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36 kids from Capetown - the NZ tour of a lifetime

36 kids from Capetown - the NZ tour of a lifetime

On Sunday 36 ten and eleven years old South African coloured and black children arrive in New Zealand for a sports tournament and the trip of a lifetime.

Details attached and below.

Fourteen rugby teams and not a blade of grass in sight - In 1996 when the All Blacks toured South Africa they were greeted at their hotel, 40 minutes northeast of Capetown, with a haka - enthusiastically performed by a group of young boys who had waited more than two hours for their heroes to arrive. Moved by the spectacle, the All Blacks offered the boys an invitation to visit New Zealand one day. The school decided to take up the challenge and a year later 26 little boys arrived in New Zealand for a six week ruby tournament of New Zealand's North Island.

Somerset West School has a roll of 1200 predominantly underprivileged children and boasts fourteen rugby teams. Two hundred plus children think nothing of walking more than two kilometers to the nearest grassed area to practice their chosen sport. Since 1997 two junior New Zealand teams have made reciprocal tours and been hosted by the Somerset West school families and community. It was always a wish that one day the Capetown Squirrels could undertake another New Zealand tour. Now it's happening - after a painstaking fund rising effort led by parents and staff.

Hamiltonians, Cynthia and Bruce Gillespie have helped to coordinate the tour for the group which this time includes a nine girl netball team as well as the 27 strong Squirrels rugby side. To say this is a once in a lifetime experience for these children, they say, would be a gross understatement.

"We've been on the receiving end of the hospitality of these kids, their families and teachers and I have to say they have a lot to teach us," say Bruce and Cynthia.

Life long rugby enthusiast and one time pro-1981 Springbok tour advocate, Bruce needs little convincing of the power of children to advance cultural understanding.

"This is the first generation of black and coloured South Africans not to have lived under the rule of apartheid. Their parents did and they won't forget but their compassion is amazing. It's experiences like this that go a long way to breaking down racial barriers and building cultural understanding, Bruce says. "Lifelong friendships have developed amongst some of the adults and several personal trips taken." SOMERSET WEST METHODIST PRIMARY SCHOOL NZ Tour 2004

Itinerary 27 June - 15 July


27 Sun 1140 Arrive Auckland International flight MH131. Bus to Whangarei. Arrive at Otangarei Marae where Tour Party will be welcomed, followed by allocation and meeting with billets.

28 Mon Leisure day.

29 Tue 0930 Powhiri at Pompallier College 1030 Netball game 1130 10-a-side rugby game v Pompallier U11's 1230 15-a-side rugby game v Pompallier U11's 1400 Refreshments 1600 Billets to collect Tour Party from the College

30 Wed 0830 Depart City Clubrooms by bus for Bay of Islands. 1000 Boat tour of the Bay of Islands 1330 Visit Waitangi Treaty House 1630 Arrive back at City Rugby Club. Collected by billets


01 Thu 10.00 Powhiri at Otangarei Primary School 1030 Refreshments (billets most welcome) 1130 Kapa Haka will perform 1230 Netball game v Otangarei Primary School 1400 Assemble at Old Boys Rugby Club 1500 Rugby games 10 and 15-a-side v Old Boys Club 1630 Billets to collect 02 Fri Leisure Day.

03 Sat Leisure Day.

04 Sun 0830 Depart Whangarei by bus for Auckland. 1200 Arrive Auckland. Stop for lunch at Mission Bay/Orakei domain 1300 Visit Kelly Tarltons Underwater World 1600 Arrive at Accommodation - Hato Petera College, Northcote -Welcome (Powhiri) 1800 Dinner then settle in for the night

05 Mon 0900 Girls to North Harbour Netball courts. Skills/coaching session with Yvonne Willering for both girls and the SA coaches. 0900 Boys to North Harbour stadium for stadium tour/training run 1130 Boys arrive at North Harbour Netball courts to support girls 1200 Netball game v composite age group team. 1300 Return to Hato Petera for lunch. 1430 Depart for Eden Park 1500 Tour of Eden Park 1730 Sky city for dinner and tour of Skytower 2100 Return to Hato Petera

06 Tue 0800 Depart for Tauranga 0930 Comfort /refreshment stop en route 1130 Arrive Tauranga 1200 Tour party, guest, billets will be welcomed (powhiri) onto the Otumoetai College Marae with Otumoetai Intermediate School Kapa Haka group performing. 1400 Allocated to billets. Otumoetai Intermediate van to be used to travel the adults around in Tauranga

07 Wed 1030 Assemble at Aquinas School 1100 Netball game v Aquinas School 1230 10-a-side rugby game v Aquinas School 1330 15-a-side rugby game v Aquinas School 1430 Assemble for refreshments at Aquinas School Hall. Leave school hall with billets

08 Thu 0830 Depart by bus for Rotorua 1000 Tour of Whakarewarewa thermal village 1300 Lunch at lake Rotorua. 1400 Proceed to Agrodome 1430 Agrodome sheep show and farm tour 1630 Return to Tauranga 1800 Collection by billets

09 Fri 1000 All proceed to Otumoetai Intermediate School where Gordon Tietjens (NZ Rugby Sevens Coach) will take boys for an hour coaching/skills session and the girls will also have an hour session with a local netball star, followed by photos. 1200 Lunch. By bus to Mount Manganui Hotpools. 1500 Return to Otumoetai Intermediate School for collection by billets. 10 Sat 0900 Depart by bus for Raglan. Morning tea at Karapiro Dam 1200 Arrive at Raglan, lunch by the seaside 1500 To Poihakena Marae for welcome (powhiri) 1800 Hangi meal and cultural evening. Overnight stay on Marae

11 Sun 1000 10-a-side rugby game v Raglan Junior Boys 1100 15-a-side rugby game v Raglan Junior Boys 1230 Lunch and farewell 1330 Depart by bus for Hamilton 1430 Arrive at Flagstaff Club for greeting and allocation of billets 1600 Leave with billets Evening at leisure

12 Mon 1300 To Waikato Stadium to be hosted by Harlequins Rugby Club, stadium tour and other activities. Hamilton & Raglan teams are also invited to attend 1630 Home with billets

13 Tues 1100 Netball game v Puketaha School 1200 Lunch and then to Waikato Stadium by bus 1400 10 & 15-a-side rugby games v Eastern Suburbs Junior Boys 1600 Refreshments at Flagstaff Club. 1830 Dinner at Flagstaff Club.

14 Wed Depart Flagstaff Club by bus to Waitomo caves 1300 Waitomo caves tour 1600 Return to Flagstaff Club for collection by billets 1830 Evening get together for adults TBC

15 Thu 0900 Depart from Flagstaff Club by bus to Auckland International 1400 Depart for home (SA) Flt MH136

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