The future of Taranaki's Steelformers Mountain Airs basketball team is up in the air, says club chairman Laine Hopkinson.
If the club's debt isn't cleared, the club won't be playing in the 2020 season, says Laine.
"It's do or die for us over the next month. We either clear the debts to pave the way for a successful 2020 season or we pull the pin."
Laine says the historic debt the club is dealing with has already been reduced significantly over the past year.
The club started the 2019 season with a deficit of nearly $30,000 and has managed to reduce that by half already, he says.
Clearing the remaining debt would enable to team to continue playing in the National Basketball League (NBL).
Laine says every year the team has struggled to compete in the NBL.
"Each year we struggle to compete on and off the court with the high budget teams of the NBL and season 2019 was no different. We are very lucky to have great sponsors, fans and volunteer staff but the reality right now is we need more."
Laine says having an NBL team in the region is significant.
"It is important for our young players to be able to clearly see the opportunities to progress in the sport through club, age group reps and then into the NBL."
With the club's future now in the balance, Laine says it is up to the community to decide what happens next.
"I think it's up to the region's basketball community to decide how important having a first division basketball team is to them. We are calling on the people and businesses of Taranaki to show their support for what is one of the fastest growing sporting codes in New Zealand."
The club is run and coached by a small group of volunteers, who are faced with trying to keep the club going. They are organising an auction and hoop-a-thon event in the coming weeks to fundraise, and have launched a givealittle page.
People can support the club in a variety of ways, says Laine, from donating through the givealittle page to donating items for the auction.
The givealittle page can be found online: www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/taranaki-mountainairs-basketball-team-fundraiser
To offer other support or donate goods for auction, please contact Sally Bublitz; firstname.lastname@example.org