Fuseworks Media

Tūrangi Dambusters on the road with help from Taupo District Council

In Tūrangi, rugby league players are part of an incredible legacy. Founded half a century ago, the Tūrangi Dambusters Rugby League Club boasts four generations of players involved today.

Junior coordinator Nicole Hottinger says the team has become more than just a sports club.

“It’s a really whānau-oriented group. The dads play, the mums get involved, and the kids of course. They’re all heading to the same place to play and everyone has a great time hanging out and watching each other.

“There’s a really cool community spirit, with the amazing, dedicated whānau members who teach the kids.”

However, being part of the team can come at a cost, Nicole says.

“We cover a huge area – as far away as Tokoroa. We’ve gone to play carnivals at so many awesome places. It involves about 1400km of travel in a 10-week period.”

The club successfully applied for a grant from the Sport NZ Rural Travel Fund in 2023. This fund is distributed by Taupō District Council on behalf of Sport New Zealand.

The funding was used to support their whānau traveling to away games.

“We were sharing that money around so that each club member or their whānau had some money to go towards petrol for the season. It’s not a lot, but it makes a difference,” Nicole says.

“We also try to keep our fees low because of that travel.”

The new Te Mataapuna Tūrangitukua Park Community Sports Facility in Tūrangi has also been a boost for the club.

“The new sports facility has made a real difference for us when we’re hosting. We hosted 40 teams in 2023, and the whole town comes out to see us play – we get food stalls in. It’s a really cool atmosphere,” Nicole says.

“We’ve got an open day on 27 January and we’d love to see some new faces. People can follow our Facebook page for more information.”

Applications for the Sport NZ Rural Travel Fund open on 29 January – learn more about applying at www.taupodc.govt.nz/grants.


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