Fifteen year 11 and 12 students from the inaugural South Australian Aboriginal Sports training Academy (SAASTA) Women’s AFL academy program immersed themselves in traditional culture during a recent 7-night exchange in New Zealand.
The exchange gave students the opportunity to build strong bonds, develop resilience, demonstrate leadership and, most importantly, reflect on cultural learnings which they will share with their communities.
“Seeing how the Maori culture works was so inspiring” said team member Tyarna Hansen.
“It was once in a life time experience for 2 strong cultures to come together as 1 and to be able to share cultural knowledge with each other.”
Their busy itinerary included a Mitai Maori Village show, Te Puia (Maori cultural centre and tour), a visit to Polynesian hot pools, a 19.4Km hike across Tongiraro Alpine Cross and culminated in an exhibition match with the New Zealand U18 youth girls’ team.
The Women’s Aboriginal AFL Academy has just completed its inaugural year and is a partnership between the Department for Education’s SAASTA program and the Port Adelaide Football Club. It provides a specialist AFL academy for Aboriginal participants who demonstrate a commitment to achieving excellence in both football and education.