models and just encompass the values of rugby league.”

The programme’s introduction is timely considering the recent announcement that the women’s rugby league team is making a highly anticipated return to the NRLW.

“We’ve been wanting to put in a team for years and we have been working on it in the background. And I know it’s been hard for our communities not seeing us out there on that stage,” she says.

“My daughter plays for the Canberra Raiders in the NRLW,” Wiki says

“So it’s a great platform for women in rugby league to get amongst it and with the new teams coming in next year with the Bulldogs and the Warriors, there are going to be some spaces open for some young wāhine.