• VIDEO: Flaxmere aims to grow Tall Blacks with new basketball court

VIDEO: Flaxmere aims to grow Tall Blacks with new basketball court

A pilot programme to give people more places to shoot hoops in Flaxmere is on a roll, with a new court opened at Ron Giorgi III Park.

Hundreds of people of all ages took to the court today, aided by their basketball heroes.

Tall Black Tom Abercrombie, Tall Fern squad member Tayla Dalton, and Hawks/Tall Blacks players Derone Raukawa and Ethan Rusbatch ran drills and competitions, dishing out basketballs and singlets as prizes, to the delight of the crowd. 

Hoops in Parks is an extension of the nationally successful Hoops in Schools programme. The parks initiative is being trialled in Flaxmere in a partnership between Basketball NZ, Basketball HB, Sport
Hawke’s Bay and Hastings District Council.

“It was fantastic,” said Hastings District councillor and Hastings Ambassador Henare O’Keefe.

“It was all ages, from five-year-olds to teens and older, all on the court together with huge smiles on their faces. It does your heart good to see the community all in together, heaps of parents around watching and joining in the fun – it was awesome.”

Mr Abercrombie told the kids he started playing at the age of eight years old on a school court just like the new one on Ron Giorgi III Park in Flaxmere, but the hoops were "not as flash".

“That’s how I developed my love for the game, and this court can do the same for these kids – it’s awesome to see so many kids here.”

The opening of the Ron Georgi III court will be followed by the construction of a court in Flaxmere Park, which Hastings District Council is currently planning the placement of. Those two courts and the new full-size court at Te Kura o Kimi Ora, which encourages community access, will mean almost every home in Flaxmere will be within a 10- minute walk of a new full-size basketball court.