North Harbour rugby bosses have axed their junior representative programme for kids – a move officials say is aimed at changing emphasis from performance to participation.

General manager of the Albany-based union David Gibson confirmed what is set to be a polarising move in an exclusive interview with the Weekend Herald, also revealing there were already indications from a "couple of parents" that they would be transferring their rugby-playing children to clubs in rival unions.

Under the change, North Harbour will become New Zealand's first provincial union to dissolve its junior rep programme. It will not assemble an