The continued sponsorship of the Tamaki College Junior Rugby Academy by Creating Communities (CCL) evoked a heart-warming speech from Tongan International and Scotland-based Pro14 side, Glasgow Warriors player, Siosiua Halanukonuka, and broad smiles form all the young players.
For the second year in a row CCL have shown their commitment to the local Glen Innes community by doubling down on their sponsorship of this award-winning local rugby team, supplying jackets and kit bags to go with the rugby boots they donated last year.
At an emotional presentation at Tamaki College on Friday 29th June, the honoured guest speaker was ex-pupil, Siosiua Halanukonuka, who now plays Prop for Tonga Rugby and Scotland-based Pro14 side, Glasgow Warriors.
Halanukonuka gave an emotional and inspirational speech about his time at the college, saying how, if you follow your dreams, anything is possible with hard work and dedication. He also gave thanks to the Principal for the support the college had provided when he was a pupil there, before presenting all the boys from both the under 14’s and under 15’s their jackets and kit bags. It was a great chance for the boys to grab a photo op with a star player and hero.
Principal of Tamaki College, Soana Pamaka, went on to give an address to the boys along similar themes, saying, “we may not be the richest of schools, but we have produced a number of top All Blacks and international players, and we could all be very proud of the achievements of the school.”
As the gathering drew to a close, the team’s head coach, Osaiasi Kupu, was thanked for all the hard work he has put into the teams, and for arranging the sponsorship with CCL. The event ended with a gift presentation of Rugby Academy team sweatshirts to Nigel Boland (Tāmaki Regeneration Company), guest speaker, Siosiua Halanukonuka, and CCL Director, Murdoch Dryden.
After the presentation, Kupu recounted the day he heard back from Dryden with the news about this year’s sponsorship. “It’s fair to say that it made my day,” he said. “I took real delight in being able to share the news with the other coaches and managers. To see their reaction was a moment I will never forget.”
“The students were equally excited; so much so that they were keen to take the samples, even before they had been embroidered with the sponsors logo. One excited young man exclaimed, ‘Shot, sir these are mean. Can’t wait, we are gonna look solid!”
Last, but not least, a big shout out to the team at Canterbury NZ – Stacey Morgan and Colin Gibson –who arranged a great deal on the kit.
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