Sports equipment does not come cheap, so when Westpac entered Kaitoke School in an iSPORT Balls in Schools promotion and they won, it was just cause for celebration.
Westpac Whanganui branch officers Jo Angove and Matthew Tuinayau were there last Friday — Gumboot Friday.
"I met Rachel Plank [Kaitoke School deputy principal] through a friend of mine. Westpac is really wanting to move out into the community and help our people," says Jo. "We were looking for opportunities to help anybody. In conversation Rachel suggested the school could do with a little bit of funding or something like that."
When Jo got back to work she learned through the Westpac business unit that iSPORT was looking for nominations for schools for Balls in Schools.
Kaitoke School was nominated and was successful.
"So we have 25 brand new sports balls, all inflated," says Jo. The balls were delivered flat, but Jo called the Bike Shed, told them the story and they pumped them all up at no charge.
"It's people helping people," says Jo.
"The iSPORT Foundation was started by Richie McCaw and Dan Carter in 2009," says Matthew. "Their goal was to get kids more active. No kid should be sitting down at playtime. They should be out there kicking a ball and getting exercise. Kids playing together helps with communication and socialisation."
"There were more than 280 nominations," says Jo, "And Kaitoke School was one of the successful nominees.
"I think it's great. It's one of those where we are connected by them to be able to connect back to our community."
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School principal Vanessa Duncan is thrilled with the addition to the school's sports cupboard.
"That's a massive donation, and it's so timely that Rachel [Plank] had come to me that week and said there were no basketballs. Then, out of the blue we got this email from Jo and I was blown away." Vanessa did not know the school had been entered in the iSPORT promotion. The balls come with two large "string" bags for easy carrying.
The prize was formally presented to the students at Friday afternoon assembly by Westpac Whanganui Branch manager, Kevin Nicholson.