July 11, 2022
2022 sees the return of the prestigious Pirtek Volunteer of the Month award, where our rugby league community gets a chance to see their hard mahi recognised across the motu. This award is gifted to a volunteer who displays the core values of NZRL’s Kiwi Way: being family first, innovative, inclusive, respectful, respectful and humble. We are excited to announce that the first winner in 2022 and the month of June is Gina Allan.
Gina has been a pillar for women’s rugby league in Northland over the years. Allan has no playing experience, but her determination and passion for seeing the game grow in Northland is unmatched. Her impact is seen as the number of participants in the New Zealand Māori Rugby League (NZMRL) tournaments for her club Nga Puhi Ahi, increases yearly.
Gina’s rugby league journey started with NZMRL tournaments but has now expanded her reach, creating opportunities for our rangatahi both in and out of Northland. Allan found a rugby league home with the Hibiscus Coast Raiders, which enabled girls to play regularly in junior grades over the last two years. This meant accommodating the girls; whether they had to leave Whangarei around 5 am to make 10 am games or taking girls to trials in Auckland, Gina would make an effort without hesitation.
Gina’s work never goes unnoticed; from organising fundraisers to sorting equipment, Gina is a crucial figure in Northland Rugby League.
Pirtek CEO Chris Bourke commented on the winner, “Gina Allan is an amazing nomination for the Pirtek Volunteer of the Month and the well-deserved winner.”
“Without any rugby league experience, Gina has created a club that she founded back in 2018, allowing young Māori women to participate and thrive while also committing to Hibiscus Coast Raiders.”
“People like Gina are imperative to the ongoing success and development of women’s rugby league in New Zealand, and we commend her for her contribution to the game.”
Thanks to Pirtek, each month we look to celebrate a volunteer who has contributed immensely to Rugby League and their community. This month, we congratulate Anaru Paul from Hamilton City Tigers, for being our June Pirtek Volunteer of the Month.
Anaru’s leadership has seen rugby league in the Waikato thrive. Anaru has held the managers’ position at Hamilton City Tigers for over five years and played a crucial role in winning two Waikato Grand Finals. He’s also been the Waikato Men’s Premier manager for the last three years, which as a result, has seen the District promoted from the Championship to the Premiership competition in 2016, reach the Grand Final in 2017 and retain their spot in the 2019 Premier Competition with a win against Northland in 2018.
Anaru intended on stepping down from club responsibilities at the end of 2018 to focus his efforts on Waikato. With many people unavailable to fill the role, Anaru has stayed with the club, albeit unofficial to his wife!
Anaru’s dedication to his community extends well beyond his involvement with the Tigers. With Resthills being the main playing venue for most of the Hamilton-based clubs; Hukanui, College Old Boys, Hamilton Hornets and Hamilton City Tigers, there are often six or more teams playing on just two fields every Saturday.
When the players from all clubs arrive on a Saturday to see the goalposts up and the lines on the field drawn, they have Anaru to thank. Fourteen days and nights he commits himself to the club, district and game (Premiers), not including the hours he’s involved with the Youth grades.
Anaru’s dedication to his community and the great game of rugby league has not gone unnoticed, and as a result, there are now generations of Paul’s at the club with all his boys having played for Tigers Premiers, some for Waikato, and now Grandkids wearing the club colours.
“He is a true gentleman and an incredibly humble man who puts everyone involved in the game before himself.” David McMeeken, nominator.
Chris Bourke, General Manager at Pirtek says “It’s people like Anaru that keep the grassroots game thriving and it’s clear the impact of his leadership is felt far and wide. On behalf of the team at Pirtek, we’d like to thank Anaru for his dedication to the game and congratulate him on being our well-deserved June volunteer of the month.”
Nominations are now open for Pirtek’s July Volunteer of the Month.
Each winner receives $200 worth of vouchers.