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Ryan Hoffman and Jacob Lillyman walk out with the team, Vodafone Warriors NRL rugby league team during a training session at Mt Smart no3. Auckland, New Zealand. 29 November 2016. Copyright Image: William Booth /

The Vodafone Warriors are hitting the Far North in force for a three-day community visit to Kaitaia next week.

The squad flies north in two separate groups, one travelling on a DC3 charter to Kaitaia Airport while the rest of the players and staff will fly to Kerikeri before transferring by bus to Kaitaia.

“The Kaitaia community has had a lot of challenges recently and we want to do what we can to help to lift spirits,” said Vodafone Warriors community relations manager Petrece Kesha.

“We’re focused on engaging with the people in the area and showing the kids there what they are capable of achieving.”

Doubling as a training camp, the visit starts with an official welcome at Waimanoni Marae on Tuesday afternoon where the party will be staying.

After a hangi with local community leaders on Tuesday evening, the Vodafone Warriors will be the feature attraction at a sports day at Arnold Rae Park on Wednesday. Also involved in the event are the Moko Foundation, New Zealand Police, New Zealand Defence Force and Kaitaia Volunteer Fire Brigade.

The Vodafone Warriors will give some of the Moko Foundation’s special needs children a flight on the DC3 while they’ll also put a group of local under-17 rugby league players through a training session after the sports day event finishes.

The Vodafone Warriors will attend a function run by the Tai Tokerau Rugby League on Wednesday evening.

Thursday begins with an open training session at Arnold Rae Park at 8.00am followed by a signing session and a lunch attended by 50 children selected by their schools.

On Thursday afternoon, players will be joined by their lunch guests for a community project, tasked with doing up the Kaitaia Nomads’ clubrooms which have fallen into disrepair. The players and their assistants will be involved in cleaning out and painting the clubrooms, mowing the lawn and digging drains.

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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