SEA EAGLES AND WARRIORS UNITE FOR CHRISTCHURCH
The Vodafone Warriors and Manly Sea Eagles are based on either side of the Tasman Sea, battle each other courageously on the field, but in support of Christchurch and her people, they are united.
With their NRL match at Christchurch Stadium on March 30 is still over a week away, both sides have come forward keen to offer ways in which they can support the city after the tragedies of last week.
Both Manly and the Warriors are in discussions with the NRL on how they can help the community, and Justin Wallace, of Walco Events, promoters of the match, said the sincerity of the offers from both clubs was very humbling.
“For example, in Sydney, Manly had meetings with local Islam leaders and Muslim representatives on how they can best show their support, could help the community in a meaningful way, yet still be respectful.
“While we are yet to finalise the team’s exact involvement, some of their suggestions include laying a wreath at both mosques, visiting affected schools, delivering messages around harmony and respect and creating some type of recognition over and above the minute’s silence and black arm band.
“The Warriors have been equally effusive in offering their support in any practical way. Both teams have matches this weekend which they need to concentrate on, but already much time and thinking has gone into offering help for this game,” he said.
New Zealand born Manly player, Martin Taupau, said that he has been watching and listening at the outpouring of emotion from nations worldwide.
“It makes me not only proud to be a New Zealander but proud to be a human being,” Taupau told media earlier this week.
“There’s so much love going on around the world in support that it gives me a lot of faith in humanity. It’s a great sign when world leaders, movie stars, other influential people and sporting leaders of every capacity come out in support. It’s awesome.”
While Taupau was born and bred in south Auckland, he said that New Zealanders are New Zealanders.
“We’re all from one mother and it will be great for us to get in among the community and show our support not just as a club but also as the NRL,” he said.
Loren Heaphy, ChristchurchNZ General Manager – Destination and Attraction, said that Over the last week Christchurch has come together in sadness and grief to show its love and support for the families affected and for the Muslim community who have suffered intolerable losses while gathering in peace and prayer.
“Christchurch prides itself on its ability to unite in tragic circumstances. Events that bring people together, amplify the spirit of our people and demonstrate our sense of community are as important as ever.
“With the full support of both teams the game between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Vodafone Warriors will take place as planned at Christchurch Stadium on Saturday 30 March. The game will kick off early at 5pm, providing an opportunity for families to attend.
“We warmly welcome and encourage people to come down, to show their support for the teams and the city – Christchurch won’t bow to fear and distrust we are a city of peace and tolerance and we will take every opportunity to demonstrate that to New Zealand and the world.”