Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

Call for Tauranga residents to open homes for AIMS Games

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Matua resident Yvette McLeod is calling for more Tauranga residents to open their homes for the AIMS Games. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK
Matua resident Yvette McLeod is calling for more Tauranga residents to open their homes for the AIMS Games. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK

A Matua woman is calling for more local families to open their homes during next year's AIMS Games, after many struggled to find affordable accommodation.

For many lower-income families from out of town, travelling to Tauranga to support their kids in this year's AIMS Games was out of reach.

This year's tournament attracted a record number of athletes and Tauranga accommodation was fully booked out, some months in advance.

Matua resident Yvette McLeod said she heard "heart-wrenching" stories of families that could not find or afford accommodation to come and watch their kids compete.

Ms McLeod and her family opened their home to a family from Porirua, who came up to watch their two sons compete.

She got in touch with the family after they called her sister, who had rented her house out for the AIMS Games.

"She was inundated with inquiries from other families desperate to stay somewhere. Everything was booked or places were too expensive," Ms McLeod said.

The visiting family said there were many other parents in Porirua who wanted to come up but could not afford hotel or rental bach prices.

"We didn't charge very much and it was awesome having them stay," Ms McLeod said.

On the first day at the AIMS Games, which her son was competing in, Ms McLeod said she heard of a man who was sleeping in his car so he could be here to support his kid.

"There must be people in Tauranga who have homes like us, with a spare room, that they could open up for families that are invested in their kid's sport but are low-income or only have one parent working."

The AIMS Games kept growing in numbers every year and parents should get to come and support their children, Ms McLeod said.

She spoke of perhaps starting a list of Tauranga residents willing to open their homes for next year's AIMS Games to give to schools. Tournament director Vicki Semple said some accommodation had been booked out a year in advance and she had heard of people booking accommodation as far afield as Rotorua and Waihi and driving into Tauranga for the tournament every day.

She said a lot of private homes were also rented out this year.

"I'm surprised how the Games grows each year, as for next year - put it this way I've had new schools contacting me asking how they can get into the AIMS Games next year," Ms Semple said.

Ms Semple said compiling a list of Tauranga residents who could open their homes was not something the tournament organisers could take on in their current role, but said the tournament encouraged supporters to check out Book a Bach or Airbnb options for accommodation.

AIMS GAMES
- 9300 young athletes came to Tauranga for the week-long tournament to compete against 271 schools from around the country
- Started in 2004 with 760 competitors representing 17 schools

- Bay of Plenty Times

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