At a time of life transition many young people stop playing sport.

Many school leavers in rural Otago move to Dunedin for work or further study - and some of those that have been playing rugby in secondary schools stop playing at that stage of their lives. Conscious that staying involved in organised sport provides physical and social benefits for young people, the Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU) sought to help them to make the transition to a new club in Dunedin.

Sport, Exercise and Health student Matt Whaanga worked with the ORFU to help increase awareness and participation in Dunedin club rugby amongst young adults who were new to the city. Matt put together a programme which he took out to four regional schools, meeting with their Year 12 and 13 male and female rugby playing students. Those who did come to Dunedin were invited to a follow up meeting to help them settle in and find a club. These young players were supported with information about life balance, and heard directly from ORFU key staff and current players.

As well as preparing and piloting this programme for the ORFU, Matt undertook an evaluation, seeking feedback from participants about what went well and what could be improved if the ORFU repeats the programme. He was pleased to be able to report that 100% of those attending the follow up meeting signed up to play rugby for a Dunedin club.

January 2022

Image credit: Geoff Guthrie. Used with permission from the Otago Rugby Football Union.