The Rangataua O Aotearoa Maori Martial & Cultural Arts Club in Gisborne has recently received a $5,000 grant towards boxing bags and safety gear from NZCT. This has provided a real boost for the club which tries to keep fees as low as possible to encourage participation in the sport.
“A lot of our boxing bags were ripped and broken from years of use,” says club secretary Hadyn Pomana. “The new bags mean all the children can now train on bags and practise their skills.”
Safety gear is vital in keeping the children safe while sparring. However, the club could never afford to buy enough headgear and protective vests for everyone to participate fully. Thanks to the NZCT grant, more children will be able to participate and develop their sparring skills.
Being able to reduce barriers for whānau to participate is a huge win for the club and its 100-strong membership. The club has low fees and members constantly fundraise to help with the cost of running the club and getting junior fighters to tournaments. “The grant will enable our club to provide all of the gear that children need which means we don't have to pass the cost onto parents with higher fees,” says Haydn. “We are very grateful as we had no other way to purchase new gear without NZCT's help.”
Rangataua O Aotearoa and other martial arts clubs often struggle to secure the funding they need. “It can be very difficult as all coaches and administrators run the club voluntarily, so having the time to find funding sources and put in applications can be hard,” says Haydn.
Regardless, club members are very committed to Rangataua O Aotearoa as it provides a place for participants to learn discipline, improve fitness and model good behaviour to others in the community. The club is also unique in that it instructs mainly in Te Reo Māori.
“NZCT has been an amazing contributor to our club,” adds Haydn. “They are always readily available to help with our applications via email and phone when we need it.”