Bunnings and touch NZ are pleased to announce the inaugural winners of the Bunnings Home Ground Heroes, an initiative that recognises and celebrates the central figures in the touch community who make a significant impact to the sport.
The initiative called on the touch community to nominate their Home Ground Hero who has likely been involved in the sport for many years and goes above and beyond the call of duty in support of the game.
Jenny Turner of Touch Papamoa was selected as one of the five heroes and will receive $5,000 for their team to help with costs such as membership fees, uniforms, tournament travel and other touch rugby gear.
Touch New Zealand chief executive Joe Sprangers says they had an incredible response from the touch community with over half of all touch modules across the country nominating a Home Ground Hero.
“It is fantastic to see so many amazing individuals doing such great mahi for the sport we love, and it made for a tough job selecting our five inaugural winners.”
Jenny Turner started Touch Papamoa with her husband 15 years ago and has been the backbone of the touch community since its inception. Over the years, Jenny has devoted her time to the club as Treasurer, referee coordinator, coach, manager and player whilst also teaching at a high school.
Under Jenny’s direction, Touch Papamoa has grown from 12 adult teams and eight junior teams to 80 junior teams and 50 adult teams.
Jenny is supported by a small but dedicated group of volunteers who have turned Touch Papamoa into one of the best touch football modules in New Zealand.
Jenny says it was nice to be recognised by the community, but that it was a team effort by everyone who is involved in Touch Papamoa.
Jenny plans to put the prize money towards referee uniforms and a new honours board to display the legacy of Touch Papamoa. She also hopes to update their equipment for coaching the junior teams.
Bunnings NZ head of operations Derek Powell says they are delighted to congratulate the inaugural winners of Bunnings Home Ground Heroes.
“Each recipient has made a positive impact on their touch community and contributed to making the game more accessible and enjoyable for everyone involved.
“We would like to thank them for the amazing work they do to support their community and improve their game.”
In its first year, Home Ground Heroes received 120 nominations, which represents over half of touch modules in New Zealand, demonstrating the huge need for support across the country.
Bunnings Warehouse has been the principal partner of Touch NZ since 2018. During this time, the sport has experienced an increase in membership, growing support from the community and a positive boost to the overall experience of the game.