Hurunui Hoopsters build connections on the court
When basketball team the ‘Hurunui Hoopsters’ took on Police team ‘Hot Fuzz’ in a friendly exhibition game, they brought all their passion to the court.
The result was a win-win for the Amuri community in Hurunui District.
The game, held in the Amuri Gymnasium recently, marked the end of a community basketball league organised by the Filipino team, the Hoopsters, for the Amuri community.
“We wanted to bring the community back together as it had been a while since we had a community gathering,” Hoopsters player Trammart Penamante said.
Hot Fuzz team player Constable Damian Schuurman said the Police team was made up of representatives from Hanmer Springs, Culverden, Cheviot, and Highway Patrol based out of Hanmer Springs. In true community spirit, with some numbers down in the Police team, the Hoopsters “lent us some of their best players after half time”.
While tactics like that might not be good for league rankings, they build community spirit, with the exhibition match cementing another successful year of collaborative partnership between Amuri’s newcomers and migrants, and the wider community, Hurunui District Council’s Welcoming Communities Facilitator Natalie Paterson said.
“Even though on-farm dairying in remote rural areas comes with its fair share of socialisation hurdles, Amuri continues to thrive as a welcoming community that cherishes its bond with its migrants and newcomers through these awesome social events,” Paterson said.
“The large Filipino community in the Amuri Basin are known for their community gatherings and their hard work ethic,” Schuurman said. “This was a great opportunity for us to engage with them, let off a little steam and a heap of sweat. I’m hoping we can make this a yearly event.
“Community events like these are a great way to connect with the community, meet new people, and show them that we are more than just the uniform we wear. It can break down a lot of barriers. After all, we are part of the community too.”
Sandy Velmonte, who is a member of the Hurunui Welcoming Communities Advisory Group, said the exhibition game ended with a community party and traditional Filipino pinoy games, and was attended by a mix of about 300 Filipinos and kiwis.
Paterson said sharing a meal is an important way to connect in both cultures and she thanked the community for getting behind the gathering, with Culverden Four Square donating 10 bags of groceries and Culverden’s MCE Asian Store donating two hampers and three sacks of rice.
Hurunui Mayor Marie Black attended the community party as “one I wouldn’t miss”.
“This event is an outstanding celebration of the energy and diversity our Filipino community bring to the Hurunui,” Mayor Black said.
“It was lovely to see Mayor Black in the bleachers,” said Schuurman. “Sadly, she left her pom poms behind, otherwise we would have upped our game.”
*You can catch Hurunui Police taking on Hanmer Thermal Pools for a game of cricket on March 9 in Hanmer Springs.