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Departing school coach identifies transport barrier

15 May 2017 08:53 am

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Sports coach Tony Mordaunt is returning to England after eight years of working with children in the Mahurangi area.
A leading local sports coach believes the lack of transportation in the Mahurangi area is the biggest barrier to children’s participation in sport.

Tony Mordaunt is returning to his native England this month after working with schools and clubs throughout Rodney since 2009.

He says the lack of public transport means it is often difficult for children to meet sports commitments, particularly if they have to travel outside the area.

“The more clubs we have based locally, the easier it will be for children to engage in sporting activity,” he says.
If both parents are working it can leave children stranded or dependent on other parents.

“Clubs within walking distance would be ideal.”

Tony, 46, of Snells Beach, has been a coach for 25 years since he started coaching the junior England badminton team. He moved to New Zealand in 2005 to coach badminton at North Harbour before starting work with Badminton Oceania in 2007.

Two years later he took up a role in the Warkworth area aimed at increasing children’s participation in sport and working with physical education teachers.

The Harbour Sport-funded programme saw Tony work with Ahuroa, Kaipara Flats, Leigh, Horizon, Snells Beach, Warkworth and Matakana primary schools.

“My goal has always been to make a difference through sport and I would like to think I have achieved that in my time here,” Tony says.

“The kids in this area are passionate and committed, and the community has really helped me in my work.”
Tony says there is a lot of sporting potential in the children he has worked with, particularly in hockey since the construction of the Warkworth Hockey Turf.

“The whole Warkworth Showgrounds facility is a huge asset to the community.”

This year, Tony began working for the first time with a secondary school, coaching at Mahurangi College. He says that gave him new challenges with a different demographic and staff to work with.

Another big challenge he faced with his job was balancing fun with competition.

“If children find sport fun they will also win,” he says.

He says he is sad to leave NZ, but is returning to the UK for family reasons. He thanks all the schools and volunteers who have made his role possible over the last eight years.

Funding for his role is set to continue and Harbour Sport will advertise for a replacement soon.

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