Applications now open for Tairawhiti Rising Legends

OUR region’s most talented young athletes have until the end of November to apply for the 2020 Tairawhiti Rising Legends squad and get on the path to achieving their highest potential.

Tairawhiti Rising Legends (TRL) is an initiative run by Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti to provide athletes with developmental support, mentoring, workshops and a $1000 scholarship. Athletes must be living in the Tairāwhiti region and aged between 14 and 17 to be eligible.

“Our region’s coaches, clubs and families are fantastic at developing promising young athletes and our goal with the TRL programme is to continue preparing them for the high-performance sporting environment outside of the region,” Talent Lead, Carl Newman said.

Since the programme began in 2007, many of the TRL athletes have gone on to become New Zealand and world champions, Commonwealth Games medallists, even Olympians.

The TRL programme draws on expertise from many quarters including the Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti management team, High Performance Sport New Zealand and an advisory group to give athletes the support they need to succeed.

TRL athletes attend individual mentor sessions covering nutrition, mental skills and life planning, as well as group expert-led sessions on public speaking, media and sponsorship, and strength and conditioning.

“These workshops are designed to prepare our young athletes for the challenges of sport at the elite level and help them continue their training programmes when they leave the area.”

“We’re fortunate to have so many rising sports legends in our community and we encourage these athletes to apply for the 2020 squad. Seeing them go on to achieve excellent results on a national and world stage is a very rewarding aspect of the programme,” Mr Newman said.

Applications for the 2020 Tairāwhiti Rising Legends squad close on 22 November 2019. For more information, contact Carl Newman, Talent Lead, at Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti on 868 9943 ext. 719 or click here. 

Taking a stand to improve youth sports

SPORT New Zealand along with five major sports (Cricket, Football, Hockey, Netball and Rugby) has announced they are collectively taking a stand to bring the fun back to sport for our tamariki.  

There is an overemphasis with Primary and Intermediate aged children on winning and early specialisation which is what is turning many of our young people away from playing sport.

Stefan Pishief, Chief Executive of Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti says he fully supports Sport NZ’s announcement. He says, “I think it can be a game-changer for sport in our community.”

“We all have a role to play as parents, caregivers and/or coaches to encourage our young people to experience a variety of sport, rather than concentrating on one too early on.”

“This isn’t about reducing opportunities as talented children will still be able to thrive, but rather this is a movement based on long-term research, best practice and evidence.”

Nic Hendrie, Poverty Bay Cricket Association Operations Manager says the announcement is exactly the sort of initiative they are trying to promote.

Gisborne Netball Centre (GNC) has led the way by ending their year 7 and 8 representative teams in 2018. Kate Faulks, GNC Board Chair says, “We as adults need to be constantly reminded that the number one reason girls and boys play netball in New Zealand is for fun – this includes the top highly skilled players too.”

The Poverty Bay Rugby Football Union has also made a number of changes to its development programmes over the past couple of years, including shortening the junior club rugby season, removing the Under 13 representative team and changing the McDonalds Under 13 tournament to include a skills and coach development module.

Josh Willoughby, Poverty Bay Rugby Football Union Chief Executive says, “We’ve seen an increase in player numbers this year and feedback from our annual survey suggests an improved experience and environment.”

“We need to make sure we’re providing the best possible experience for children in our region. Finding the balance between having fun and winning can be difficult, but by putting the needs of young people first we can make sure they will have fun and develop their skills.”

Mr Pishief says the more young people we get participating in sports means a healthier Tairāwhiti and more young people reaching their full potential as adults.

Happy Volunteer Week!

To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we’re giving a little love to all of the amazing sport volunteers who make sport happen in our region. No matter how big or small of a role you play in volunteering your time, it all counts to teams and individuals having the opportunity to play a sport.

We’ve profiled five incredible volunteers without whom our sport system would be at a great loss.


Amoe & Trish

Amoe Tarsau and Trish Hina

Amoe Tarsau and Trish Hina have volunteered for Women’s Rugby for 6+ years in roles of coaching, administration, fundraising and washing uniforms. These ladies go the extra mile by picking up and dropping off their development team in the morning and afternoon, for gym workouts and speed training. Both are instrumental in organising amazing rugby opportunities for the girls.

The passion and drive they exhibit for their sport is inspiring, and can be seen rubbing off on our young ladies, in their developing their rugby talents.


John Scott

John Scott

John Scott has volunteered in triathlon for 35 odd years, in a number of roles including club chair, manager and most prominently, coach. John dedicates countless hours and energy to the growth of triathlon in Tairawhiti, and the growth of the athletes that drive it.

When we asked his most treasured memory from his time as a volunteer, he was quick to recall the performance of the ‘gizzy kids’ at the 2014 National Triathlon Champs in Gisborne. He said, “the kids approached the event with great spirit and motivation, and turned heads with their strong performances.”

John’s incredibly passionate about helping kids to develop as athletes and people in his coaching. He commented, “there’s so much athletic potential in Tairawhiti, and the opportunity to help these athletes reach their dreams is what motivates me as a coach.”


Walton WalkerWalton Walker

Walton Walker has been volunteering in Softball for an impressive span of 50 years, and in Waka Ama over a decade. His volunteering has been fuelled by his passion for the sports. As a softball player, Walton was a consistent pitcher who even today, rattles some of Gisborne’s best batters.

Walton has served over his time involved with sports, as the Treasuer, secretary and the last 10 years as President of Tairawhiti Softball Association. In his role as a coach, his calm assured demeanor, and knowledge of the game creates a force which players respond to.

When asked what motivates Walton, he responded: “The motivation for me is seeing people, especially youth, having the opportunity to experience things they may not otherwise get to do. With sport, its playing with your mates, enjoying yourself, meeting new people, going to national tournaments, winning or losing, winning a gold, a silver or even getting to the finals, let-a-lone just getting there and participating. If everything out front is going well then everything in the back must be operating well. I might be out the front man for the organisations I belong to but my work is in the back making sure things are ticking along”.

His memories are “all good memories, I don’t regret a moment of anything I have done in my voluntary experiences”.


Julie Hansen

Julie Hansen

Julie Hansen has been involved with the Gisborne Netball Centre since 1993. She has filled a huge number of roles over her years with the Centre which started out with her acting as a Trophy Steward. Other ​​roles have included: Tower duty, Timekeeper, Referee, Coach, Manager, Board member, Official – in fact, Julie has filled so many roles, it would fill a page. ‘Aunty Jules’ is an integral part of the GNC competition coordination. She is great at coordinating the duties on a Saturday and takes pride in the cleanliness of the pavillion and courts. Julie is always approachable and an amazing communicator with members of all of our clubs.

Julie’s motivation for volunteering is: “Netball is my 1st love. I love the game, and I love the people I’ve met. So many wonderful people, many of those I consider my life-long friends”.

A special memory when asked was “1995 was a crazy year. I was a couple of years into my time on the Netball Committee. I coached 4 teams, and also managed the 1995 Gisborne U21 Rep team who went to National Champs in Christchurch, and won their division. It was such a thrill being with the team.”


Sonia Keepa

Sonia Keepa

What motivates Sonia? “In our busy lives for me to be able to give back in a real and meaningful way is something very special. I am motivated to share my knowledge and experiences, to pass on what I have learnt to others to help them be better, more confident and able to fully enjoy the ocean. Being involved with Surf Life Saving, especially at a Junior Development level, is so hugely motivating – to share the joy when a skill is mastered or watch as fear is overcome is simply inspiring. I love interacting and building relationships with members of our community through the connection of teaching our young children essentially life saving skills.

A share memory of Sonia’s: “The moments that stands out the most and gives me great joy, is when that new participant at the beginning of summer who has so much fear of the ocean, doesn’t even want to step on the wet sand, but turns into the child who is the last one out of the sea by the end of the summer”.

Sonia Keepa has played a major part in the successful running of the Wainui Surf Lifesaving Club for 10+ years. This involvement has included many varied positions where she has been on the Committee, Coached Nippers, Beach Education Instructor, Surf Lifeguard, managed various areas of the club such as coordinating coaching programmes, etc, etc. Sonia constantly goes above and beyond her call of duty, and is a dedicated volunteer and member not only locally, but also regionally where she has attended various courses in leadership, and coaching, and sits on the Regional Gisborne Junior Surf Committee.

Sustainability in the current sporting landscape

Many Tairawhiti sports clubs are looking for new and innovative ways to remain sustainable in a climate where funding club assets presents a great challenge. Years ago, these clubs could fund their buildings and equipment through high membership numbers, bar revenue and community events. However today, there’s greater competition from other clubs and sports, and less opportunity for fundraising. To ease the financial burden of maintaining facilities, a number of clubs are now partnering with other sports in shared facilities to remain financially viable.

The Gisborne Harriers Club own and operate a well-equipped club rooms in Innes Street, in the Gisborne industrial subdivision. This facility is underutilised and the club would welcome other sports clubs or community organisations to share the facility and share some of the costs. The clubrooms is some 200 square metres in size, and has kitchen, changing room and shower facilities, as well as tables and chairs. The club is looking for longer term arrangements. If interested please contact Hans van Kregten on 0274474560 or hans@kaha.co.nz

Activators 2017, our biggest and best yet!

This summer, hundreds of Gisborne kids turned out to participate in surfing, skateboarding, scootering, sand-castle building, bomb-competitions, cycling, touch, ultimate frisbee, tug-o-war, pool dodgeball and more, across four epic days of free activities. Our Activators series was a joint-venture with Gisborne District Council, to keep local tamariki bsy and active throughout the school holidays.

The series kicked off with the popular Big Beach Fiesta, a day of beach activities at Waikanae Beach. Sand-castle building was first on the agenda, and teams of kids and whanau raced against the heat and incoming tide to sculpt masterpieces of elephants, octopuses, dragons and toy-story characters, with cash-prizes going to the most intricate of designs. Following this was 2 hours of free surf lessons with iconic Gisborne surf coach, Frank. The day wound down with beach athletics, football and a free BBQ.

The following Saturday saw a crowd of kids and adults flock to the Alfred Cox Skate Park for Actvsk8, a skate and scooter competition. The afternoon featured fast-moving, informal competitions for the young and old, with big prizes courtesy of Kingpin! Whanau were kept entertained by a live DJ, and a BBQ.

Wicked Water Wednesday was our third event of the series, an afternoon of free activities at the Olympic Pool Complex. Kids tug-o-war’ed, bombed, slid and swam the afternoon away, and things were wrapped up with another BBQ. The main event was certainly the bomb competition, in which kids bombed, flipped and dove into the turbulent waters of the pool complex’s diving pool, to crown a junior and open East Coast Bombing Champion.

All good things come to an end, and that end came in the form of our Kaiti Kids Fun Day at Ilminster School. The highlight of the afternoon was kids having the opportunity to take the first ride on Ilminster’s brand new ‘Bikes in Schools’ cycle track and skills area. The new facilities were a big hit, and will be an asset to the school moving forward. After cycling, kids participated in ultimate frisbee, touch and much deserved pool activities, on what was a scorching day.

Thanks to our sponsors Kingpin, The Hits Gisborne, Gisborne District Council and the Gisborne Olympic Pool, and most importantly, thanks to everyone that came along!

Activators 2017

Highlight reel from our summer Activators series! What activities would you like to see next year? Thanks to the support of Gisborne District Council, The Hits Gisborne, Kingpin Eastcoast and Gisborne Olympic Pools

Posted by Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti on Monday, January 30, 2017