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With your help we gave
1000 balls to kids in samoa

One of the biggest barriers preventing kids from participating in sport, is a lack of sports gear.  

We decided that’s not good enough.  

Since actions speak louder than words in both sport and life, Rebel Sport and the Pass It Forward campaign have spent over 18 months doing something about it – for every Pass It Forward sports ball sold, we have been donating an identical ball to deserving Kiwi clubs and schools. And it’s been substantial – nearly a quarter million dollars or 9,500 balls donated to date.  

But this past weekend we went international and took the Pass It Forward campaign to Samoa, and since a cause like this is worth bringing in the big guns, we partnered exclusively with New Zealand Professional Boxer and former Heavyweight World Champion, Joseph Parker. We flew 1000 balls to the pacific and spent two days meeting kids, donating the balls and playing sports with nine different local schools in Samoa.   

Mahonri Schwalger (a former professional rugby player) of the Rugby Academy Samoa and his team, were our local connection. Schwalger provided so much help; from contacting the schools, helping us communicate with the local people, running drills for the kids during our visits and making sure we were well looked after, as well as teaching us a lot about Samoa and the Samoan people.

 

What is this all about

The Pass It Forward campaign is the brainchild of Silver Fern, a sporting goods company with roots that run deep in community initiative. As proud producers of the Pass It Forward range of balls, Silver Fern take their responsibility to New Zealand, the silver fern and all they embody very seriously. Another part of the campaign equation is the partnership with the iSport Foundation, who have been responsible for distributing the balls throughout New Zealand to those receiving the donations.

The iSport Foundation’s purpose is to inspire and enable youth to participate in sport, which falls directly in line with one of Rebel Sport’s goals – getting more adults and kids active through sport. Rebel Sport in turn provides the platform and power for the full range of balls to be sold online and instore across New Zealand. A partnership that has been quietly yet successfully getting more kids playing sport.  

 

But that’s not all. We are so excited that Joseph Parker has joined the team with his launch of Team Parker – a new social enterprise with the purpose of providing sporting equipment and support to youth in the Pacific Islands. For our trip to Samoa, Rebel Sport, Silver Fern and the Pass It Forward campaign chose Team Parker as their exclusive partner, with this campaign being phase one of Team Parker’s continued initiative to help kids in the Pacific.

Parker's profile and success on the world stage combined with his deep connection to his Samoan heritage place him in a very strong position to give back to the communities of Samoa, and in time, the surrounding Pacific Islands.

Parker, who has a deep connection to his Samoan roots through his father Dempsey and mother Sala, says of the initiative, “When I see Pacific kids, I think of my parents. I think of what my parents did for me and about how little they had growing up in Samoa. I want all kids to have the opportunities that I had. As people of the Pacific, we have amazing talent and skills. I want to help make the benefits of sport more accessible and nurture the talent that our kids have."  

 

How it happened

Rod Duke, the Managing Director of Rebel Sport New Zealand, said that Rebel Sport has always been a brand that seeks to inspire, and believes that every New Zealand child should have the opportunity to play sport.

"Rebel Sport, in conjunction with Silver Fern, created the Pass It Forward initiative nearly two years ago. With the support of the New Zealand public, we are proud to have donated over $245,000 in sports balls during this time. We are very excited to partner with Joseph Parker and Team Parker, to extend this opportunity to Samoa and the Pacific Islands."

Kent Rae, Silver Fern’s Marketing Manager, knows from experience that there are plenty of kids that can’t play sport simply because they don’t have the equipment.

"We decided to go international and take Pass It Forward to the Pacific Islands because that’s the whole idea of the campaign – to help disadvantaged kids play sport. We wanted to share the love."

And what drove Rae to make this happen?

"That's easy. Seeing the joy of the kids' playing sport."

Rebel Sport Buyer Hamish MacKenzie, who has quietly been championing the cause through his work, is modest about his involvement.

"Kent came to me and asked if I'd heard of a campaign called Eat My Lunch (a charity with the goal that no child at school goes hungry - for every lunch you buy, they donate a lunch). He said, ‘what if we did that with balls?’"

MacKenzie's response?

"I'm a sucker for a good cause. Let's do it."

But it’s Rebel Sport customers who have been the true driving force behind Pass It Forward, even if they don't know it. Why? Because their involvement directly fuels the ball donations, and without that, none of this could have happened. But it doesn't stop here, as Rebel Sport will continue to work with Silver Fern, iSport, and Team Parker to make sure the Pass It Forward campaigns in New Zealand and the Pacific work on getting sports gear to kids who need a little help.  

 

We'd like to thank

Mahonri Schwalger and his team. We could not have done this trip without them, particularly because they allowed us to really understand the ways in which we could help the Samoan kids. We would also like to extend a very warm thank you to Mahonri’s family, who gave us so much help, time and effort during our time on the island.

Kent Rae from Silver Fern (and his wife Nikki, who was a wonderful trip photographer), for making everything happen. We are so proud to be a part of the Pass It Forward campaign with Silver Fern on this trip, and we’re excited for what we will be able to continue to achieve.

Joseph Parker and Team Parker, for becoming the Pass It Forward Pacific partner. It was such a joy for the Samoan kids to know that Joseph was a part of it. We are also excited to continue to work with Team Parker in the future and will provide more information in regards to this in the near future.

The iSport foundation, who have been a wonderful part of the Pass It Forward campaign in New Zealand, and who we will continue to do more philanthropic work.  

How can you
support the cause?

Our Pass It Forward balls are available for sale here – for every ball you purchase, an identical ball will be donated to schools and clubs to get more kids playing sport.

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