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Up Education

Former New Zealand athletes get behind South Auckland schools

09 Nov 2023

Several former All Blacks, World and Olympic Champions donated their time and inspiring words to a series of NZMA-sponsored dinners aimed at raising much-needed funds for schools in South Auckland.

UP Education provider, NZMA, collaborated closely with non-profit organisation, Waddell, to orchestrate the fundraising dinners, with former New Zealand athletes and local heroes stepping up to help break down barriers for local youth.

Part of the NZMA School Sponsorship Programme, the recent fundraising efforts strive to make participation in sporting and extracurricular activities more accessible for South Auckland’s youth. Distinguished New Zealand Olympians, including Valerie Adams, Rob Waddell, and All Blacks John Afoa, Pita Aliatini, and Kiwi Fern Atawhai Tupaea, joined the events as guest speakers, contributing to increased ticket sales.

By leveraging the influence and inspiration these athletes bring, the fundraising events successfully raised over $31,000 for four South Auckland schools: Manurewa High School, Ōtāhuhu College, Papakura High School, and Alfriston College.

Aligned with the core objectives of the NZMA and Waddell initiative, the athletes’ words of wisdom served as a source of inspiration for youth and Pacific students based in South Auckland — which make up a significant part of NZMA’s student base.

In addition, the athletes’ involvement has played a pivotal role in creating awareness and inspiring local students to utilise sports as a means of developing leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills in all aspects of their lives.

During one notable event, Olympic shotput champion Valerie Adams, encouraged students to find their passion, set goals, and be prepared to work hard for it. The proud Tongan athlete emphasized the importance of “being true to who you are” and to never forget one’s roots.

Neil Watson, Principal of Ōtāhuhu College, expressed gratitude for the sponsorship, highlighting its transformative impact on their ability to participate in sports tournaments. Similar to how NZMA opens education and career pathways for their students, their sponsorship has also unlocked opportunities for their students in sports on a national and global scale.

Beyond the recent fundraising events, NZMA has also extended its support to four other South Auckland schools: Southern Cross Campus, James Cook High School, Aorere College, and Papatoetoe High School.