News & Events

Unison medal ceremonies recognise excellence in junior sport

September 11, 2019

Unison’s eleventh annual medal ceremonies saw more than 530 young rugby, football, hockey and netball players presented with medals at the close of the junior winter sports season.

Held for each code during the past two weeks at the Bay Outreach Centre in Hastings, the medal ceremonies acknowledge parents and coaches, and reward one player from each team who has shown excellence in the values of work ethic, discipline and fair play – both on and off the field.

Former Silver Fern, Irene van Dyk presented at the junior netball ceremony and said recognising young athletes not only for being talented, but for the team player they are is worth gold.

“When I was younger, only the best players would get recognition after the season so it is fantastic that these netballers are getting rewarded for their contribution. You can see it makes them feel valued not only as a player, but as a great human being.

“I can image the medals would be proudly paraded, especially because of what they stand for. I believe every child, parent and school needs to celebrate exactly why the kids have received these medals in the first place. Being recognised with their peers, and among other schools no doubt makes it even more special.”

Year five medal recipient, Alisileatulai Tuu from Irongate School, said she was excited to receive her medal. “I felt very proud of myself and enjoyed getting up on the stage to receive my medal in front of lots of people.

“I love playing netball, it’s my favourite sport. I like playing the attack position so I can shoot goals and love to pass the ball to my team.”

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough, said Unison has been able to engage with over 10,000 children and their families this year through its Greatest Supporter Programme.

“We’re passionate about supporting our local communities, and we’re extremely proud that our partnerships are helping to encourage healthy, active children in Hawke’s Bay. They are also a great vehicle for us to deliver electrical safety messages to keep our young people safe around electrical assets.

“The medal ceremonies are not only a highlight of the season – for both players and Unison – they also play an important part in helping to shape these young players.”

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World Cup winning Black Ferns to attend Unison Girls’ Rugby Gala Day

March 29, 2019

Budding women’s rugby players will have the opportunity to meet Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 Champion Black Ferns while honing their skills at the Unison Girls’ Rugby Gala Day, which aims to encourage more female participation in our national game.

Off the back of a successful inaugural Gala Day last year, over 370 female rugby players from Primary, Intermediate and Secondary Schools across Hawke’s Bay will take to the field at Hawke’s Bay Regional Sports Park on Thursday 4 April. This number triples participation in last year’s tournament.

Taking part in age-based Rippa or Sevens tournaments, players will also be able to view the Women’s Rugby World Cup and meet 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup Champion Black Ferns, Marcelle Parkes and Jackie Patea-Fereti. Parkes and Patea-Fereti will referee a match, hand out prizes and be available to speak to young players at an official signing session and throughout the day.

Unison Group Chief Executive, Ken Sutherland said Unison is proud to support the growth and development of rising female rugby players in the region.

“Unison’s partnership with Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union – through our Greatest Supporter Programme – is again targeted towards developing women’s rugby to strengthen the game in Hawke’s Bay. The Gala Day is a great recruitment tool to bring current and aspiring female rugby players together to encourage participation and develop talent.

“It’s also a great opportunity for us to deliver electrical safety messages to our young people and educate them on how to stay safe around Unison’s network,” said Mr Sutherland.  

Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union Women’s Rugby Development Officer, Krysten Cottrell said the Gala Day will provide girls with the opportunity to give rugby a go in a supportive environment and demonstrate how far the game can take them.

“Our region is full of talent and this event will allow current and prospective female rugby players to improve their skills and knowledge of the game, while exploring what opportunities are available for them to develop within the sport. Having the Black Ferns in attendance will help prove to these young players what they can achieve through dedication and hard work.

“The record-breaking Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 held in Ireland set new standards for the tournament and extended the reach of the game around the world. The Gala Day is a fantastic opportunity for young players to meet Black Ferns who were part of this Champion team, helping to build support and excitement in the lead up to the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021, which will be held here in New Zealand,” said Mrs Cottrell. 

The Unison Girls’ Rugby Gala Day will run from 9.30am – 2.30pm and comprises six aged-based tournaments:

• Year 3-4 Rippa
• Year 5-6 Rippa
• Year 4-6 Sevens
• Intermediate Sevens
• Under 15 Sevens
• Under 18 Sevens

For more information, see the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union website: https://www.sporty.co.nz/hbrugby/Womens-Rugby/Gala-Day

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Time for Junior Rugby Players to Weigh-In

March 07, 2019
Summer is officially over and with the winter sport season just around the corner, the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union and Intercity Junior Rugby Board have put the call out to all junior rugby players to ensure that they attend their club's official weigh-in.

Hawke's Bay Rugby and Unison have helped over 36,000 rugby players play the game for the past 10 years, and we want to make sure everyone can play in 2019. So don't miss out - get along to your club's weigh-in. All the details are on the poster below.

All returning players from 2018 should look to be registered online by 31 March 2019 to play in this seasons IJRB competitions. For further information, contact your club convenor or see www.hbru.co.nz.

Junior rugby weigh in schedules 2019

Unison becomes Part of the Team

March 06, 2019
Electricity distributor Unison Networks has announced it will partner with Sport Hawke’s Bay as part of the side-line behaviour programme, Be Part of the Team.

Formed in 2014 through a partnership of local sports codes, Sport Hawke’s Bay and tertiary education provider, Eastern Institute of Technology, the programme aims to support positive experiences for youth in sport by raising awareness of adult behaviour and attitudes on the side-lines of the region’s sports fields and courts.

Sport Hawke’s Bay Community Sport Manager, Junior Armstrong said since its inception, the programme has grown from being focused on the side-line to a wider support programme for parents.

“Children love being active and playing sport, therefore the programme is designed to support parents to help their child enjoy sport – and the side-line is only part of the picture. It also includes in the car ride between games, encouraging children to try multiple sports, and helping them to enjoy sport purely for their reasons for playing.

“This natural progression means it is timely to welcome new partner, Unison, to the programme,” said Mr Armstrong. 

Under its Greatest Supporter programme, Unison has proudly supported junior sport in Hawke’s Bay for the past 11 years. The programme reaches over 10,000 children through its involvement with junior rugby, netball, hockey and football, encouraging participation in sport and providing financial assistance and/or sports equipment along with the infamous Greatest Supporter kit bags.

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said Unison is pleased to partner with Sport Hawke’s Bay through its Be Part of the Team programme.

“This partnership will help Unison develop closer relationships with more of our customers and better understand their needs while at the same time supporting active, healthy children in Hawke’s Bay.

“It’s also a great opportunity for us to deliver electrical safety messages to our young people and educate them on how to stay safe around Unison’s network,” said Mr Gough.

Unison will work alongside Sport Hawke’s Bay this year to encourage positive side-line behaviour – targeting parents/caregivers who are supporting their children – through tips, social media competitions and on-site activations at events, along with other key initiatives.

Mr Armstrong added Unison’s positive reputation within the Hawke’s Bay community will be extremely beneficial for supporting the programme’s growth.

“We are excited to be partnering with Unison as it will help to spread our reach across Hawke’s Bay to ultimately support more parents and their children to enjoy the benefits of being involved in sport,” said Mr Armstrong.

For more information on the Be Part of the Team programme, visit the Sport Hawke’s Bay website: www.sporthb.net.nz 

Unison to support junior Hawke’s Bay football players for further three years

January 29, 2019
Electricity distributor Unison Networks has announced its continued support of Central Football Federation by extending its partnership for a further three years.

Under its Greatest Supporter programme – which is now in its eleventh year of supporting junior sport – Unison has committed to financially supporting operational and promotional activities of Central Football through to 2021.

Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said Unison is excited to extend its relationship with Central Football as part of the programme’s focus of encouraging inclusion in junior sport.

“Our continued partnership will help Unison to develop closer relationships with more of our customers, while at the same time supporting active, healthy children in Hawke’s Bay.

“Playing sport brings people together, encourages participation, develops talent and contributes to the wellbeing of our regions, which we are proud to power and connect. It’s also a great vehicle for us to educate our young people on how to stay safe around Unison’s network,” said Mr Gough.  

The three-year deal will see some of Unison’s sponsorship targeted towards coach development – particularly female coaches – which will help to strengthen the game in Hawke’s Bay.

Central Football Chief Executive, Darren Mason, sees the ongoing development of female coaches as crucial for strengthening and growing the game further in Hawke’s Bay. 

“Our coaching and mentoring programmes will continue this year to build a solid platform for female players, which ultimately increases their involvement in the game. It was exciting to see junior female participation increase by 14% in 2018 – in both players and coaches – and this is a key focus area again in 2019.

“We are fortunate that our female programme is driven by local Football Development Officer and New Zealand U17 Women’s team Head Coach, Leon Birnie. His team’s success at the recent U17 World Cup in Uruguay will contribute to continued growth in the female game.

“Unison’s continued support will also allow the Federation to deliver additional and better-quality programmes, while promoting the game of football to a wider audience by being part of its Greatest Supporter programme,” said Mr Mason.

Unison will begin distributing around 10,000 Greatest Supporter kit bags in Hawke’s Bay for junior football, rugby, netball and hockey players during March and April as each sports season begins.

Unison rewards excellence as the junior sports season closes

September 12, 2018
With the region’s junior winter sports season coming to an end, Unison’s annual medal ceremonies for rugby, netball, hockey and for the first-time, football, saw over 550 young players presented with medals.

Held over the past two weeks at the Bay Outreach Centre in Hastings, junior football players were the first recipients to take the stage to receive their Unison Medal, which recognises excellence in the values of work ethic, discipline and fair play – both on and off the field.

Football medals were presented by Hawke’s Bay United and New Zealand Under 20 International, Jorge Akers, who vividly recalled his experiences as a young player upon meeting the junior footballers in attendance.

“As a young player, you naturally believe that you can achieve anything – and it’s this belief in yourself which ultimately leads to how successful you are in the future.
“I was honoured to be a part of football’s first ceremony, and to see how proud these young players were when they received their medal,” he said.

Medal recipient, Harry Caldwell from Napier City Rovers, said he was excited to receive the medal and to have a photo with Jorge. “It made me feel happy and proud to get one of these special medals for my football – I love playing football.”

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough, said through its support of all four sports – junior football, rugby, hockey and netball – Unison has been able to engage with around 10,000 children and their families this year.

“We’re passionate about supporting our local communities, and about keeping them safe around our electrical assets within the region. These partnerships are a great vehicle for us to deliver electrical safety messages to our young people.

“It is continually recognised that great players of any sport start at grass roots level, and we’re extremely proud that our partnerships are helping to encourage healthy, active children in Hawke’s Bay. The medal ceremonies play an important part in helping to shape these young players,” said Mr Gough.

Napier Boys’ High School take home the Unison Shield for the second year running

September 04, 2018

Napier Boys’ High School 3rd XV is the proud owner of the Unison Shield for the second year in a row, after defeating Wairoa College on Saturday in the Unison Secondary School Rugby Challenge Shield final.

Played as the curtain raiser to the Magpies versus Counties Manukau home game, Napier Boys’ High School came away with a 32-5 win against Wairoa College.

Napier Boys’ High School 3rd XV Captain, Toby Higgins said even though Wairoa brought their A-game, the boys played well and maintained their structure.

“It was a good game and the boys played well. Wairoa brought it to us, but at the end of the day we stuck to our structure and managed to get the ball into the wider channels which resulted in some pretty good try’s.

“There were a few words that went around in the lead up given we had been up to Wairoa and got a bit of a hiding (25-0), so that was in the back of our minds a little bit heading in to the game. But we just gave it all we’ve got, and obviously came away with the win.

“The 1st XV won yesterday as well so it’s been a good weekend for Napier Boys’, we’re pretty happy.”

The Challenge Shield is part of Unison’s sponsorship with the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union and an extension of its junior rugby programme.

In presenting the Shield on behalf of the Unison Group, Relationship Manager, Danny Gough, said Unison was proud to support the regions’ rising rugby stars.

“We get a real thrill out of supporting local rugby at this level, and I personally look forward to this match every year.

“Many of these players have come right through our junior rugby programme, and their passion for the game is evidently still strong. As long as this is the case they are leading active lifestyles, which is what we want to see in our communities.”

In addition to the Shield, Mr Gough presented each player of the winning team with a medal, and Unison put on a pre-match breakfast for both teams. 

Development camps kick-off for region’s top young female rugby players

July 13, 2018
Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union’s (HBRU’s) annual player development camps kicked-off yesterday, with 30 of Hawke’s Bay’s best under-18 girls’ rugby players gathering at Lindisfarne College for three days of intense training.

The girls’ development camp taking place these school holidays is one of four sponsored by Unison. The other three camps will also give the region’s most promising boys under-14, under-16 and under-18 the opportunity to develop their rugby skills further.

Following the camps, Hawke’s Bay representative sides from each of the four camps will be selected to play in the Hurricanes regional tournaments in October.  

HBRU Women’s Rugby Development Officer, Krysten Cottrell is leading the girls’ camp alongside former Magpies captain, Super Rugby player and HBRU Academy Manager, Jason Shoemark, and said she is excited about developing the young players’ skills to help strengthen the women’s game in the region.

“These girls have been selected not only due to their potential to grow as players, they also have a strong passion for the sport, which will no doubt see them become ambassadors to help encourage participation in the game.

“The camps give participants the opportunity to further develop their skills and experience the sort of support that professional players receive.

“They’ve got access to some of the region’s top coaches and players, including current Magpies, Ellery Wilson, Mason Emerson and Jason Long. We have trainers, nutritionists and mental skills coaches on board,” Mrs Cottrell said. 

Unison Group Chief Executive, Ken Sutherland, said Unison is pleased to support junior rugby and the development camps in Hawke’s Bay for the tenth consecutive year.

“Unison’s partnership with HBRU is this year targeted towards developing women’s rugby in Hawke’s Bay, and these camps are well positioned to help achieve this.

“We look forward to seeing the young girls who come through these camps achieve their potential, just like players such as Jonah Lowe – who was a Unison medal recipient as a junior – and Under 20 World Champion, Tiaan Falcon, have done in previous years,” Mr Sutherland said.

Unison Junior Football Tournament a Success

June 06, 2018
The inaugural Unison Junior Football Tournament which saw more than 1500 players descend on Park Island on Saturday 2 June has proved a great success.
 

The tournament is open to all junior footballers and featured a round-robin format, where teams had a minimum of five 12-minute games.Junior Tournament

Relationship Manger, Danny Gough, says Unison is proud to support one of its newest partners, Central Football, to help develop more talent in our region, starting at grassroots level.

“The Unison Junior Football Tournament was a great opportunity for us to reach out and develop closer relationships with more of our customers in a fun, friendly environment, while supporting active, healthy children in Hawke’s Bay,” says Gough. 

This weekend’s competition is the first of two tournaments, with the second to be held on Saturday 25 August.

Unison to connect female rugby players at inaugural Gala Day

May 01, 2018

Over 120 rugby players will take to the field at the inaugural Unison Women’s Rugby Gala Day on Saturday 5 May which aims to encourage more female participation in our national game.

The women’s event will see female players from across Hawke’s Bay participate in skills sessions and aged-based tournaments at Tareha Reserve in Taradale, from 9am – 2.30pm.

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said Unison is proud to support the growth and development of rising female rugby players in the region.

“Unison’s partnership with Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union – through our Greatest Supporter Programme – is this year targeted towards developing women’s rugby to strengthen the game in Hawke’s Bay, and spread our safety messages further.

“The Gala Day will be a great recruitment tool to bring current and aspiring female rugby players together to encourage participation and develop talent,” Mr Gough said.

HBRU Women’s Rugby Development Officer, Krysten Cottrell said the Gala Day will provide women with the opportunity to give rugby a go in a supportive environment.

“Our region is bursting with talent and this event will allow current and prospective female rugby players to improve their skills and knowledge of the game, while exploring what opportunities are available for them to develop within the sport,” Mrs Cottrell said.

The Unison Women’s Rugby Gala Day comprises three aged-based tournaments and kicks off with a skills session at 9am.

Gala Day schedule:

• 9am – 10am: Skills session
• 10am – 11am: Intermediate/High School tournament
• 11am – 2pm: Women’s tournament
• 2.15pm: Prize giving
• 2.30pm: Finish

For more information follow Unison and HBRU’s Facebook pages (@UnisonNetworks and @hbmagpies).