In a rare move, the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board is funding a sports programme that will be trialled at a local school.
Kelly Group NZ, a limited liability company, raised a few eyebrows when it applied to the local board’s latest grants funding round, for just over $66,000 to deliver a traditional Maori games programme to 29 schools.
The company also applied to 12 other local boards for funding to run the programme in those areas – Kelly Group has 36 franchise zones from the Hibiscus Coast to Dunedin.
The proposal stated that the company’s goal was “for 12,500 children to experience the physical, emotional and spiritual (Hauora) aspects of the Maori culture while learning these game and activities. Five hundred teachers will be encouraged to participate and each school will be left with an activity kit to ensure sustainability”.
Whether or not other local boards are supporting the proposal is not known as yet, but Hibiscus & Bays approved $5000 so that the scheme can be piloted at a local primary school.
Local board chair Julia Parfitt says members are seeking more information from the company before this goes ahead.
She says the board’s support will mean that the cost per child can be reduced. Similar support has been given to the organisers of the Orewa Beach Half Marathon, which is also a commercial entity.
Auckland Council’s Community Grants Policy states that: “Commercial entities can be awarded a grant where the local board has agreed that it clearly and directly benefits the wider community. Profit generated by a grant-funded project may only be retained by the recipient if it is to be reinvested in a social or cultural mission or kept as working capital with a commitment to operate the activity in future”.
Kelly Group national partnerships manager, Daniel Gerrard, says the Maori games programme is already operating successfully in Mt Wellington in partnership with Sport Auckland – a charitable trust.
A former chief executive of Sport Auckland, Mr Gerrard says that the Kelly Group is increasingly looking for support in the form of grants.
“In those charitable environments you have relationships with different funding bodies,” he says. “When it comes to delivering programmes to non-profit organisations, such as schools, we want to leverage funding wherever we can to make it accessible. This is a unique situation, where local boards do allow companies to apply for funding for specific projects. By doing this, it can be free for every child, taking away the user-pays component.”
He says that the programme offers something that would otherwise be missing from many schools, even though Maori language and culture is part of the curriculum.
“While some schools have got a fantastic coordinator, teacher or someone on staff, in many cases this type of thing goes in the too hard basket.”
The six-week programme of traditional Maori Games, to be delivered in school hours, includes a choice of 26 sports and activities for Years 3-13 students. It includes a rippa version of Ki-o-Rahi and other ball games as well as poi, stick, hoop and hand action games.
Mr Gerrard says it is the inclusion of a cultural and heritage aspect that aligns it with local board priorities.
Each session will include an introduction, te reo, skill coaching and the games themselves.
He says schools that have expressed an interest include Orewa, Orewa North, Gulf Harbour School and Silverdale primary schools.
A full list of the grants allocated this round are linked here.