The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting nationwide lockdown saw sport in New Zealand come to a screeching halt at all levels.

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Now, with just one active case left in the country and mass gathering restrictions starting to be relaxed, community sport is gearing up to restart.

However, financially much of the damage has already been done. Unavoidable fixed costs paired with reduced income during the lockdown hit local sporting organisations hard.

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For that reason, both the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union and Tauranga City Basketball Association have set up Givealittle pages in the last fortnight, asking those who are able to donate to help them get back on track.

As at 2.30pm on Friday, the Bay of Plenty Rugby "Pay it Back" Givealittle page, which asks for "donations to support rugby in their local community", has raised $4272.

Contributors can choose from a list of participating clubs to donate to and the proceeds will go towards things like hygiene supplies, subsiding club fees for whānau in need, buying rugby gear and supplies such as paint for the fields and supporting volunteers.

Bay of Plenty community rugby manager Pat Rae said when the page was set up last Friday and in the few days following, donations flew in.

"Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday it went nuts. It's good seeing that many people get behind it and it was also good at the start a lot of our high profile players got involved. I think [Steamers winger] Emoni Narawa was the very first person to make a donation.

"It's been a really good campaign. I'm really glad a number of our clubs got involved."

Bay Rugby has set up a give a little page on behalf of the Union’s affiliated rugby clubs and called it the “Pay it...

Posted by Bay of Plenty Rugby on Thursday, 21 May 2020

Rae said what was pleasing was seeing how the need for survival was breaking down the walls which have traditionally stood strong behind Bay of Plenty's sub-regions.

"I've been in the Bay now since 2015 and one of the things which was prevalent here when I arrived was this bitterness which existed between the three sub-unions.

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"That has virtually gone now. What I'm noticing, not only among the committees and the clubs but for a lot of rugby people, it's not just about Central Bay, Western Bay, Eastern Bay now, it's literally just about rugby in the Bay."

As at 2.30pm on Friday, May 29 Tauranga City Basketball's Givealittle page had raised $1515.

Tauranga player Kruz Ua-Marsh in action during Basketball New Zealand's Under-13 Northern Regional Basketball Championships in Tauranga last year. Photo / File
Tauranga player Kruz Ua-Marsh in action during Basketball New Zealand's Under-13 Northern Regional Basketball Championships in Tauranga last year. Photo / File

Chairman Chris Longman said as a small not-for-profit business, the inability to run leagues or development programs had taken a toll and it would take some time to overcome the economic disturbance.

"It's all really appreciated right now because we're pretty restricted on our funding at the best of times. The intention with this money is to cover some of our fixed costs, basic things like insurance and power, that we have to cover which we usually recover through things like entry fees for our leagues and tournaments.

"It is a fairly significant loss of income. I just want to give a huge thank you to those who have donated. We're lucky to have such a generous basketball community which we're grateful for because we know everyone's doing it tough.

We should all be proud of how our country has banded together to combat Covid-19. It is such a relief to be in Level...

Posted by Tauranga City Basketball Association 2.0 on Tuesday, 19 May 2020

"It's great that people are willing to dig into their pockets and help basketball in our community. We've got just over 4000 registered players in our catchment so we're a sizable sport and we've been going through a growth period in the last few years which has been awesome."

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With gatherings of up to 100 people now allowed, both organisations are working on how to reintroduce their sports in the community. Longman said basketball teams were easing back into training and Tauranga City Basketball were in the middle of working out competition formats and events for the coming months.

Reporoa's Sam Cane with rippa rugby teams from Mount Maunganui and Arataki during an All Blacks visit to Mount Maunganui College last year. Photo / File
Reporoa's Sam Cane with rippa rugby teams from Mount Maunganui and Arataki during an All Blacks visit to Mount Maunganui College last year. Photo / File

Rae said teams were allowed to start training together, provided they had sent their health and safety plans to the union. Senior rugby is set to start on June 27 and junior and secondary school rugby on July 25.

"One of the things I'm worried about is the potential rise in injuries so we've tried to provide coaches with information around a graduated return to training. Even though New Zealand Rugby said games could return on June 20, we wanted to take a more cautious approach and give them four weeks of training before that first competition game.

"The other reason we're going a bit slower is we wanted to stagger the starts so we can get things like contact tracing and sanitising right. That's why we're focused on getting senior up and running first, making sure clubs can do it for the adults, then after a few weeks we'll be ready to move onto juniors. By that time the gathering rules may have relaxed a bit more as well."