Rugby heroes de­liver lunch to school


A group of bare­foot chil­dren are wait­ing for their heroes and talk­ing big.

Den­zel Koro says not only is he the fastest kid in his Porirua school, he’s the best rugby player too.

‘‘See these skinny legs? They can smoke any­one out on the field, they’ll even gas the Hur­ri­canes.’’

Min­utes later, as mem­bers of the Welling­ton Hur­ri­canes team emerge from a car, an awed Den­zel falls si­lent. But only briefly.

Rugby play­ers Brad Shields and Reg­gie Goodes are bom­barded by ques­tions as the 10-year-old es­corts them into Glen­view School.

‘‘What’s hap­pen­ing with Nehe Mil­ner Skud­der?’’ he asked, re­fer­ring to their in­jured team mate.

‘‘Are you go­ing to smash the Storm­ers this week­end?’’

For Den­zel, the visit to his decile-one school is all about rugby but for prin­ci­pal Lynda Knight-de Blois it’s about what the play­ers are de­liv­er­ing. Free lunch.

Ev­ery day, about 15 of Glen­view’s 65 pupils come to school with­out food, she said.

‘‘We teach them there’s no shame in ask­ing for help but there’s prob­a­bly some that don’t say any­thing.’’

Things are hard out there, she said. Par­ents may not have trans­port to get to the su­per­mar­ket and it’s vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to buy healthy food in Can­nons Creek.

‘‘The lunch packs they can buy at the dairy are just sugar and carbs. There’s no su­per­mar­ket here.’’

Knight-de Blois said her school al­ready ben­e­fited from free food pro­grammes but there was al­ways a need for more.

‘‘We have chil­dren who would oth­er­wise go hun­gry.’’

The Hur­ri­canes visit her­alded the launch of an­other pro­gramme to try and ease the bur­den of some Porirua schools.

The on­line, sub­scrip­tion­based, Eat My Lunch scheme de­liv­ered mid­day meals and cor- po­rate cater­ing to work­places and for ev­ery lunch sold do­nates a free lunch to a child who needs it.

Based in Auck­land since 2015, the busi­ness launched in Welling­ton last year, helped by the Hur­ri­canes team.

Founder Lisa King said a fifth Porirua school was al­ready on a wait­ing list.

‘‘It shows there’s clearly a need in the area.’’

Mean­while, Den­zel is still telling his vis­i­tors about his own rugby prow­ess and demon­strat­ing his moves.

‘‘I don’t reckon any of you could catch me on the field.’’

Asked what his favourite lunch is he doesn’t hes­i­tate.

‘‘A salad, an ap­ple and a pie.’’


Hur­ri­canes Rugby play­ers Brad Shields, left, and Reg­gie Goodes with pupils, from left, Den­zel Koro, Chantelle Faraimo and Isiah Leti.

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