Today and tomorrow, 24 new basketball street-hoops are being officially opened at 12 schools in South Auckland, thanks to Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ), Auckland Basketball Services Ltd (ABSL) and the Lion Foundation.
BBNZ Chief Executive, Iain Potter, says a lack of facilities is the toughest barrier to basketball participation. To take on the issue, BBNZ came up with the idea under their Kiwi Hoops brand. The concept is simply to put more fit-for-purpose hoops in primary schools, which was welcomed by potential funders. BBNZ then worked with ABSL to officially approach the Lion Foundation.
“We wanted to create an example where others could see how they can approach potential funders, which could result in more opportunities for Kiwi kids to shoot hoops,” said Potter.
The Lion Foundation’s Head of Partnerships, Marcus Reynolds, says he hopes this project will help spur on other funders to back similar projects in other regions.
“There’s no doubt more Kiwis want to play basketball, so this project answered that call, but it also ticked a number of other boxes for us. These new hoops will also help provide the chance for those young Kiwi kids to learn all the wonderful lessons that sport teaches including teamwork, discipline, goal setting, how to win and lose, and also just to enjoy being active. Helping provide that growth in communities is what the Lion Foundation is all about,” said Reynolds.
Mr Potter says Basketball New Zealand has already produced an Outdoor Facilities Guide and now has a ‘hoops in schools’ framework that has turned the theory into the real thing.
“This project proves that if you don’t have the budget for a huge indoor gym to get started, a nice piece of concrete and a hoop is all that’s needed to foster Kiwi kids’ love of the game. And through this project, I’m betting those schools will be producing future Tall Ferns and Tall Blacks,” said Potter.
At an opening event at Homai School in Manurewa today, acting Principal Bathshedba Tofilau said she was thrilled to see the news hoops put up in the school yard and that they were already proving popular with kids showing up to school with a range or sports balls to play the game.
“Before we got the hoops, we didn’t have any. We tried some old cheap ones, but they were broken and often fell over. Now we have some that are safe and it means that the kids are now playing basketball. I think the thing for these kids is that they can enjoy proper size and sturdy hoops, ones that will be here for a long time.
“We get limited funding. Something like these hoops are extras on top of the priorities, like special needs or staff necessities. This should be a necessity, because it means our kids are engaged in physical fitness before school, during lunchtimes and after school, but the money we have is never enough to cover important things like this. Often schools have to rely on grants for such things, which should be part and parcel of the school environment. These hoops will make a difference to our children and our community,” said Principal Tofilau.
Chief Executive of ABSL, Tracy Atiga, says the mounting popularity of the game is fantastic, but it’s difficult to meet the increased demand for opportunities to play.
“The Manurewa Local Board population – like various other local board regions of Auckland – is growing at such a rapid speed that we are struggling to keep up with the growth. Across Auckland, our schools and community recreation facilities are not adequately catering for the increased popularity and uptake of basketball. Therefore, it is important that collaborative efforts be made to provide solutions to these shortage issues.
“ABSL has an aspirational long term goal that every child can play basketball. However, unfortunately the sport of basketball is incredibly expensive due mainly to the cost to hire indoor facilities and the cost to travel to venues that can accommodate the game. Therefore we are changing the way we deliver basketball in different settings. The Hoops in Schools initiative powered by BBNZ, allows ABSL to modify our sport to work within the spaces we have available to us. We believe we are providing a solutions-based approach that not only supports schools but also reduces the impact on indoor facilities,” said Atiga today.
Mr Potter said the project cost about $7,000 to purchase and install two hoops per school, but believes that can be reduced down to $5,000 in future.
If people would like to receive more information on how to apply for funding and to learn more about the specifications that make the hoops fit-for-purpose, they can register their interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Basketball New Zealand is preparing a ‘how to’ document in the hope others will replicate the ‘hoops in schools’ project.
Schools where the hoops have been installed are:
Jean Batten School, 6 Imrie Avenue, Mangere East.
Homai School, 89 Browns Road, Manurewa.
Leabank Primary School, 7 Dr Pickering Drive, Manurewa.
Roscommon School, 23 Burundi Ave, Manurewa.
Randwick Park School, Riverton Dr, Randwick Park.
Wymondley Road Primary School, 77 Wymondley Rd, Otara.
Rowandale, 73 Rowandale Ave, Manurewa.
Finlayson Park, 85 John Walker Drive, Manurewa.
Manurewa West, 31 McKean Ave, Manurewa.
Clendon Park School, 145 Rowandale Ave, Manurewa.
Manurewa South School, 39 Tawa Cres, Manurewa.
Weymouth Primary School, 23 Evans Rd, Weymouth, Auckland.