8th December 2020

In partnership with Le Va, NZRL has produced a ‘Wellbeing Waka’ that will work to better the mental health and wellbeing outcomes of rugby league communities across New Zealand.

The Wellbeing Waka is a mental health roadshow that is set to sail to 10 of its 17 Districts from now until April. The roadshow not only aims to deliver interactive and educational workshops for Rangatahi and parents, but the Waka will go a step further to develop ‘Wellbeing Champions’ for each of the District areas.

These Champions will be on the ground contacts who provide wellbeing support networks for their communities once the Waka leaves. These Champions will be subject to training opportunities to strengthen their personal tool kits when dealing with potential crises or matters of need regarding mental health, suicide prevention and overall wellbeing.

The Wellbeing Waka will work to provide a safe space to encourage youth and parent forum discussions around mental health and suicide prevention. The Waka aims to empower youth to establish support networks among peers to ensure the voice of the young person is spoken, heard and has a seat at the table in each of the rugby league Districts.

NZRL Wellbeing Manager, Carmen Taplin says: “Our mental health and suicide rates for Maori and Pasifika from within our rugby league communities is high compared to other ethnicities.

“We believe that with education and creating sustainable support networks in our Districts, we are able to have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of our people and their families.

“We don’t just want to come, deliver a workshop and go. We are here to create a sustainable support model that works to break down the stigma associated with mental health through empowering Rangatahi and those most effected to take the lead within their communities.

“Through these initial workshops and upskilling of staff and Wellbeing Champions as well the power of past and present players, we are hoping to create a safe and supported mental health network through rugby league.”

The first Wellbeing Waka will take place this Wednesday 5:45 pm at Te Atatu Roosters Rugby League Club in Auckland, 44 Titoki Street, featuring special guest Ali Lauitiiti.

NZRL’s Wellbeing Waka is for boys and girls (12 – 18+) as well as parents.

The Waka is free of charge and korero and kai will be provided.

Keep an eye out on NZRL’s channels for the Wellbeing Waka’s next destinations.