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Not just 40-hour football: teens making a difference

forty hour football

by Sam Ward
What would you do if you learned that a local 8 year old had been diagnosed with cancer? If your first thought was to plan a 40-hour non-stop game of football, that’s what some ambitious Ōtaki teens are doing.

It’s not often you hear of teenage boys proactively contributing to the wider community, yet for Manukura GPS – a boys’ leadership group from Ōtaki College – it’s just what they do. The fundraising brainchild of Max McHugo and Charlie Simpson will see the Manukura GPS group complete 40 hours of football in the hopes of raising as much money as possible to support a local whanau as they navigate the next 18 months travelling between Ōtaki and Auckland for weekly chemotherapy treatment, as well as the rest of the challenges this will throw their way.

Play will commence at 6am on the 17th of July in the College Gym and the final ball will be kicked at 10pm, Sunday. The Manukura GPS group has been split into two teams who will ensure that a 5-a-side game is continually played over the 40 hours before one of their teams is deemed the winner and the other ends up having to jump in the College Pool.

“We really want the community to get behind what we are trying to achieve” says Charlie, on the fundraisers’ ambitions. “Our aim is to earn as much as possible for the family and we hope that others can help”.

forty hour football poster

For anyone who is in a position to donate, the Manukura GPS boys would be grateful if they could do so by visiting the Givealittle page bit.ly/40hrfooty or they may find a donation box at the event weekend. The public are encouraged to come and show support right across the weekend.

Max even suggests “anyone brave enough” can put a team of 5 together, get in touch to book a time and take on the Manukura group to a game. “Matua Sam has even organised some little trophies that people can try to win if they beat us!”.

Anyone willing to support the kaupapa is encouraged to do so as soon as possible. Every contribution goes towards ensuring the Paroli whanau are able to manage the weeks ahead without fears of financial strain and the comforting support of a community who has their backs.

What is Manukura GPS?

Formed in 2019, Manukura GPS is a boys’ leadership group that runs every morning at Ōtaki College. 25 boys, from Year 7 to 13, turn up for a 7:30am start each morning and do a variety of work that ranges from problem-solving activities to Kapa Haka, fitness and school/community service. Our kaupapa is about creating a space where our young men get out of bed each morning looking forward to school and find joy in helping others. Key tikanga the group focus on are Participation, Attendance, Language and Mana.

Since inception, the group’s results speak for themselves. Past fundraisers have resulted in $6000 and $15,000 being raised for World Vision and the Mental Health Foundation respectively, while the group’s members have also made significant contributions to school spirit and culture. Talk to staff, students or the wider community about the difference these incredible young men are making, and they will all tell you the boys just make this place positive. They are proud to do well and the mauri around school is infectious. Being able to work with them every day is a blessing.

Not only does the group’s contribution pay off to those around them, there is also inherent benefit to those that commit to the group and their early starts. Boys involved in the group record higher attendance rates, better academic achievement, and lower pastoral counts than the rest of the senior school.

Manukura GPS is proud of the work they accomplish and is here to stay.

Sam Ward is Manukura GPS Mentor and teacher of Physical Education and Outdoor Education at Ōtaki College. Contact him at swd@otakicollege.school.nz for more information about the 40 hour fundraiser or anything related to Manukura GPS.

1 comment:

  1. Traveller, 6. July 2021, 21:42

    Manakura GPS is setting a great example for other schools to follow. And yes I shall be making a donation to help the family. Every wellington.scoop reader should be doing this too.