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Mangatainoka School Students Rub Shoulders With Hurricanes Heroes

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Students from Mangatainoka School got the best end of year outing they could wish for when they were invited to watch the Hurricanes Super 14 rugby team practice in Wellington.

Thirty five students as well as parents, staff and three former pupils who now coach touch rugby at the school traveled by bus to Wellington last Thursday to watch the Hurricanes train at Prince of Wales Park. The one-day trip was organized by the Wellington Rugby Union ahead of January's Super 14 pre-season game between the Hurricanes and the Blues to be held in Mangatainoka in the Northern Wairarapa. Mangatainoka School principal Anne Corkran said her students were thrilled to be invited to watch the Hurricanes practice and be given the opportunity to meet individual players and get their autographs. In addition students were given a sports bags each containing Hurricanes radios, juice, posters and autograph cards. "(The children) were impressed by the attitude of the players and how they talked and did things with them. They were proud of and amazed at the opportunity given to them," she said. "On the way home in the bus you could hear all the Hurricanes radios from in the sports bags being tried out." Hurricanes CEO Greg Peters said the school's visit and next month's pre-season match to be played at Mangatainoka were important elements of the team's community engagement plan. "We work hard to connect with our supporters throughout the Hurricanes region and have a series of regional community visits planned for throughout the season," he explained. "Playing a fixture in Mangatainoka allows us the opportunity to take the game to our supporters in one of the most rural parts of our region. When we heard how excited the students from the school were about the Hurricanes coming to see them in January, we couldn't resist bringing them down to Wellington to watch some of the preparations and wish the guys good luck for the game." The pre-season opener, to be held on January 23rd, is the brainchild of Tui Brewery commercial manager and Wairarapa resident Nick Rogers. He said to date 65 per cent of the available 6500 seated-tickets had been sold and he was confident the rest would sell before kick off, especially because the afternoon game was being billed as a festival of sport with pre match and post match entertainment. Rogers said Tui Brewery was thrilled to be behind the rugby event which would also benefit the wider the community. He said 18 community groups, including Mangatainoka School, had offered their support for the event as well as several local businesses. "Not only will this game be about bringing rugby back to the Heartland and helping players reconnect with provincial fans, but it's also about being part of a wider community," he says. "I mean, how many of those students from Mangatainoka School will now aspire to be future Hurricanes or All Blacks players? Judging from the smiles on their faces - most of them I'd say." Rogers said tickets to the match could be purchased online at the Tui website (www.tui.co.nz) or at local PGG Wrightson stores.

General admission tickets for the January 23 game cost $25 with kids 10 years and under free. Corporate tickets are also available for $100 which includes a guest speaker at 2pm; reserved stand seating; a gourmet BBQ lunch; two Tui beers (or other refreshments); a Tui cap; Tui Brewery Girl Calendar and Tui beer at the after match. The afternoon match kicks off a series of community summer events at Mangatainoka including the Small Town Big Sounds concert on February 27 which will feature Kiwi bands Evermore, Supergroove, the Beat Girls and Deaf Lemon.

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