Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced a partnership with New Zealand Rugby League to improve the education, health and wellbeing of thousands of young people and families.
Ms Parata says ‘It’s More Than Just a Game’ brings together NZ Rugby League (NZRL), the Ministry of Education, the Accident Compensation Corporation, the Health Promotion Agency and New Zealand Police.
“NZRL has a strong relationship with 40,000 players, their families and fans across the country, many of them in Maori and Pasifika communities.
“We’ve made great progress in areas such as participation in quality early childhood education and achievement of NCEA Level 2, particularly for Maori and Pasifika, but we know more needs to be done.”
Ms Parata says ‘It’s More Than Just a Game’ recognises people respond far more positively to messages from within their own communities.
“We’ve welcomed NZRL’s powerful influence and their relationships with communities and whānau to get a more educated, healthier, better off and safer New Zealand.
“NZRL will promote access to public services including assisting 300 junior players to achieve NCEA Level 2, and expanding early learning playgroups. It will also support health checks for young children, safe-drinking and smoke-free environments and promote healthy and safe lifestyles through the ‘LeagueWise’ leadership programme and ‘Safe Communities’ initiatives.”
NZRL chief executive Phil Holden says NZRL plays an important part in the health and wellbeing of its people.
“We support our communities on and off the field, whether in early learning, developing future leaders or promoting better choices. We’ve found government partners who understand our challenges, share our values and will help provide solutions,” Mr Holden says.
“This is a fabulous opportunity and I want to thank NZRL and its players for partnering with us to do better for our young people and families,” Ms Parata says.
The Government is contributing funding of $250,000 to ‘It’s More Than Just a Game’.