The All Blacks’ visit to Nelson has meant that more than $25,000 will be invested into women’s rugby in the region.
Local businessman Shane Drummond, who was influential in bringing the team to Nelson, hosted a luncheon featuring guest speaker Steve Hansen to raise money for the women’s game.
The All Blacks coach proved a massive drawcard too, with more than $25,450 being raised to go towards development. “The value of getting him along was immense. People really enjoyed the occasion and rubbing shoulders with business people doing important things,” Shane says.
Shane says he hopes the fundraiser can be an annual event moving forward.
Tasman Rugby Union chief executive Tony Lewis says, as dust settles following the historic inaugural All Blacks test, attention must now shift to its legacy.
He says while the union may not have financially benefitted, the community will.
“We didn’t make a dollar off it, but we wanted to grow the game. Shane’s lunch to raise money for women’s rugby is a legacy that we will use around developing the community aspect of the female game.”
Tony says the state of the womens game in Nelson is strong. “Having six senior teams is fantastic compared to other regions and we have a very strong secondary school group led by Motueka High, it is on the rise.”
He says there are a number of challenges facing the grassroots game but donations such as Shane’s will go a long way to overcoming them.
“We have huge travel costs as we are at the Top of the South and the cost to go anywhere is huge, it all helps and in turn helps the women’s game. Our place is to grow the game and give the girls the opportunity to play at the next level.”
The Tasman Mako women’s side made its 2018 Trafalgar Park debut on Sunday, beaten heavily by a ruthless Wellington side 88-3. However, Shane says it is about building the foundation of a successful side.
“We are in the development mode to compete at that top level no differently than the men’s team. We just need to not get too carried away with results.”
Shane says the region has produced some fantastic female footy players, however, with the region’s limited resources, they are usually poached quickly.
“While they don’t usually hang around and it upsets the make-up of the Mako, it is something we should embrace.”