Media Release August 2009
Manu Vatuvei Visits Waitakare Library To Read To Local children
Vodafone Warrior and NRL star Manu Vatuvei visited Waitakere Library on Thursday to read with the local schoolchildren
who came out on top in the Auckland-wide Rugby League Reads (RLR) competition.
The Vodafone Warriors RLR programme, in partnership with Konica Minolta, aims to show kids that ‘reading is cool’ and
improve the literacy levels of seven- to nine-year-olds, encouraging them to learn the valuable life skills of reading
and writing at an age when reading can become difficult.
More than 500 Auckland students in years four and five entered the annual competition, which for the first time was open
to all primary schools in the region.
Ranui School and West Harbour School were two of the eight winning schools. The year-four classes from each school were
able to read with league legend Manu and some of his teammates at a special library visit at Waitakere Library on
Thursday 20 August.
“We were really overwhelmed with the passionate entries from young Vodafone Warriors fans around Auckland,” said
competition judge and Konica Minolta National Marketing manager Josh Byers. “It was an incredibly hard competition to
judge, because all the entries were of a really high standard. They showed the creative writing and the enthusiasm for
the game that we were hoping to draw out.”
The children submitted short stories and poems about their favourite players, including everything from colourful tales
of meeting and training with them to creative descriptions of their performances on the field.
The judges were impressed with students such as Kimberley Evans from West Harbour School who described how Kevin Locke
‘booted the ball as high as a zooming airplane as it went across the goal post.’
Room 9 at Waitakere Primary also made a stellar effort in the competition, submitting entries as a tribute to Vodafone
Warriors star Sonny Fai, who tragically drowned at Bethells Beach. The class will receive tickets to a Vodafone Warriors
home game in August.
“It’s really important to learn to read and write well as you will need it for any job you have, whether you become a
lawyer, doctor or even a league player,” said Manu, who in addition to his on-field duties serves as a Vodafone Warriors
One Community Ambassador. “Every day we have to read our training schedules and I have to write performance reports on
how my game is going – reading and writing are really important aspects of how I perform on the field.”
During the visits, players worked with the children to complete four literary activities, two of them centered on New
Zealand books: Papa’s Donuts by Kate Moetaua, and Henry and the Flea by Brian Faulkner, a story about a young boy who
dreams of one day playing for the Vodafone Warriors. Each child from the winning schools received a free copy of one of
these books to take home.
The eight winning schools were Kohia Terrace School, Mt Eden; St Thomas School, Kohimarama; Mangatangi School, Pokeno;
Pukekohe East School, Pukekohe; Ranui School, Ranui; West Harbour School, West Harbour; Whangaparaoa School; and Browns
Bay School on the North Shore.
Konica Minolta plans to publish the collection of over 500 short stories and poems about the Vodafone Warriors after the
competition, to present to the schools involved.