A Rotorua charitable trust is teaming up with one of the largest gaming companies in the world to launch an innovative education esports programme.

Rotorua-based non-profit Digital Natives Academy (DNA) is partnering with global game creators of League of Legends, Riot Games.

Together they have co-designed a programme using League of Legends to introduce teachers, parents, whānau and young people to esports while delivering key messages on mental health, respectful relationships, sportsmanship and resilience.

The work was part of the Learn with League initiative, which set out to help young people, parents, and teachers explore how the league could provide a structure to learn and prepare for life.


DNA director Potaua Biasiny-Tule said the collaboration was based on a shared passion for nurturing and educating young people in leadership and online behaviour within the digital realm.

"We are passionate about the new digital pathways opening up and see this partnership as an invaluable beacon to ignite our journey.

"We are excited to know that a young person from Western Heights, Ōwhata, Koutu or Fordlands who loves playing League of Legends now has the ability to connect with our digital community."

The programme, which will be launched during Rotorua Tech Week (May 20-26), will provide insights into one of the fastest growing sports in the world.

DNA had hosted STEAM-related programmes (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) to youth locally, and now runs New Zealand's first esports and Game Development Academy.

Riot Community and Social Play manager Ivan Davies said learning through play could be used to find ways to empower, foster self-discovery and positive communities with educators, parents and young people.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick was pleased with the announcement and said it was a proactive approach to encouraging appropriate gaming behaviour.

"This is an amazing collaboration between a group of innovative Rotorua creatives and an esports giant, to take on an important online health and well-being issues."