Remuera golf club initiative and iwi may find michael campbell next. photo/HSBC
One of Auckland’s oldest golf clubs has partnered with a local iwi to encourage their kids to walk its hallowed fairways, greens, and driving range.
Remuera Golf Club and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei work together to offer an educational holiday program that can see Lydia Ko, Ryan Fox or Michael Campbell experience New Zealand for the first time.
The framework for the joint initiative came from Hui between the club and senior leaders from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei last year – looking for ways the pillars of the community could forge closer bonds. These include the collaboration in eco-compatible kaupapa.
The golf club is committed to sourcing indigenous plants from the NWO Pourewa social enterprise nursery to establish joint planting days, and possibly recruiting graduates from the NWO Employment Readiness Program that is run in Pourewa.
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In addition, the club will host Tamariki, Rangatahi, and Komatoa golf programs, beginning with the club’s “Learn to Play Golf” vacation program.
For four days during the upcoming school holidays, the club will host 32 Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei tamariki and rangatahi—teaching them the basics of the game with the goal of giving participants enough confidence to take their first steps on the golf course, and possibly move up to play a full round as their abilities improve.
On the fifth day, the participants will see members of their Wanao community invited to the clubhouse for a celebration, where they can show off their new skills and share their experiences with other members of the iwi.
Remuera Golf Club Membership Director Cary Oates said the program, which will be known as Futures Ngāti Whātua rākei, was a way for the club to welcome young people into its environment while ensuring they feel supported and encouraged to enjoy the destination and its facilities – and it is proudly open to all members of the community.
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“The purpose of Futures Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei is to increase golf engagement among young members of the iwi – welcoming youth of all abilities, increasing participation by creating opportunities to start and advance in golf through learning and play sessions,” Oates said.
All golf equipment, practice amenities, and professional coaching throughout the program [is] It is provided free of charge – thus eliminating one of the barriers to learning and playing golf. It’s about providing a safe, inclusive, welcoming and comfortable golf and social environment.”
Golf equipment and access to practice facilities will continue to be provided to participants at the conclusion of the programme, to encourage continued engagement with the club through free weekly after-school sessions.
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Maia CEO Tom Irvine welcomed the opportunity for their youth to learn a new sporting and recreational activity that was so beloved by Māori – as evidenced by the recent National Championship of the New Zealand Māori Golf Association held in Taupi, by some 260 players.
“Recreational activities that give tamariki and rangatahi a way to participate in a sport that can be played virtually anywhere in New Zealand, by players of all skill levels and ages in a wana’u-friendly environment, is a kaupapa we wholeheartedly support. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei sees this as one of the many leads Which will connect us with the Remuera Golf Club,” Irvine said.
In partnership with Golf New Zealand’s governing body, Remuera Golf Club is one of the main venues for coaching events for youngsters in the city. The club has Auckland’s premiere driving range, which operates similar to a licensed entertainment venue – serving cold drinks and pizza to participants in a bar/café-style environment.
Auckland Council has contributed funding for the development of the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei/Remuera Golf Club partnership.