A series of exciting initiatives by Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) has seen a number of hoops installed across the North Island’s East Coast – ready for the community to use over the summer holidays and beyond.
The rollout started in early December with the BBNZ Hoops in Schools project heading to Gisborne, where three schools – Te Karaka Area School, Gisborne Boys’ High and Gisborne Girls’ High – received two brand new, fit-for-purpose, Airtime street hoops.
This is the third time Gisborne have helped drive this project locally after Cobham School received two hoops in October 2020 and Elgin School received two in June 2021. Turanga Health, a local iwi health provider, has again been the driving force for this series of installations in partnership with BBNZ.
Basketball New Zealand’s Hoops In Schools Project Lead, Dan Dawick, says this brings the national project total to 70 successful hoop installations – with more to come.
“The beauty of Hoops In Schools is how it is proven to build participation in the community just by the sheer numbers of young people playing before, during and after school,” says Dawick.
“Many of the schools have since formed teams and joined local leagues. And nearly all of the schools have enjoyed the local community coming in on the weekends, using the facilities and taking pride and appreciation in their local schools.
“We have more projects being planned and I know that these announcements will keep coming as more communities see these examples and become motivated to make it happen in their own backyard.”
Luke Bradley, Life Skills Coach from Turanga Health says that the roll out of the Hoops in Schools programme in Gisborne was a great success for the community.
“The three schools were delighted with the hoops and then overwhelmed with the opening – and having a legend like [Tall Black’s head coach] Pero Cameron there was amazing, he was extremely approachable and the kids absolutely loved him,” says Bradley.
“Having the youth and enthusiasm of [Tall Fern] Lauryn Hippolite was also priceless and helped further connect with our wahine athletes, who are often shy. It was a great day for all involved.”
The BBNZ team then moved down the coast to the Hastings region, this time rolling out a stunning new Hoops in Parks initiative in Flaxmere.
The brand-new court on Flaxmere Park, with its top-of-the-line hoops and brilliantly purple synthetic turf, was officially opened with a school skills day on Monday 6 December with students from Flaxmere College, Flaxmere Primary School, Irongate School and Peterhead School put through their paces by Pero Cameron, Lauryn Hippolite, Hawks player and former Tall Black Everard Bartlett, and former Tall Black and New Zealand Breakers player Hayden Allen.
The court is the second Hoops in Parks facility to be installed in Flaxmere, made possible through a partnership between Hastings District Council, Basketball New Zealand, Basketball Hawke’s Bay and Sport Hawke’s Bay, with the Flaxmere Park court supported with funding from Eastern and Central Community Trust. The first was on Ron Giorgi Park III, opened earlier this year. The programme is a trial for a national roll-out of courts, aimed at making basketball facilities more accessible to communities.
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst and Flaxmere councillors Henare O’Keefe and Peleti Oli were at the court to see the action.
“This court is the perfect addition to Flaxmere Park and I know that it will be very well-used by our families from Flaxmere and wider Hastings,” said Mrs Hazlehurst.
“This park was named New Zealand’s Most Active Park 2020, and it really is living up to its title.”
The Council is determined to ensure facilities match the needs of Flaxmere residents.
“The community let us know how popular basketball is in Flaxmere and that they were really short of facilities. By working with our partners, we’ve been able to address that. Flaxmere is growing, and it really is its time to shine.”
Dawick, said the public response to the new facilities in Flaxmere had been fantastic.
“While it is about making basketball more accessible it’s not only that; it’s about helping our kids to improve their well-being by giving them opportunities to be physically active.”
Find out more about our Hoops in Schools initiative at: https://bit.ly/3oRDn3n
Anyone interested in finding out more about our Hoops in Schools or Hoops in Parks initiatives, can contact Dan Dawick on firstname.lastname@example.org