News 300 Primary School Students experience Rugby League for the first time

300 Primary School Students experience Rugby League for the first time

300 Primary School Students experience Rugby League for the first time post thumbnail image

Go to our Facebook page to view all photographs from the event.

Team 10a Team 9a Team 5a10 Primary Schools – 20 teams and over 300 Primary School students participated in the inaugural Muriwhenua Primary Schools Modified Rugby League Competition last week.

The competition was played at Kaitaia College and was organised by the Kaitaia College Year 13, Leadership through League Class.  Gary Shortland’s Year 13 class has been doing the Leadership through League program throughout Term 1. As part of the program they coached both Pompallier and Kaitaia Primary School kids FUNdamental League skills – in total coaching over 450 students.

The end of the program was celebrated with the modified League festival.  The Festival was played in two grades, Years 4 – 6 and Years 7 and 8.  The rules are predominately League rules with some modifications to encourage learning game sense. For example, there must be two passes completed on each play otherwise there is a turnover.  “It’s a great game to teach movement patterns of League and Rugby, the two passes means that players have to learn positioning, having to play the ball and a definite tackle zone, means that the referee can control the tackle but also it means that teams are separated. Tthe game is broken down in stages which will allow young people a real chance to learn Rugby of both codes.”  Alex Smits General Manager of RLN said.

To have 10 primary schools playing league is quite special in a small population base like Kaitaia.  The success of the tournament was on the back of work of new RLN Development Officer Paparangi Pirini who went into many of the schools to deliver coaching.  The schools who attended were, Kaitaia, Pompallier, Oturu, Te Rangi Aniwaniwa, Awanui, Ahipara, Pamapuria, Paparore, Pukemiro and Kaitaia Intermediate.

Pompallier won the Year 4 -6 division and Pukemiro won the Year 7-8 division.  Both teams now qualify for the Northland wide championship in term 4.

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Gary Shortland’s Year 13 PE class demonstrates learned leadership qualities whilst coaching in their local community.

Gary Shortland’s Year 13 PE class demonstrates learned leadership qualities whilst coaching in their local community.


Rugby League Northland has kicked off the year with a roar, coaching over 600 kids in the last couple of weeks via the Leadership through League program.  Development Officers Joe Rau and Paparangi Pirini have been working with Ruawai and Kaitaia College.

In two days, in Kaitaia they have coached just over 400 students, between Pompallier Catholic and Kaitaia Primary schools.   In Ruawai, the College students coached the entire Ruawai Primary School as well as running sessions for their Year 9 and 10s at lunch times.

Alex Smits, Rugby League Northland’s General Manager has been mentoring the Mid-Far North’s new Development Officer Paparangi Pirini, in delivering the programme.  Alex Smits says, “Both he and Paparangi have been very impressed by the maturity and ownership of the Kaitaia College students, and further, have received extremely high praise from Brendon Morrissey, Principal of Kaitaia Primary and Katherine Carey, Principal of Pompallier Catholic School.

Using the Tuakana Teina philosophy of older students coaching younger students.  The Secondary School students themselves learn leadership and role modeling and in turn, teach the fundamental skills of Rugby League to younger students in Years 1 – 8.  The program has been designed to incorporate Fundamental and core League skills coaching.  RLN is also piloting a Story Book Fundamental skills program called Blue and Red that sees Years 1 and 2 relating to the farm yard experiences of “Blue and Red” – working farm dogs.  Blue and Red was designed in Queensland, Australia and reflects the Queensland and NSW Colours.

Not only that, in partnership with Northland DHB’s “Water is the Best Drink” health promotion, they are promoting our tamariki to drink water and not high sugar drinks as the best way to re-hydrate themselves.

Leading on from Coaching in Schools are Northland Regional Festivals.  In 2014 Rugby League Northland has worked with Sport Northland to plan festivals across Northland to give every school an opportunity of giving Rugby League a go.  The festivals are based around fun and participation and in most cases will be run in partnership with a local secondary school, providing Coaches (where required) and Referees, as a part of the Leadership through League Program.

The top two schools from each festival will qualify to enter an end of year Tournament in Term 4 to play for the right to be Northland Champions at Years 4-6 and 7/8.

The first festivals off the Rank are- Dargaville High School -April 10thand Kaitaia College on April 16th .

Click here for more information – Primary Schools Festivals Information

Other dates are:

Term Area Date Venue
One Dargaville April 10th – Thursday Dargaville High
Kaitaia April 16th – Wednesday Kaitaia College
Two Okaihau – Kerikeri June 13th – Friday Okaihau College
Whangarei (WPSSA Festival) June 24th – Tuesday Kensington Park
Bay of Islands TBC Bay of Islands College TBC
Three Kaikohe – Hokianga 29th August – Friday Lindvart Park
Bream Bay 23rd September – Tuesday Bream Bay College
Four Northland Champions Festival 22nd October – Wednesday Years 4-6 Tournament TBC
Northland Champions Festival 29th October – Wednesday Year 7 and 8 Tournament TBC