Wellington, October 1, 2017
Wellington Phoenix have announced their new FootbALL diversity programme at their Community Day yesterday, (Saturday, September 30, 2017).
An initiative of the Club, the Human New Zealand Rights Commission, the New Zealand Red Cross Society, ChangeMakers Refugee Forum and Multicultural New Zealand, the Programme sees former refugees in the region being offered a season ticket for the 2017-2018 Season as sport is recognised as a way to build bridges between individuals and across communities.
The refugee background communities will also be providing cultural entertainment on the Game Day.
Phoenix General Manager David Dome said that the FootbALL initiative was born out of the desire to express and embody the diversity that is Wellington and New Zealand.
“The recent rebrand of the Club was our way of embodying the biculturalism that is New Zealand, and the beautiful and inspiring story of Ngake has added a lot to the Club in our pre-season,” he said.
Mr Dome said that there was a feeling in the Club during the off-season that we work in a code that is loved the world over and that there were many in our community who told us that they would love to come to our games but are just not in a position to do so.
“We have been supported by a number of Councils represented at the launch, especially the Wellington City Council, and the Club felt that a diversity programme was one way in which we could say thanks to the Councils and work with them on their settlement and integration programmes for former refugees,” Mr Dome said.
Refugee Migrants invited
A season ticket to the Phoenix was offered to all recent refugee immigrants in the wider Wellington region in the last 12 months and coordinated through Human Rights Commission, Red Cross, ChangeMakers Refugee Forum and Multicultural New Zealand.
“Belonging to a community begins when all of us feel welcome and be a part of it. This kind of initiative is a very important way to let all our community members know that they are welcome. This is a milestone that we can all be very proud of as New Zealanders and football people,” Human Rights Commission Race Relations Strategic Advisor Rakesh Naidoo said.
Mr Naidoo, Member of Parliament for Rongotai Paul Eagle and Mayors Justin Lester (Wellington), Wayne Guppy (Upper Hutt), Ray Wallace (Lower Hutt) and Mike Tana (Porirua) were among the guests present at the event.
The Wellington Phoenix play their first game of the 2017-2018 Hyundai A-League season on Sunday 8 October at 5 pm against Adelaide United.
- Rakesh Naidoo speaking at the Phoenix FootbALL Diversity Programme Launch
- Rakesh Naidoo with Justine Lester (to his left) Ray Wallace, Mike Tana (standing third and fourth from left), National Council for Women President Vanisa Dhiru and Wayne Guppy (standing second from right) at the Launch
- Some members of the Refugee communities with Mr Naidoo, Regional Mayors and officials of Phoenix FootbALL Diversity Programme