Nearly 3000 Rotorua school kids will be able to watch the Māori All Blacks game from the grandstands later this month after some hefty donations from local organisations.

In an effort to make the international rugby game more accessible for locals, Rotorua Lakes Council's sports development manager Steve Watene implemented the Kotahi +1 programme.

With more than $35,000 being donated by iwi, Māori Land Trusts and private businesses, the programme has allowed the distribution of tickets to children at kura kaupapa, rumaki units and decile 1 and 2 schools

"Removing the cost barrier meant these kids and whānau will get to experience a top calibre game with the atmosphere and experience of an international rugby match," Watene said.


"These players are people our rangatahi recognise and look up to, so for the kids to see them in action will be amazing."

Thirty sponsors contributed to the total amount raised.

Sixty-two students at Horohoro School have been given tickets to the game, which principal Pirihira Brown said was amazing.

"The kids were so amped, they just couldn't believe there were people out there who were this generous."

Brown said a lot of the students receiving tickets wouldn't otherwise be able to go to the game.

"A lot of these players, the Māori All Blacks, these are role models to these kids. They see them and think 'if you can do it, I can do it too'.

"Our tamariki are so excited, they could not stop talking about it."

Community Leisure Management, which runs the Aquatic Centre, was the sponsor for Horohoro School and staff including Kori the mascot delivered the tickets to school before the holidays.


Sunset School was another recipient of tickets, thanks to engineering consultancy company Tonkin and Taylor.

Principal Eden Chapman said it was a great initiative.

"It's fantastic that we are able to offer this awesome experience to some of our children and whānau."

In addition to the Māori All Blacks vs Fiji game on July 20, there is also a week-long festival celebrating all things Pacific.