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About Rugby For Life

What We Do


To enrich the
lives of all

See Our Stories


What is Rugby For Life?

Rugby for Life is a Northland-based charitable trust that harnesses the power of rugby to help improve the lives of all Northlanders and their communities.

Building on the networks, values and influence of the Northland Rugby Union and the Northland Rugby Community, the Rugby for Life program provides meaningful support to communities at a local level in all corners of the region, to achieve positive health, education, and employment outcomes for Northland.


Empowering Our Communities

Focusing on the most significant social and economic issues confronting Northland; programs are specially tailored to key age groups to establish connections, deliver coaching, education, training, and mentoring, that will in turn, drive positive change, build on the pride of Northlanders, and create sustainable opportunities for our rangatahi to have lifelong careers in Northland.

These opportunities are not exclusive to Northland Rugby Clubs, they are inclusive of all people, race and creed and are proudly supported by and linked with Northland Iwi’s, schools, hospitals, and businesses.

Meet our team

The people behind it all

What is the most important thing in the world? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. The team behind Rugby For Life are a group of dedicated individuals who are passionate in their drive to enrich the lives of the people of Northland. Their personal connections to the community through past and present, provide first-hand experience and insight into the areas that need the most support and what will make the biggest difference. It is those connections that drive them to invest their time and aroha into helping create positive change and opportunities for Northlanders.

Ajit Balasingham web 1 of 3 2
As an employer, I see kids coming through with a lack of confidence. Sport enhances abilities and makes people resilient. Rugby is the sport we love and RFL is gaining momentum to do things better, collectively. It is an important ecosystem that provides opportunities in education, wellness, and employment. If I can use my talents to support these communities, I want to be a part of it.

Ajit Balasingham


Riki Kinnaird.jpg12 1
Rugby for Life was founded on an idea to do good in the community and help Northland families thrive by using the local rugby clubs as hubs for sport and provide opportunities around wellness, employment, and training. Riki played rugby for Otago and co-owns the Duke of Marlborough in Russell. His whakapapa goes back to Nga Puhi.

Riki Kinnaird


geoff new 012
RFL provides a bridge between the rugby community and essential services in education, health, and employment to provide solutions. RFL connects sponsors to support the clubs that benefit the game as well as the community. The game is important but people are more important. I am passionate about rugby and see real value in the service delivery of RFL. Iwi – Ngati Porou

Geoff Milner


Sharon Morgan2 v2
Sharon was the first female President of Northland Rugby Union – the first for any provincial union in NZ and served as Deputy Mayor of Whangarei. Sharon’s incredible energy, integrity, dignity, and humour has benefited the Northland community. Sharon brings her passion for sport and the arts to help guide the leading principles of RFL around wellness, education, and employment.

Sharon Morgan


martin profile pic orig2
Giving back to kids has always been our original and primary focus. We identified a problem and are working towards solutions that demonstrate we care and believe in them through rugby. RFL provides a sense of belonging and a sense of pride. We are also providing pathways in education, employment, and wellness with our clubs as hubs initiative. Iwi – Ngātiwai

Martin Cleave


Tuck Waaka2
Tuck was born in Otaua, Hokianga and attended Northland College. He went to the school of Physical Education at Otago university 1967-1969, and then embarked on his teaching career while representing those regions he resided in. Tuck’s Captaincy includes Northland College, Bay of Plenty and NZ Maoris.

Tuck Waaka


Craig Wells2
Volunteers are crucial to our communities and RFL are helping to provide a vital link with the clubs as hubs model between rugby and whānau to help them thrive. From helping kids gain their drivers license that leads to employment to supporting more Club Coordinators, RFL saw the need and took action to help solve real problems. Iwi – Te Aroha and

Craig Wells


Nigel, originally from the Hawkes Bay, played age-group representative in both rugby and cricket. He went to Otago University in the early 1990’s playing senior grade rugby. After graduating he left to develop a career in finance in London. A passionate kiwi, he loves all sport and what it can do for communities. Nigel is currently developing the Rugby For Life relationships in Europe. He is working with kiwis to reconnect and give back to grassroots rugby and its community in Northland. Nigel’s father Graeme played hooker in the 1966 season for Mid-Western club in Maungakaramea whilst on a work placement which contributes to his passion to help communities in the far North.

Nigel Armstrong


Belinda Edwards
It’s important for communities to have a place close to home for rugby. I have seen RFL deliver by helping many clubs secure grants to improve the club environments and connect the volunteers with experts who will support in many areas. I’d love to see RFL grow so that all clubs are creating community hubs where anyone can reach out if they need help.

Belinda Edwards


Bronwyn Williamson2
RFL has been the only programme to deliver real value with outcomes, personnel, and monetary contributions towards helping our clubs be sustainable. The need is huge yet our volunteers are struggling. People want to be part of something special that does good and RFL is demonstrating that positive outcomes for the community comes from collective support.

Bronwyn Williamson


Potsy1 BW
Strength is the people; strength is the tribe. When we give them opportunities, the strength goes to the clubs and communities. RFL has helped to provide many significant outcomes for clubs and especially the community around Take 2 for the Team. Empowering Club Coordinators to do what’s right for the whānau and community will ensure club sustainability. Iwi – Nga Puhi

Paul Scott


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Cameron is the Chief Executive of the Northland Rugby Union. He is a passionate Northlander, leading a team to grow our community rugby and establish pathways that enhance individuals and grow Northland.

Cameron Bell


I saw the fantastic impact rugby had on my boy and knew RFL was all about community and kids and that I had to be involved. We had a recent life-changing experience when we took the kids to a rugby match and they met the Taniwha as many had never been to a game before. We are creating opportunities and pathways. Iwi – Ngapuhi

Aimee Ruka


RFL is a community organisation that is helping to grow a healthy rugby culture. I am personally interested in making a positive impact and looking at the bigger picture of where we go next. We have big social issues here and RFL is using sports and the club to bring people together.

Josefina Maratea


Our club is focused on kids. Sport is really important for the kids and the community. We support the volunteers too, for without them, our club would not exist. RFL is a wicked initiative that helps lots of people and I am proud to be a part of it.

Claire Milner


We work together for the good of the community. The culture at the club is good and we are supporting volunteers to make the club more efficient. We are keeping the doors open off-season with Friday night dinners where everyone is welcome to host community links and summer events. We dedicate our time to the growth of the players that leads to whānau benefits.

Roxanne Kelly


We used to have a strong rugby club in Whangaruru, and over the past 20 years the numbers have dropped dramatically. The need is huge and RFL has opened our eyes on how to do things differently. Today, we are showing the kids that there are people who care and want to help by transforming our rugby club into a hub while promoting all sports in our community. Iwi – Nga te Wai

Waipu Stone


Lance BW
Kia Ora,
My name is Lance Nepia and I am a Kaipara boy born and bred. I grew up playing junior and then senior rugby in Otamatea for the mighty Hawks. Although largely retired from playing, I manage to evade my wife’s ire and get a game in sometimes, or at least 5 minutes of one. Rugby has always been more than a sport to me – the game, the team, and the community it resided in was my place of strength and security growing up. It taught me the value of comradery, pride and self-worth. The four pillars of Rugby for Life struck a chord with me, with their goals of increasing club sustainability and enhancing community through rugby, health & wellbeing, education and employment. I am excited in my role of RFL coordinator to assist our valuable volunteers in growing the Mana Atua of the clubs & community.

Lance Nepia


RFL has helped us understand what we need to do and offers perspective and networks that connect us to the right people. We started with a couple of kids teams and this year we had 7 teams with 86 kids. We will always have a need in our isolated community. Having rugby available and accessible with the focus on children first and foremost is essential. Iwi – Te Uri O Hau

Fiona Raymond


RFL helps to bring my community together and we are now able to move forward at a faster pace. It is necessary and important to have a dedicated paid person to apply for funding and help grow the game. We are a small community about to make big changes by allowing easier access for women and organising touch rugby and a 7’s tournament. Ahipara is a club that looks after whānau.
Iwi – Te Aroha

Georgina Lidgard


RFL is helping us breathe life into our club that brings people in our community together. We have amazing volunteers and need funding to enhance the culture of our community. We see RFL helping us to provide healthier living and the club as a positive space for our people to be free. Iwi – Ngati Kahi Ki – Whangaroa and Ngapuhi Ki - Whangaroa

Nyze Manuel


Our Partners

We are dedicated to enriching the lives of all Northlanders

What’s next?

Get off the bench

  • Tomarata Rugby Club

    Had an outstanding fun/rally day - Tomorata has new registrations and as a result of their fun day have some interested girls.

  • Kaikohe Rugby Club

    Thanks for all the mahi I got loads of calls yesterday from Facebook post. We did get a good turn out. Thanks again.

    Cheryl Smith
  • Hikurangi Rugby Club

    So stoked they got 25 under 14's, they haven't had an IMB team before – (we) got 150 kids.


You can make a difference

Join The Ranks

Encouraging positive health, education and employment pathways to empower generational change in our Northland community