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Linwood Rugby Club - Games of Ranginui 2024

A new rugby festival in east Christchurch is changing the game for young tamariki and their whānau.

‘Games of Ranginui’ is a Linwood Rugby Club initiative catering for year one to eight students from local primary and intermediate schools.

The point of difference is a festival-like atmosphere at Linfield Park on a Friday afternoon, as the club delivers rugby skills, drills, and games for all ages in one place and at the same time each week. Whānau can connect, enjoy kai, and watch their children participate.

A successful one-day pilot tournament attracted more than 250 tamariki last year, but the feedback was to deliver the festival over time.

“We saw there was a real need to run something over a period of weeks, and something that was accessible for families in one place, at the same time, to remove barriers,” says Linwood’s Rugby Development Officer Sam Jack.

He says the club has recognised “the model isn’t working” to increase participation in traditional Saturday morning sport, noting travel, the cost of subs, and equipment as barriers for the local community. Instead, Linwood is switching up its programme in partnership with Canterbury Rugby and Tamai Sports to ensure more tamariki have access to the benefits of sport.

The initiative means brothers Amazing (Year Six) and Revival (Year Three) of Whītau School can hone their rugby skills together with support from whānau.

“I’ve been playing rugby since last year, and my Mum really enjoys watching me play,“ says Revival, adding that his highlight is getting to play alongside his older brother.

Amazing wants to play rugby like his Dad. “I want to be like my Dad,” he says. “He used to play rugby all the time.”

In its first week, the festival attracted almost 70 players who had not been registered with Linwood Rugby Club before. The club hopes to deliver a similar programme in term two, with anyone interested in signing up encouraged to visit the website -

South Island funder Rātā Foundation provides support under our ‘Participate’ funding focus area, removing barriers to participation in active recreation and sport.