A new rugby academy is helping a group of Hastings Boys' High School students develop skills both on and off the field.
In partnership with the Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust (HBCFCT), 38 year 10-13 students are the first inductees of the Hastings Boys' High School Hauora Rugby Academy.
The school has a successful track record in rugby, winning the New Zealand secondary schools top title in 2019 and producing first class rugby players and it now wants to use rugby to create leaders off the field.
The academy is a "holistic development programme" which is being delivered at the trust's Sport Excellence Hub at the Mitre 10 Sports Park in Hastings.
The programme has been co-designed by the school and Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust Manager Sport & Health Performance Joe Payton.
Hastings Boys' High School head of rugby Tafai Ioasa says the aim of the academy is to create well-rounded individuals who positively contribute to the community and are driven to succeed in their careers outside of rugby.
"We are using rugby as a vehicle to engage our Rangatahi to contribute positively to society and to equip them with the skills, discipline, knowledge and attitude to succeed in rugby as well as in life outside of sport," he says.
HBCFCT provides strength and conditioning sessions that focus on developing equal parts of physical attributes such as strength, power and speed with performance characteristics of communication, team building, leadership and resilience.
"The sessions are designed to enhance training both at school and elsewhere via education and help grow awareness and reinforce to our students the importance of fitness and wellbeing," says Joe.
Tafai says although the school has its own weights room and gym, the atmosphere and environment of excellence at the HBCFCT gives students added inspiration and motivation.
"We have a world-class facility with HBCFCT and combined with our talented rugby coaches and a wider expertise offered by the high performance team at HBCFCT we are creating a sustainable flow of future leaders both on and off the sports field.
"Our students will be better prepared for what life throws at them."
The HBHS physical education department also created seven "Akina man" values that it aims for students to uphold, combined with the individualised strength and conditioning programmes at the fitness centre.
The Akina Man values are:
Communication / Whaikorero = being comfortable to ask or answer questions
Courage / Maia = giving new things a go
Integrity / Ngakau Pono = Knowing what is right and wrong
Empathy / Ngakau Aroha = Big brothers looking after our little brothers
Respect / Whakaranatira = accepting people for who they are, even if they are different from you or you don't agree with them
Initiative / Awhero = being organised with the correct gear for your school day
Diligence / Pukumahi = being proud of the effort you put into your day