School sport: 'Underdogs' to try luck at Aims Games

Dunedin North Intermediate pupils are excited for the New Zealand Community Trust Aims Games in Tauranga next month. Front, from left, Angus Brett (11), Samuel Yeardley (13), Akamura Taiti (13) Yona Maliko (13) and Lydia Knox (12). Photo by Linda Robertson.
Dunedin North Intermediate pupils are excited for the New Zealand Community Trust Aims Games in Tauranga next month. Front, from left, Angus Brett (11), Samuel Yeardley (13), Akamura Taiti (13) Yona Maliko (13) and Lydia Knox (12). Photo by Linda Robertson.

Dunedin North Intermediate will be flying the Otago flag when its girls' basketball and boys' football teams compete at the Aims Games in Tauranga next month.

The Northeast Valley school is the only one south of Christchurch competing in the week-long sporting festival for intermediate athletes.

More than 7000 pupils from 216 schools from New Zealand and Australia will compete in 17 different sports on September 7-12.

Dunedin North Intermediate deputy principal Greg Lees said the 26 pupils going to Tauranga will be underdogs.

''Last year we took a football team up there. I thought we had a reasonably good football team, but when we got up there, the schools we were playing had 1000 or more pupils. We have 220.

''I decided it's not about going up there to win it and that we should do it every year. So we've committed to going every year. We just want to knock off some big fish,'' he said.

The school held trials to determine who was selected in the teams and spent 10 weeks fundraising for the $18,000 trip.

''We did two quiz nights, we sold cheese rolls and chocolate, we did scratch and win raffles. It's been a bit neverending, actually,'' Lees said.

The fundrasing effort raised more than half the total, cutting the cost for each pupil to about $300.

Without Papamoa College billeting the 26 Dunedin pupils, the trip would not have been financially possible, Lees said.

The group leaves next Sunday and will visit the Rainbow's End theme park before returning home.

Basketball team manager Rochelle Knox and football team manager Andy Yeardley will make the trip with Lees.

- Robert van Royen