It's been a tough few months for everyone who enjoys sport - especially for the parents of those used to competing regularly.

"I put my kids in sport to be active and so they'll be better children at home," said Welcome Bay mother Naomi Gardiner. "So them having nothing to do, and nothing competitive to do ... yes, that was a struggle for our family."

With coaching and training sessions kicked into touch during lockdown, Gardiner's children had to make their own sport.

"They normally train on their own anyway, going for a run, walking the dog, and we've got a hoop nearby that they can have some shots at – keeping their social distance of course," she said.

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But for the young people, training alone wasn't quite the same.

"I missed the culture around basketball. Just being able to go to training's something I thought I wouldn't be missing a lot of, but just being able to be out there on a court is what I miss the most," said Trevel Gardiner-Hano, who's a Tauranga U17A Boys basketball player.

"It was really boring because I couldn't do basketball and stuff," his sister Mariah Gardiner-Hano added. "We missed a lot of training and we had to catch up a lot when it went out of lockdown."

One of the first events to get the green light was the mid-north basketball qualifying tournament at Tauranga's Trustpower Stadium.

"It's the under 15 and under 17 qualifiers for the national event which is in October," said Mark Rogers, Tauranga City Basketball Association.

"There are teams here from our area which is sort of Waikato, King Country, Bay of Plenty and Thames Valley."

"We've actually split this tournament. It's usually both genders in the one venue but we had to split just to be safe around numbers originally with Covid. So yes, it's had an impact."

Despite many families facing financial difficulties, Rogers says participation is looking good.

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"Financially it's definitely been a challenge for some of our community," he said. "We do our best to make sure we don't leave anybody behind because of financial cost, but it has been a challenge for some.

"But the feedback we get is that everybody's really pleased we're back out on court and the kids are getting back out there."

Gardiner says the support from the basketball association has been great.

"I know they've tried hard to do fundraising and to make sure kids are able to have the opportunity to stay involved with the sport. So we're really lucky in that space. As far as I know most of the families have come back really keen to get back on board."

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