Students bridge interschool gap
Three colleges claimed victory in Porirua’s first Battle of the Bridge.
About 2000 spectators watched the event at Porirua Park on November 6, when colleges from Porirua’s east and west competed for the right to fly their school flags on Mungavin Bridge.
Porirua City Council sports development officer Faalogo Talosaga Vaai said the skill level displayed in the rugby league matches was high.
The combined girls’ team from Bishop Viard, Mana and Tawa Colleges led 8-4 at halftime, but were then outplayed and lost 54-8 to the combined Aotea, Porirua and Samuel Marsden Whitby colleges combination.
The boys’ team from Aotea, Porirua and Samuel Marsden Whitby colleges gave a strong performance, leading 18- 10 at halftime, Mr Vaai said. They went on to win 32-18 against Bishop Viard, Mana and Tawa Colleges, contributing to the east schools’ overall win.
‘‘It was good to watch, but above all it was about the relationship- building between schools,’’ Mr Vaai said.
He said he had received some negative feedback about the tournament creating an ‘‘us and them’’ stigma.
‘‘It’s absolute rubbish because a lot of kids who live in the East actually go to the West schools – Mana and Bishop Viard – and vice versa.’’
That stigma was something Mr Vaai hoped to ‘‘get rid of’’ when planning the next Battle of the Bridge.
‘‘ Porirua is not divided. It’s actually a very strong city, so a lot of it is about building and strengthening relationships at a student level, a school level and a community level.’’
He planned to incorporate arts and other sports into future events, including ki o rahi, flag, tag, football, rugby, netball, basketball, hip- hop dancing and theatresports.
‘‘We’re also looking to incorporate other non-traditional sports like waka ama, indoor and outdoor bowls, swimming.’’
Planning has begun on a second Battle of the Bridge event next March.
Flags of victory: Porirua College students Mose Skipworth, left, and Tina Paulo stand next to Aotea College’s Paul Ulberg and Eve Siania, and Samuel Marsden Whitby’s Shania Randall and Matthew Ireland.