Repairs to flood damage, leaking roofs, and upgraded bathrooms for women's players are among the benefits 20 community rugby clubs nationwide will receive after being selected as the inaugural recipients of Bunnings Rugby Assist.
Bunnings Rugby Assist will see the successful clubs receive a share of $300,000 of products and materials to put towards improving their facilities.
Five clubs have been selected to receive support to the value of $30,000 and another 15 will receive support to the value of $10,000 thanks to Bunnings Warehouse, which has partnered with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) as the naming rights sponsor for the National Provincial Championship (NPC), Farah Palmer Cup (FPC) and Heartland Championship.
Whakatāne Marist will receive $10,000 of products and materials while Rotoiti Sports and Community Association is one of the five successful clubs to receive $30,000 worth.
The Rotoiti club posted on its Facebook page to share the news with supporters.
"We applied with a focus to fix our roof on top of the sheds and to fix the second storey of our club with some new panels, spouting, trim and paint," the post said.
"With just over 500 clubs in Aotearoa, our committee thought we would have a crack at it and we are absolutely stoked to let the whānau know that we received a phone call last week to inform us that Rotoiti Sports & Community Club had won one of the top prizes."
New Zealand Rugby general manager community rugby Steve Lancaster said the response to Bunnings Rugby Assist had been positive, with a third of New Zealand rugby clubs applying.
"Grassroots rugby plays a vital role in the game we love, it's fundamental to keeping the game strong. We're thrilled to have Bunnings Warehouse in our corner, providing some extra support to club rugby.
"Selecting the successful clubs was especially difficult not just because of the quantity, but all the clubs that entered were really worthy applicants. We're looking forward to seeing how the successful clubs bring their projects to life."
Bunnings director New Zealand Ben Camire said: "The passion and dedication shown by the club volunteers and communities who applied for Bunnings Rugby Assist is really encouraging. They share our goal of helping to build grassroots rugby, which is at the heart of every community in this country.
Bunnings Rugby Assist ambassador and All Blacks legend Stephen Donald said he was looking forward to seeing the positive impact of the program on local rugby clubs and their communities.
"The support I've experienced and witnessed from local club rugby is so important to the players and keeps the sport thriving. It's crucial for the next generation of rugby legends that we support grassroots rugby."
Rugby clubs that missed out this year will have another chance to apply for the Bunnings Rugby Assist in 2022 with the application process to be announced in due course.
Te Papapa Onehunga Rugby $10k
Manukau Rovers $10k
Bay of Plenty
Rotoiti Sports & Community Club $30k
Marist Whakātane Rugby Club $10k
Westport Rugby Football Club $10k
Cheviot Rugby Club $10k
Maramarua Rugby Club $10k
Papakura Rugby Football Club Inc $30k
Tokararangi Sports Club Inc. $10k
CHB Rugby & Sports Club $30k
Levin College Old Boys RFC $10k
Dannevirke Sports Club Inc $10k
Ashburton Celtic Rugby Club $30k
Onerahi Rugby Football Club Inc $10k
Alhambra Union Rugby Club $30k
Green Island Rugby Football Club $10k
Star Rugby Club Invercargill Inc $10k
Pirongia Rugby & Sports Club $10k
Wanganui Pirates Rugby Football $10k