Jo | New Windsor

Well I actually chair a rugby club over at Mt Roskill, and last weekend we, we put on a dinner for our, for Suburbs 85s, and we put a big dinner on, and it was lots and lots of fun.

The boys brought their wives and their children, and it was a great night, and they came over and all said thank you as they left, which I thought was great.

We’re very lucky here in Auckland that Auckland Rugby supports club rugby. Our club struggled for many, many years in the senior side of it, losing players. One of the main things is trying to get volunteers. Our volunteers now, we’re all over 60. It’s very, very hard to get young volunteers in. They’re very involved in their families and work. They just don’t have the time, but we’ve boxed on. Two, three years ago we amalgamated our senior club with Suburbs Rugby Club. They’ve given us a lot of support. Last year we had five junior teams. This year we’ve got seven, eight – eight junior teams, and we’ve just started a under-13 girls rugby team that’s playing a short competition.

Without the money and the support and the backing of Auckland Rugby, our club would have died a long time ago, but now it’s building. We had a junior meeting the other day, and it was really fabulous. Thirteen people turned up, all mums and dads, all very keen to see the club succeed. Fearon Park’s just been upgraded. So there’s a big, council’s putting in a big new playground that’s going in there. They are slowly, as money comes available, upgrading the fields.

I think it’s really important. The fact that people volunteer as they get older and they’ve got time to put into the community, I mean, I encourage older people. We’re retiring earlier now, but we’re still very young, and there’s so much that we can give as grandparents and adults, not only into sports, but they run programs at the schools for.

The kids just love it when an older person turns up and the kids read their books to them. Where my granddaughter goes, they have grandparents days where we go down and we’re invited by the school to go and share the children’s activities in the school, and share lunch with them, and all the children just love it. They just really appreciate the fact that an older person has time to stop, and share what they’re doing, and I think that’s so important, and there’s so many older people say, oh I’ve retired now and I’m so bored. I just wish they could just do more with these programs. They’ve got so much to give. So much experience.

The children then learn if you’re kind to them, children can start being kind to each other. I think that’s half the problem with all this gang and carrying on at the moment, beating up older people; they’ve got no respect, and they’re not kind to each other. I think if we could just put a bit more love back into the community, make us better human beings. We get a lot back out of it, because you give, you give a little bit of work to the children in the schools or in the programs, they give back so much to you. You get it back 10-fold. You do. Makes me sound like some sort of preacher, but you know, when a child you don’t know at netball last night comes over, because you’ve just said, you played really well. They come running over to you and give you a big hug on your legs, great.

I come from a big family. I grew up, I was born in Glen Eden, three sisters. My mother remarried later in life, and I lost my dad, and I had three more sisters, and now we’re a very big family. All the girls have married with children. That is very, very important to us. Children would be one of the most important things in our life. We now have grandchildren, which we treasure. We’re very, very lucky that our, both our girls share the children with us. We have them once a week, which is very precious.

We’re also as I say, very involved in a rugby club, so children’s sport is very, very important to us down there. We’ve got about eight or nine little teens all running around, and it gives me great satisfaction on a Saturday morning, going down to see Fearon Park absolutely crowded with children having lots of fun, boys and girls, babies in pushchairs, mums and dads standing on the side encouraging them. So, that would be our most important part of our life, is the youth of this area.”


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