Tahatai Coast School was awash with colour today as its 700 students gathered for a whole school photo wearing their bright new whare sports T-shirts, sponsored by local fitness provider, CrossFit Alliance.

In an effort to strengthen its relationships with its community, the large Papamoa primary school has formed a unique collaboration with CrossFit Alliance to provide every student and staff member with a T-shirt in the colour of their whare, or house.

The students erupted into gasps and applause as CrossFit Alliance owner Chas Clark announced that everyone would get a free T-shirt with their whare name and logo emblazoned on the front.

In a special assembly, Clark and Tahatai Coast School principal Matt Skilton presented the T-Shirts to each class.

“It’s a bit like getting your All Blacks or Black Ferns jersey,” Skilton said to his students.

The excitement and pride was certainly evident on the kids’ faces as they cheered loudly for their whare leaders, who took part in a mini GromFit demonstration on stage, comprising kettle bell swings and push-ups.

Afterwards the staff and students all gathered on the school’s astroturf for photos of each of the four whare and an entire school photo.

Skilton says the partnership between Tahatai and CrossFit Alliance is evidence of the school’s growing connections with its local community. The partnership is anticipated to extend beyond the whare T-shirts and involve CrossFit Alliance working with the school on various fitness initiatives.

“It’s so great to see a local business actually wanting to contribute,” says Skilton.

“This initiative sends such a positive message to the kids and community around fitness and health. It’s also adding colour and vibrancy to our school, and another dimension to the whare system.

“Every new student enrolling at the school will also receive a whare T-shirt, which will make them feel part of the family here at Tahatai,” he says.

A number of staff and parents are members of CrossFit Alliance, including teacher Andre Jay, who was instrumental in bringing about the partnership.

“What better way to support students in their development by collaborating with a fitness-based company,” says Jay.

Chas Clark established CrossFit Alliance two years ago. He’s passionate about his business and supporting its local community. CrossFit Alliance has helped various groups with fitness initiatives, including the Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club, Te Akau ki Papamoa School and Classic Builders. The partnership with Tahatai Coast School is the next step.

Clark says he wasn’t that active as a kid and it wasn’t until he was about 17 that he started to take an interest in fitness and training.

“So I’m keen to see kids taking an interest in their own health and fitness. And the five- to ten-year-old age group are so eager to learn.”

In addition to its adult classes, which include CrossFit, AllianceFit and MomFit programmes, CrossFit Alliance also runs a GromFit programme which is about getting kids moving more and having fun.

Tahatai students certainly look set to have fun in their new red, blue, yellow and green whare T-shirts. They will have the opportunity to wear them on Fridays to school, as well as school sporting events, like cross country and duathlon.

“It’s so cool – I love it,” says Year 4 student, Daniel Barback, looking proudly at his new, bright yellow whare T-shirt. “We’re so lucky to have them.”


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