In this era of professional rugby, even 7-year-olds are constricted by contractual arrangements with sponsors.

I had a "laugh or cry" moment when the Advocate appealed to its readers to help find a bag of stolen jerseys that belonged to a team of 7-year-old Rippa rugby kids, and one or two jersey manufacturers offered to replace the jerseys.

Their offers had to be politely declined - the club had a jersey sponsorship deal that prevented them from playing in jerseys that were not the sponsors.

Jeez. Understandable, but frustrating.


The jerseys belonged to a Waitemata rugby club and were worth $1000-plus.

They had been in the back of a car parked in a Whangarei driveway. Two kids in the Waitemata team had recently moved to Whangarei, but were travelling back to Auckland to finish the season with their teammates.

They had brought the jerseys home to be washed - one of them had won Player of the Day - when they were stolen.

The theft prompted plenty of "Welcome to Whangarei" sentiment, but it also caught the vigilant eye of our Advocate community on Facebook and through the paper.

And so, when someone found the bag of jerseys on a roadside, they knew what to do with them.

When we put the word out that the jerseys needed to be found, I was quietly confident they would turn up. The number of good people in our community vastly outnumber the bad.

So thank you to not only the jersey manufacturers that we had to say "no" to, but our readers for spreading the word about the missing jerseys, which aided their recovery. It's great to be able to put a happy ending on the story.