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UCOL Te Pūkenga and Manawatū Rugby benefit from partnership

By UCOL on Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Manawatū rugby players visiting with UCOL Te Pūkenga Manawatu

The partnership between UCOL Te Pūkenga and the Manawatū Rugby Union (MRU) has led to some great opportunities for students, players, and the community in recent years, with more on the horizon for 2023.

While the two organisations have had a long history of collaboration, UCOL Te Pūkenga became an official sponsor of Manawatū Rugby in mid-2022. This included being the jersey sponsor for Turbos loose forward TK Howden.

Thanks to this ongoing partnership, UCOL Te Pūknga will be the match day sponsor for the Hurricanes' Super Rugby fixture against the Western Force at CET Arena on 2 April. 

UCOL Te Pūkenga will host a public talk by Hurricanes coaching staff on 31 March. The talk will focus on life-long learning and preparing players for careers after rugby. 

In recent years, Manawatū Turbos players and staff have visited the UCOL Manawatū campus to connect with students and staff, run activities, and give away MRU merchandise.

The relationship between MRU and UCOL Te Pūkenga resulted in UCOL hosting the Black Ferns Thank You Aotearoa Tour following the team's World Cup triumph in 2022. There, students and staff got to meet Black Ferns players Joanah Ngan-Woo and Sylvia Brunt, and take photos with them and the World Cup.   

The two organisations are looking at how they can create new learning opportunities for UCOL Te Pūkenga students as well as Manawatū Rugby players. MRU has offered internship roles for students across a range of subjects to help them develop their skills and gain valuable experience in a professional environment. 

A notable student project for MRU came in 2019, when creative media student Heneriata Te Whata designed a new jersey for Manawatū Māori Rugby

UCOL Te Pūkenga Head of Marketing & Brand, Tessa Lyons says MRU is a valuable partner as it shares UCOL's commitment to creating opportunities that benefit the Manawatū community. 

"We value the Manawatū Rugby Union's focus on providing holistic support and professional development for their players so they can excel in their lives away from the rugby field." 

MRU Partnerships Manager Brett Davis says sponsorship from UCOL Te Pūkenga helps support all levels of Manawatū Rugby from youth to semi-professional. As part of the agreement, UCOL Te Pūkenga offers a number of scholarships to MRU players and staff. The purpose of this is to enable MRU personnel to balance studying towards a qualification while operating in a high-performance sports environment.      

"The key area where we benefit from our relationship with UCOL is our Academy space. This has opened up a lot of doors for us in terms of professional development. It is great for players who are joining our Academy straight out of school to have the option of studying at UCOL."

Image: Manawatū players visiting UCOL Te Pūkenga in August 2022.