The power of sport has united more than 155 international students, from 50 different countries, who have been taking part in a special programme introducing them to the national game. 

The ‘Rugby, Have a Go' initiative has been set up by the Auckland Rugby Union and New Zealand Rugby, with support from Study Auckland, a division within Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED), to provide international students with the chance to experience some Kiwi culture, and participate in one of the nation's best-loved sports.  

Study Auckland's International Education Manager, Henry Matthews, says sports are a powerful tool which can bring people together and create a sense of community.

"The core values of sport are passion, integrity, solidarity, discipline and respect. This programme provides a fantastic opportunity for international students to develop connections, be part of the Auckland community, and experience our Kiwi culture," he says.

"The response has been fantastic and it's been incredibly heart-warming to see the camaraderie and inclusion play out on the rugby field. 

"We want international students to not only have a high-quality education experience while they are here, but have a great time in Auckland as well, and something that they share with their friends and family." 

It's not all been about playing rugby though, each session has also incorporated personal development elements and skills such as discipline, responsibility, leadership, self-confidence, accountability, problem solving and teamwork. One of the days also included teaching the students some basic te reo Māori pronunciation and waiata. 

Daniel Campbell from St. Lucia and the Grenadines is completing his thesis in a Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering at the University of Auckland, has now become a rugby convert after attending the programme. 

"It has definitely encouraged me to take up rugby as a sport, I am keen to continue training and playing with a local club eventually," he says.

"I enjoyed meeting new people and learning drills and proper rugby techniques and strategy, playing games, as well as the awesome advice and guidance from coach Ant, Ketaki and the other assistants."

Check out some video highlights here

Anika Forsman
Senior Communications Advisor
Contact us