Bit of North Otago in Bougainville
A Bougainville rugby club’s playoff success this season is probably down to skill and talent, but the team’s gear may also have helped.
The Royals Rugby Club, based in Bougainville, plays in a set of recently-used North Otago playing kits, made up of jerseys, shorts and socks.
The donation was made possible by Bill Kingan and his Volunteer Service Abroad contacts in Wellington, the North Otago Rugby Football Union and the Waiareka Valley Lions Club, which sponsored the transport of the playing kits to Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea.
Mr Kingan, who has volunteered for VSA in Papua New Guinea in the past, said he was approached by North Otago rugby chief executive Colin Jackson, who had some good quality kits, worn by North Otago’s Heartland Championship side several seasons ago, not being used.
Both parties felt they could be better used elsewhere.
Mr Kingan said the club was delighted to receive the kits, which Royals players wore in the semifinal and final of their competition.
“These guys were really grateful. They don’t have very much money. It’s great that someone has made the opportunity available, I guess. For me, I’m grateful to the rugby union and the Lions for sponsoring them.”
It is not the first time Mr Kingan and the rugby union have worked together to donate playing kits to a Papua New Guinea-based team.
In 2011, 22 full kits were donated to a Vidal University side, the Bulls, which Mr Kingan coached while he worked at the university, in East New Britain, as a farm business adviser.