Today Basketball New Zealand, in partnership with Tauranga Basketball, are officially opening the second successful instalment of 24 hoops in 12 primary schools throughout Bay of Plenty.

The first instalment was in 2018, where 24 new street-hoops were installed throughout South Auckland schools. Many of those schools have gone from not playing any basketball, to their pupils loving the game, playing every day, and some even creating their own teams to join local competitions.

Principal of Gate Pā School, Rochelle Jensen, says the new hoops have already created a thriving recreational space for not only their school, but also the community.

“These new hoops have already had a huge positive impact. There are more kids participating and just having a go, they are enjoying it, the unstructured team-work that’s going on is great, I also see kids working on their shooting and dribbling, and the usage of the court has probably increased about 300%.

“Another benefit is the community is showing up. There were some people worried about people outside our school using it, but we decided to assume they’ve positive intentions, and embrace and enjoy the community playing basketball here. Now, when we leave in the afternoons, we say ‘enjoy using our court, you’re welcome to, please look after it and thanks for keeping an eye on our school while we are not here’. So far, we’ve been really delighted with how our tamariki and the community are respecting the facility,” said Principal Jensen.

Principal Jensen said the school operations grant would not cover a sports facility, so this addition funded by the Lion Foundation through the project is a blessing.

“The new hoops have enhanced the physical environment. You can see some things are a bit tired here, but you get these hoops up and it absolutely lifts the pride of the school as well.”

Basketball Chief Executive Iain Potter says the Hoops In Schools project is gaining traction and more regions are expected to roll it out in the likes of Hawkes Bay and the Manawatu.

“People can see this project is affordable, and the investment has an incredible return through happy communities and kids growing, learning and having fun thanks to a love for sport. All that’s needed is the facility for the fun to thrive.

“We hope every region will see how this project is not only helping schools that can’t afford to install sports facilities like this, but that Hoops In Schools is helping create a new community outlet where young primary school kids and their families are joining together through a mutual joy of playing basketball. These young people are getting another chance to learn all the great things that sport teaches like winning and losing, being part of a team, having fun with friends and the reward of just being involved.”

Tauranga Basketball Association General Manager, Mark Rogers, says the schools set to benefit from this project simply could not afford these facilities on their very tight budgets.

“After seeing all the great work done in Auckland, we approached Basketball New Zealand to see if we could have something similar happen here in Tauranga. They had all the resources from the Auckland launch that we could tap into and we could create a funding application that showed how the project would be great in Tauranga. Already you can see the difference – you don’t need a huge and expensive indoor facility to spark the love of the game, instead we can use existing concreate pads that schools already have and install a quality street hoop that will last.”

Iain Potter says a lack of facilities is the toughest barrier to basketball participation and there is high demand for hoops across New Zealand.

“It’s no secret that basketball is still growing. But that growth could be far greater if we had more facilities, referees and coaches. We are doing what we can to train up more coaches and referees, but we really need funders, local councils and regional sports trusts to see the value in having more basketball facilities built. A quality street-hoop set up in schools is an easy and cost-effective win,” says Mr Potter.

There’s long-term proof of the street-court style facility fostering a love of the game and community. Among the schools that received hoops in 2018 was Jean Batten School. Principal Nardi Leonard says the new hoops have sparked “basketball galore” amongst her pupils over the past 18 months.

“From 7:30am every weekday you will find a group of students bouncing a ball around on our courts, and this will continue right through break times and after school. Sometimes you’ll find a few on there an hour after school has finished!

“Basketball has basically gone from zero to top of the pops and this goes for both the boys and the girls. We’ve incorporated the sport into our physical education programme, and it’s been a real hit,” says Principal Leonard.

Jean Batten School now has teams in the inter-school league in Papatoetoe.

If other regional associations or councils wish to find out more about this project in the hope of getting Hoops In Schools up and running in their region, they can talk to Daniel Dawick at Basketball New Zealand.

Tauranga Schools to benefitting from Basketball New Zealand’s Hoops in Schools project:

  • Te Kura Mana Maori o Matahi
  • Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Kura Kokiri
  • Te Puke Primary
  • Arataki Primary School
  • Greerton Vilage School
  • Te Kura o Matapihi
  • Murupara Area School
  • Edgecumbe School
  • Taneatua Primary
  • Gate Pa School
  • Welcome Bay School
  • Woodlands Primary School

South Auckland Schools that benefited from Basketball New Zealand’s Hoops in Schools project (installed May 2018):

  • Homai School
  • Jean Batten School
  • Finlayson Park School
  • Leabank Primary School
  • Roscommon School
  • Randwick Park School
  • Wymondley Road Primary School
  • Rowandale School
  • Manurewa West School
  • Clendon Park School
  • Manurewa South School
  • Weymouth Primary School