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Bunnings And Touch NZ Announce 2024 Home Ground Heroes

Bunnings and Touch New Zealand are delighted to announce the deserving winners of Bunnings Home Ground Heroes 2024. The initiative will see the five heroes honoured for their contributions to Touch and they’ll receive $5,000 each to reinvest into their Touch community.

This year’s winners include Steve Hudson (Bay of Plenty), Diana Manu (Kāpiti-Horowhenua), Jemma Taikato (Nelson), Dennis Thompson (Southland) and Lesley Woodhouse (North Harbour). Bunnings Home Ground Heroes acknowledges the unsung heroes of Touch communities throughout Aotearoa – those who are integral to the sport and have helped to foster many New Zealanders’ first experiences with community sport.

This year, Bunnings Home Ground Heroes received 196 nominations, a testament to the number of outstanding volunteers who support the sport across the country.

Touch NZ Chief Executive, Joe Sprangers, said, “The success of our sport is thanks to the incredible volunteers who give so much to our community. We are grateful for their contribution and for Bunnings’ support in helping us celebrate them. To date, the initiative has provided funding for activities like upskilling referees, improving facilities and covering the costs of tournament fees. I’m looking forward to seeing the positive impact $5,000 will have for these Touch communities.”

Bunnings Home Ground Heroes Ambassador, Stacey Waaka, said, “Touch has been a massive part of my life for so many years, so to have the opportunity to celebrate and connect with the people who contribute positively to their communities has been amazing”.

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Bunnings Home Ground Heroes Ambassador, Peter Walters, ONZM, said, “It has been awesome to be part of Bunnings Home Ground Heroes for another year and celebrate our 2024 heroes and thank them for their mahi!”

Bunnings New Zealand General Manager, Melissa Haines, said, “The team at Bunnings have thoroughly enjoyed working alongside Touch New Zealand to find our Bunnings Home Ground Heroes for the season. It’s just a small way we can help to make a meaningful difference in our communities. We look forward to seeing how this year’s winners support their communities.”

The five Bunnings Home Ground Heroes include:

Steve Hudson

Huddy is involved in every facet of the sport from coordinating modules to coaching teams. He has been instrumental in establishing Rotorua's strong community foundation.

Diana Manu

Diana's dedication to her Touch community has taken the province to new heights. Her consistent focus to provide the very best for players, referees, and coaches alike, has been felt by all and her passion for the sport creates an incredible culture for the developing players.

Jemma Taikato

Jemma is the face of Nelson touch and has worked for over a decade to build her Touch community from grassroots through to representative programmes.

Dennis Thompson

Dennis is a legendary coach in Southland's Touch community. He’s passionate and inspires those around him, which has contributed to the growth of Touch in the region. He has also helped to develop the region’s young players to compete at a national level and achieve medal success.

Lesley Woodhouse

Lesley has become the backbone of Touch North Harbour. She runs modules, organises teams, referees and tournaments, ensuring everyone feels welcome and cared for.

© Scoop Media

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