Basketball New Zealand is going above and beyond to help a pair of Rotorua athletes get to the World Special Olympic Games in Abu Dhabi next year.

Ruaumoko Pukepuke has been selected in the New Zealand Special Olympics basketball team and Maureen McLeod will play for the New Zealand Special Olympics football team at the event.

The pair have to raise about $13,000 each to get to the event and Special Olympics Rotorua contacted Basketball New Zealand to see if they could help, ahead of the Tall Blacks game against Lebanon in Rotorua next week.

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Special Olympics Rotorua secretary Jess Gibbs said she was thinking of a small fundraiser like a raffle, but was "blown away" by what Basketball New Zealand offered.

"If the code 'Ruaumoko' is entered when purchasing tickets online or instore at a Ticketmaster outfit, we get 40 per cent of the profit towards our athletes' trip.

"We were really blown away to get that support, it's been amazing. It will help them a lot, it's been a big task trying to fundraise for them to get there, so this is a big help to get them across the line.

The Tall Blacks are helping Ruaumoko and Maureen get to the World Summer Games!!! If you would like to purchase a...

Posted by Special Olympics Rotorua on Saturday, 8 September 2018

"Our athletes are stoked, we're taking them to watch the basketball and a lot of them enjoy it because it gives them something to aspire to."

Basketball New Zealand chief executive Iain Potter said: "When we were contacted about Ruaumoko and the Rotorua branch of the Special Olympics fundraising to get to Abu Dhabi next year, we were keen to help.

"Part of the Tall Blacks culture is the spirit of Tu Kaha, standing strong together and helping each other, and our people in the community. We want to help give back everywhere the Tall Blacks play and that chance to help Ruaumoko, who clearly loves basketball and has shown himself to be quite a talent, is something we can appreciate.

"We look forward to catching up with Ruaumoko before our game next Monday night and we hope the fans get in behind the fundraising effort to see him and his teammates make their Olympic dream come true."

To buy tickets to the game on Monday go to and use the code 'Ruaumoko'