Football drills and games, autograph hunting, a DC3 flight for special needs children and multiple haka produced an epic carnival experience for 1200 kids when the Vodafone Warriors threw themselves into a school day in Kaitaia today.

In one of the biggest shows the Far North town has ever witnessed, school kids came from throughout the region for the feature event on the second day of this Harvey Norman Community Warriors trailblazing trip.

The Vodafone Warriors have almost their entire NRL squad plus their football staff for a visit which mixes community engagement with training.

The school day was run by local charity the Moko Foundation, New Zealand Police, New Zealand Defence Force and the Kaitaia Volunteer Fire Brigade.

The Vodafone Warriors were greeted by a cacophony of sound as they were welcomed onto Arnold Rae Park for today’s undertaking. Activity stations were studded across two football fields as the players, teamed up in pairs, engaged with the kids for two hours before lunch which was followed by further engagement after the break.

While that was going on Vodafone Warriors Nathaniel Roache and Ligi Sao joined a group of more than 20 Moko Foundation special needs children and caregivers for a memorable flight over Kaitaia. They boarded the Royal Air New Zealand Air Force’s 72-year-old DC3 – which brought many of the Vodafone Warriors to Kaitaia yesterday – for a half-hour flight before arriving at Arnold Rae Park.

After the lunch break the players mingled with the kids for photos and autographs before a series of haka wound up the event. There were some rousing performances, capped by the Vodafone Warriors closing proceedings with a passionate rendition of their own.

  • The visit north has been made possible by both the Vodafone Warriors and their family of sponsors as well as a team of backers from Kaitaia – the Far North District Council, Fly DC3, Fulton Hogan, Carrington Resort, Folders, Toll Kaitaia, The Warehouse, Ritchies, Beachcomber Restaurant and Bar and Subway with further support from Ahipara Septic Tank Cleaners, Kaitaia Hire, Kaitaia Water Carriers, Ray White Real Estate (Far North), Far North RSA, Far North ITM, Geards Funeral Services, Club Physical Kaitaia, Laser Electrical Kaitaia, Pak’N’Save Kaitaia, Shackletons Pharmacy, Brakes Colour Plus, Beaurepaires Kaitaia, Mangonui Haulage, He Korowai Trust (Kaitaia) and RD1 Kaitaia.