What started as family games outdoors to get away from technology has evolved into a non-competitive sports club which has helped kids come out of their shell.

Whangarei mum Zak Newport formed the Otaika Kids Sports Club, a non-competitive fees-free club for kids aged 6 to 13, after she and husband Aaron started playing games outside with their son Cheyvez and cousins Niua and Richmond.

"Now, the day and age that we live in, they're in front of the TV, or Sky, or iPads and I found if you just give them your time and say 'come outside with the ball' they will just stay outside for hours. By doing that with our son we spread it on to others ... It grew from there," she said.

The Otaika Kids Sports Club is a non-competitive fees-free club which has helped children's confidence. Photo/John Stone
The Otaika Kids Sports Club is a non-competitive fees-free club which has helped children's confidence. Photo/John Stone

The club has been operating since January and started off with five members. Now there are 20 kids on board and another 29 on the waiting list.

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"I had thought, a lot of our kids couldn't make the mark in other [competitive] groups, or the hours and times didn't fit in with work or their other siblings. We all live in the Otaika area and we thought why not, why can't we?"

Posted by Zak Newport on Monday, 6 November 2017

Mrs Newport said kids have training on Mondays and Tuesdays at Tarewa Park. During training they play a range of sports including soccer, rugby, teeball, touch and badminton.

When it rains the kids go back to Mrs Newport's house where they play games like charades.

She said the children's confidence has grown since they first started.

"I would say about six of our kids were completely shy. When they turned up to club they didn't want to give it a go or they'd hide behind their parents. We've encouraged them if they want to.

"The kids that were shy are the first to be putting up their hands to give it a go. When we ask for volunteers they're the first ones.

"They've come out of their shell. They feel comfortable because we don't say, 'You're better, you go first.' It's pretty much everyone is put in the same situation."

Jayne Tamihana is all laughs after falling over as Zenith Suarez runs past her during a game of touch rugby. Photo/John Stone
Jayne Tamihana is all laughs after falling over as Zenith Suarez runs past her during a game of touch rugby. Photo/John Stone

Mrs Newport said the club is fees-free to remove any barriers.

She said Bunnings has provided them with a place to fundraise, and has also donated sports equipment. Money from fundraising has helped the club buy uniforms and additional sports equipment.

It has also helped fund a trip to Splash Planet in Hastings in December for the kids and their families.

She said she was happy to help parents in other areas of Whangarei, or nationwide, who wanted to create their own kids club

"Yes it is lots of work, time and sacrifice but well worth it in the end."

For more information go to Facebook and search Otaika Kids Sports Club.