All Blacks Connect With Community To Kick Off Festival Of Maori And Pasifika Rugby Matches In South Auckland
Just days after the first All Blacks squad for 2021 was announced, South Seas Healthcare Trust in partnership with the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, will co-host the All Blacks for two days of cultural activities and community engagement in South Auckland tomorrow and Friday, June 24th and 25th.
South Seas Healthcare Trust CEO Lemalu Silao Vaisola Sefo said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the South Auckland community to host the All-Blacks squad, in the buildup to the Pasifika tests but also timely for our community, to connect in with such an iconic team, here in our own backyard. The chance to connect the All Blacks with the South Auckland community through genuine engagement is humbling – it is not an everyday occurrence.”
COVID19 – Acknowledging the backbone of the community response.
The South Auckland community, including families, schools and churches have been hit hard with the after effects of extended lockdowns. In recent months, South Auckland had been at the centre of two community outbreaks. The last fifteen months have seen the essential workers at their best, working hard to bring essential services to the South Auckland community.
“South Seas is part of a network of health and community providers that actioned a South Auckland community response to COVID-19. Our essential workers played a critical role in ensuring we got through the extended lockdowns. To hear and see that the All Blacks want to acknowledge and thank our essential workers and come back to one of many communities that is home to some of the rugby players is such a meaningful act of appreciation.” says Lemalu.
The All Blacks will be hosted at several community locations, where they will be part of events which include an Ava Ceremony, an Umu Cooking Experience, a community organised Health Expo and a vaccination centre and a local church hosted workshop as well as a surprise visit to two local schools.
All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster said the team was really looking forward to connecting with the South Auckland communities.
“A key part of our preparation is basing ourselves in a community outside our regular base. We went to Whakatāne last year and this year we’re heading to south Auckland, which has had a really tough time of late with Covid, and we’re really looking forward to catching up with as many people as we can.