A New Zealand provincial rugby coach has taken to his guitar to spread some positivity amid the current Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Horowhenua-Kāpiti Heartland rugby coach Chris Wilton picked up his guitar and started singing as the country moved into a Level 4 stage lockdown in effort to halt the spread of the virus.

Wilton adapted his own lyrics to one of his favourite songs - Irie Music, by Tomorrow People - and his wife Vicky shared it with friends and whānau on Facebook, and it had been widely shared already.

"It's a reggae song, with reggae being my favourite choice of music," he said from his home on the first morning of the lockdown.


The adaptation was laced with positive messages, too, with lyrics like "don't stand less than two metres next to me" and "let's isolate from this pandemic, so you can stop yourself and your whānau from getting sick."

Chris Wilton.
Chris Wilton.

Every good New Zealand rugby team has a guitar player,and Wilton had learnt the instrument as a toddler growing up in Levin.

He had played ever since, and it had ensured a position at the back of the bus.

A fluent speaker of te reo Māori, Wilton had been the coach of the Horowhenua-Kāpiti Heartland rugby team for the past seven years.

He was also te reo Māori teacher. He said music was a good medium for communication and he used it as a teaching tool.

"It's a great resource when I am teaching," he said. "And at parties."

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Wilton said the virus had put a halt to a fitness regime with a squad of players that had started before Christmas, in an effort to be supremely conditioned for the 2020 Heartland Championship.


Every two weeks since the beginning of December last year, the squad had been undergoing a fitness test and training sessions, monitoring the results.

"It was recognised as a deficiency last year," he said.

He implored all rugby players thin the Horowhenua-Kāpiti union to do what fitness work they could at home and to keep up the good work going for when the day comes that rugby and society resumes normal transmission.

Wilton thought that when rugby did resume, there could be a renewed thirst for domestic rugby in New Zealand.

"It could be something to look forward to," he said.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website