Stu­dents bridge in­ter­school gap

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By TALIA CARLISLE

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.

Photo: TALIA CARLISLE

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.

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