The vision is a smokefree Aotearoa. We can achieve this by reducing smoking and the impact of second-hand smoke, by making smoking less visible to our children and by raising a smokefree generation.

Wellington Rugby League continues to be at the forefront of championing the smokefree vision and by working in partnership with Healthy Families Hutt Valley and Hutt City Council to raise awareness of a healthier, smokefree future by supporting those within their community with the journey to quit smoking.

The collaboration between Wellington Rugby League and health system partners has been in operation for the past two seasons of games, and stems from the approach by Wellington Rugby League to interweave hauora with the wellbeing of their players and wider whānau in the community. Sport provides an opportunity and vehicle to be able to bring the community together enabling Wellington Rugby League to connect and engage on the importance of health and wellbeing.

The code promotes the smokefree message through branded colourful vests that are issued to  Coaches, Managers and Trainers on completion of their respective New Zealand Rugby League course, but the vests represent a broader and more holistic Kaupapa.  

Training and upskilling of the code’s Coaches, Managers and Trainers is a key focus throughout the New Zealand Rugby League course and is based on a fundamental approach on the importance of the relationship the code has with the players – ultimately putting the person at the centre, before the athlete.

The vest is issued in recognition that Wellington Rugby League’s Coaches, Managers and Trainer have completed the necessary training to support players and whānau who may wish to begin the journey to quit, along with supporting  mental wellbeing and concussion protocols as well important ‘Checking In’ procedures.

The vests were designed with input from New Zealand Rugby League, Wellington Rugby League and  the Takiri Mai Te Ata Regional Stop Smoking Service Steering Group.

Wellington Rugby League’s commitment to ensuring the health and wellbeing of players and the wider rugby league community highlights the opportunity and role that sport can play to support and enable our communities to live healthier and fulfilling lives.

By going beyond the game to put health and wellbeing at the forefront, we can reach players and whānau where they spend their time and collectively support our people to be well.