New playgroup an extension of NZRL
New Zealand Rugby League tackled the need for a new playgroup in Taranaki - head on.
Tiger Tots is a free, volunteer run playgroup based at the Western Suburbs Tigers Rugby League clubrooms and runs every Monday and Wednesday from 10am – 2pm.
Parents are encouraged to tot along to Tiger Tots with their tiny tots aged 0-5 years; a group to connect with other parents and for children to interact with each other while having fun learning in a nurturing and comfortable environment.
The playgroup is the first of its kind in the region, but it is one of 17 NZRL community playgroups to be established nationwide since 2013 as part of a collaborative initiative between the sporting entity and the Ministry of Education.
‘‘This is an extension of the game. That’s something that I have always liked about rugby league - it’s whanau centred,’’ NZRL President Howie Tamati said.
‘‘There is focus around what I see is the strength of rugby league. Rugby league is a family game. Across the board, everybody, mums, dads, kids, young people, they are all welcome within the rugby league clubrooms so-to-speak,’’ he said.
Morning tea is provided and while it’s not obligatory to attend every week parents are encouraged to do so in order to get activities rolling.
‘‘Every one of our clubs has a similar social setting and it’s the opportunity for the rugby league to form a social group, not just from a sporting perspective,’’ Tamati said.
NZRL covered countless zones and former Kiwi Ferns coach Alan Jackson helped identify the recent prime location to form a playgroup, said NZRL national playgroup manager Marissa Holland.
‘‘It’s a nice safe venue within the community and it’s free and accessible. It’s encouraging interaction between parents and their children and for the club they would hope that the new families that come in will stay on and their children may end up playing league,’’ Holland said.
For Jackson, rugby league is more than just a game.
‘‘This is what it’s all about, it’s about the whanau and all that sort of stuff.
‘‘I think it’s really special and will be a good thing for the community and I can see other clubs in Taranaki getting on board.’’
Gathered around the table at the opening of Tiger Tots are, from L to R: Bubby Te Huia, Alan Jackson, Tui Waru, Patreece Niwa Te Huia, Howie Tamati, and Marissa Holland.