As I have mentioned before in this column, one of Sport Northland's new approaches is to influence and enable Northland communities to focus on better connection and capability across our sector and to be community-led.
A great way of doing this is to focus on community strengths, which as you can see by the following concept is already happening up north.
'Humans of Kaitaia' (HOK) is passionate about nurturing, highlighting and celebrating the authentic stories of our people and about connecting the Kaitaia community.
The concept is based on Humans of New York (HONY), a photoblog and book featuring street portraits and interviews collected on the city's streets. A group began developing a similar concept for Kaitaia and launched their HOK Facebook page, aimed at shining a light on the town's inspirational residents.
Following are some of the Kaitaia faces and voices of those involved in active recreation and sport - some great messages about having fun, trying new things and loving physical activity:
Damien Windelborn - "Netball has always been a part of me. Everyone smiled at me having fun, and because I was a boy playing netball I went with it. I remember getting teased and bullied about playing netball but I didn't really care. I had family around me, coaches and my mates who backed me 100 per cent, and if someone I didn't really know came up and started teasing me - I didn't care because I was happy doing what I was doing."
Shakani and Kahurangi – "We hope that our siblings learn from us that no matter how good you are at any sport, you need to always stay humble, be grateful and have a good attitude. You can do anything you want as long as you set your mind to it - keep pushing through your battles and challenges and NEVER GIVE UP!"
Manuera Riwai - "I love sports. I'd probably always want to be known as someone that's on the move doing something, trying to make the most of life and whatever opportunities like there are."
Maureen Perry - "I'm most passionate about kids, they're honest. Sometimes you have to go in to bat for them, to make things happen. That is why we built this gym in 2005"
Jodi Fryer - "Netball is my passion. I've played, coached and volunteered with Rarawa Netball Club. I'm on the committee and help do all the little jobs as there's never enough people to help, as people who volunteer their time know."
Monte Pawa Jr – "It was about the things I love doing: being a singer/songwriter, a New Zealand Lawn Bowls representative, a netball player and coach and a mentor. Because I was young, I was teased about playing bowls because it is considered an old person's sport, "You're a koroheke!" (an elderly man), I was told. People certainly judged me because I didn't play the stereotypical boys' sports like rugby."
Diversity is key, with stories from local legends, public figures, young people, kuia, kaumatua, volunteers, business owners, artists, sportspeople, educators and survivors. All have their own story to tell and in doing so they create a vivid picture of their town.
If you would like to nominate someone or just want a peek at their HOK then you can find them at www.facebook.com/humansofkaitaianz/
Humans of Kaitaia also appear in the Northland Age on Thursday's.