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Holy Family School


It was the emphasis on family participation that received the highest praise.


Aim/Focus: Community

  • To include our community in physical activity with students and family.
  • To raise the physical activity levels of all students.
  • To expose our students to physical activities outside of school hours.


Holy Family is a contributing, Catholic school, with 14 staff and a school roll of 228.

As part of the School Community Physical Activity Project (SCPAP) initiative, our school staff identified five major target areas that would increase the physical activity levels of our students. We identified what a physically educated student would look like when they leave Holy Family School at the end of year 6. This involved a holistic approach so that our students were not only physically active, but had also developed desirable mental and spiritual qualities. Education of our students is a three-way partnership, so it is imperative that parents play an important part in the child’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

We identified that we needed to strengthen our ties with our community. We also identified that our students were entering school with low fundamental skills, as well as having poor fitness levels, and these needed to be addressed.

The senior students had been having Rippa Rugby coaching from the local club rugby junior coach, so we decided this would be the ideal sport for a wide age range of students to participate in and the Aiga Rippa Rugby Competition was born!

Process undertaken

We held a SCPAP meeting to determine how we would address the identified needs of our school. We decided we would organise a family Rippa Rugby competition for six weeks.

We advertised the Aiga Rippa Rugby Competition through the school and church newsletters, and recruited teacher aides to promote the competition in their whānau groups: Samoan, Cook Island, Tokelauan, and Māori communities.

This competition was driven by the SCPAP team (members of staff and the regional Active Schools Facilitator) with co-opted teachers to assist with the organisation and running of the competition.

We had a demonstration game using years 5 and 6 students to show the rest of the school how to play Rippa Rugby.

After receiving registrations of family teams, we developed a draw. The first night was a Have a Go night.

Eight teams of over 10 players per team entered. A ratio of four primary students to three adults was allowed on the field at any one time.

We adapted the rules to accommodate the younger players - that is, double points for a student scoring a try.

North’s Rugby Junior Coaching Coordinator donated two sets of Rippa Rugby equipment.

Teachers umpired all games on the night of the competition.

The Player of the Day was a student chosen by the opposition for each day. The student received a rugby ball.


We had a very successful competition for six weeks.

We received positive comments, both verbal and via email, on the enjoyable and fun competition.

Many spectators on the evening came and supported their family teams.

Staff came to watch and their students participated as well.

Students from other schools turned up and were put into teams.

An evaluation was completed, with the outcome that parents and students would like another such competition later in the year. A meeting was held and 10 parents formed a committee to organise the next competition.


The success of the competition was evident in the number of students and adults that turned up each week. It was a wonderful atmosphere, with people of all shapes and sizes playing Rippa Rugby with their children and relatives. Plenty of spectators came to cheer their teams on.

The score was immaterial at the end of the game. It was the emphasis on family participation that received the highest praise. Feedback was positive and encouraging.


  • Several families playing together in the same teams. This included the wider families of cousins, aunts, and uncles.
  • North’s junior rugby coach now coming to school and coaching syndicates 2 and 3 in Rippa Rugby and tackle rugby.


  • Bad weather (caused one cancellation).
  • The end of daylight saving meant it got too dark to play.
  • Initially not knowing who to connect with in the community to promote the concept of the family Rippa Rugby competition.
  • Children who wanted to participate, but whose parents didn’t come. These students were fitted into teams.

Next steps

  • The Parent Committee continue to organise more competitions and events, including Have a Go nights where parents can bring their families to try different sports without it costing a lot of money - for example, athletics and cricket (including Samoan cricket). This will also provide an opportunity to involve local clubs and the community in our school.
  • Increase the amount of participation by parents.
  • Offer multiple sporting opportunities.
  • Encourage the community to become the driving force and feel that they have ownership of the tournaments.