News & Events

Lindisfarne and Napier Girls take out 2021 Unison Secondary Schools Competitions

September 23, 2021

Lindisfarne College and Napier Girls’ High School are celebrating their place as Hawke’s Bay 2021 secondary school rugby and netball champions following the Unison Shield (HB Rugby) and Unison Super 12 finals (HB Netball) this week.

The Unison Shield and Unison Super 12 competitions are open to all secondary schools in Hawke’s Bay with more than 16 schools and 290 students competing for titles every year.

Due to Alert Level restrictions, the competitions were delayed by a month but didn’t deter the teams from giving it their best shot. The Unison Shield final was held on Saturday 18 September and the Unison Super 12 finals on Tuesday 21 September.

The Unison Shield final, played annually at McLean Park as a curtain raiser to the Hawke’s Bay Magpies, was hosted by Lindisfarne College this year as their 2nd XV took on the Central Hawke’s Bay College 1st XV.

Hawke’s Bay Rugby CEO, Jay Campbell said although there were no spectators allowed, the two teams played a game full of entertainment.

“Lindisfarne and CHB have had a tough rivalry over recent years. Both teams play free flowing footy and their games always go down to the wire.

“We’re very grateful to have completed the season after an extended lockdown period and would like to congratulate all teams who participated in the competition this year. Thanks also to Unison for their continued support for our community.”

The Unison Super 12 finals were hosted at an empty Pettigrew Green Arena this year, although plenty of support was shown to all teams competing through a live stream by Hawke’s Bay Netball.

Hawke’s Bay Netball General Manager, Tina Arlidge understands the disappointment of those who missed out on their end of the season but was thrilled with the opportunity to host the Unison Super 12 finals.

“We feel for those who were unable to complete their season due to the current restrictions, however, it was awesome to celebrate the end of a longer-than-expected season with the Super 12 finals at PGA.

“Congratulations must go to Ahuriri and Napier Girls’ High School Senior A for winning the Division 2 and Division 1 trophies respectively. An amazing achievement for Napier Girls who will etch their name onto the trophy for the ninth consecutive time.”

The Unison Shield and Super 12 competition are part of Unison’s sponsorship with the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union and Hawke’s Bay Netball, and an extension of its Greatest Supporter programme.

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said Unison was proud to support the regions’ rising sports stars.

“The focus and determination displayed by these young players shows the future of New Zealand sport is in good health.

“Our future All Blacks and Silver Ferns start here, at the grassroots level, and Unison is proud to be able to support players and coaches to excel in their sport.”

Unison kit bags kick off a sustainable journey

April 15, 2021
Unison Networks has introduced a more sustainable approach to its Greatest Supporter kit to minimise impact on the environment, as part of its refreshed vision to lead a sustainable energy future

This will see Unison branded kit bags – containing a drink bottle, mouthguard (hockey and rugby) and electrical safety messages – distributed only to new entrant junior rugby, football, netball, and hockey players.

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said Unison is excited that this more sustainable kit will join new entrant players throughout their junior sport journey.

“Several years ago, Unison committed to helping its communities to prosper and while we’ve made good progress, we need to keep evolving, adapting and transforming. This means minimising our own impact on the environment and supporting our local communities in different ways. 

“We’re extremely proud that our partnerships are helping to encourage healthy, active children, and we look forward to extending this support to the environment by encouraging players to re-use their kit bags throughout their junior sport years,” Mr Gough said.

Hawke’s Bay Netball General Manager, Tina Arlidge said providing Greatest Supporter kit to new entrant players is not only more sustainable, it is also a great way to welcome them to junior sport.

“Many junior players are with us for a number of years which, for many families, results in a stockpile of excess bags. This new approach will minimise waste – freeing up floor space and cupboards – while being a nice keepsake for our new entrant players.

“We encourage players to look after their kit bags to ensure it sees out their entire junior sport journey,” Ms Arlidge said.

Unison is also using sustainable metal drink bottles, FSC* paper for its included safety messaging, and is looking to introduce eco-friendly bags in 2022. 

Around 3,900 children across Hawke’s Bay, Taupo and Rotorua will receive Greatest Supporter kit bags this year. 

*Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper has been harvested in a responsible manner.

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Weigh in for the 2021 Junior Rugby season

February 22, 2021

The winter season is fast approaching, and it’s nearly time to run off the beach and on to the rugby field. To ensure you can play in 2021, the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union and Intercity Junior Rugby Board encourages all junior rugby players to head down to the official weigh in at your local clubs.

Unison has been the greatest supporter of Hawke’s Bay Junior Rugby for over 12 years, and this year is no different. We are excited to be a part of it and know you are too. All weigh in details are posted below - so get organised and don’t miss out!

For further information, please contact your club or the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union.

We can’t wait for the junior rugby season to kick off on Saturday May 15.

Unison kicks off a sustainable future

March 12, 2020

Unison Networks has kicked off a recycling programme for pre-loved Greatest Supporter bags and drink bottles as part of its refreshed vision to lead a sustainable energy future.

The recycling scheme will see Unison, with the support of its sponsorship partners – Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union, Hawke’s Bay Hockey, Hawke’s Bay Netball and Central Football – collect and re-home previous seasons’ Greatest Supporter bags and arrange for drink bottles to be recycled.

Collection bins will be located at Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union, Hawke’s Bay Hockey and Hawke’s Bay Netball offices from mid-April, and at the Central Football Junior tournament on Saturday 30 May.

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said Unison encourages the community to support the initiative by bringing their pre-loved Greatest Supporter bags and drink bottles to their relevant sports’ collection point.

“Several years ago, Unison committed to helping its communities to prosper and while we’ve made good progress, we need to keep evolving, adapting and transforming. This means minimising our own impact on the environment and supporting our local communities in different ways.

“Re-homing past years’ Greatest Supporter bags and recycling drink bottles is just the first step in this journey to providing a more sustainable kit, and we are ultimately calling on the community to support the initiative for it to be a success.

“We’re extremely proud that our partnerships are helping to encourage healthy, active children in Hawke’s Bay and we look forward to extending this support by doing our bit for the environment,” Mr Gough said.

Central Football Chief Executive Officer, Darren Mason said partnering with Unison means the Federation has the opportunity to be actively involved in important community initiatives such as the recycling programme.

“Football is known as the ‘world game’ which means we have a significant reach to the diverse community and people involved. This enables us to play a key role in supporting the recycling programme, while promoting awareness and education in the football community around how we can all play a part in moving towards a sustainable future,” Mr Mason said.

Along with the recycling programme, Unison is moving towards a more sustainable Greatest Supporter kit, with metal drink bottles and whistles – instead of plastic – and using eco-friendly FSC* paper for its included safety messaging. The company is also looking to introduce eco-friendly bags in 2021.

Around 14,000 children across Hawke’s Bay, Taupo and Rotorua will receive a Greatest Supporter kit this year.

*Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper has been harvested in a responsible manner.

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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.