Tana Umaga to become ambassador for Youthtown

New Youthtown Ambassador Tana Umaga meeting children at a Breakaway school holiday programme at Rosehill College, Papakura, last week. Photo / Nic Fletcher
New Youthtown Ambassador Tana Umaga meeting children at a Breakaway school holiday programme at Rosehill College, Papakura, last week. Photo / Nic Fletcher

Blues coach and former All Black Tana Umaga has agreed to become an ambassador for Auckland's Youthtown.

The charity's chief executive Paula Kearns said Umaga would be the public face of the sports programmes which Youthtown runs in schools and is extending into school holiday programmes, sports clinics and sports camps.

"He is also going to be present at some of our events and functions," she said.

"Another thing we have engaged him to help us with is to give us some of his observations on youth development and collaborate with us to try and optimise the value of our sports programme."

She said the terms of the arrangement were confidential.

"He has obviously got children himself, so he related quite strongly to what we offer right across our programme," she said.

"He is an incredibly busy man so we are very aware of that so we'll just work with him around his commitments."

The announcement comes just three weeks after the demolition of Youthtown's former central-city facility at 68 Nelson St started on January 5.

Ms Kearns said the property had been sold conditional on the site being cleared and was expected to become unconditional when demolition was completed in March.

She said the terms of the sale were confidential and she could not comment on rumours that it may have been sold to SkyCity, which is demolishing buildings on the adjoining block in Nelson St for its international convention centre.

Youthtown moved out of the building in January 2014 because of lead contamination caused by a private shooting club in its basement.

It moved its head office across the road to rented offices at 143 Nelson St, but has recently moved again to 110 Mt Eden Rd.

Ms Kearns said the charity was "continuing to look at various options in the central city".

- NZ Herald

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