The recent Central Sevens event brought together rangitahi (youth) from the Central Division, along with their whānau (family) and friends, to battle it out on the court for the coveted title of winner, at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua. There were 200 people, 18 teams, 9 corps and 3 sports, with a whole lot of anticipation, passion and energy.
There was also a split in grade between competitive and social, with eight competitive and 10 social teams. The competitive teams went hard on the day, playing nine or more games, while the social teams played three, one game of each sport.
All teams dunked and defended on the basketball court, set and spiked over the volleyball net and attacked and defended the hoop for netball. Raw talent, grit and sheer determination led to some serious competition as the teams vied to win the Central Sevens cup.
Porirua Corps was the strongest on the day and took out both first and second place for the competitive grade. The social grade was taken out by Awaken Youth, Johnsonville Corps, with Levin coming in a very close second.
Following the games, rangitahi converged on the Porirua Corps car park and enjoyed kai (food) served up from multiple food trucks. The day was rounded up with our regular raranaga (woven together above and below) youth service, where everyone left having been reminded that God sees, hears and includes us in his whānau and he calls us to do the same for others.
Central Sevens is a new initiative after the long-standing North Island Taupo Sevens was cancelled due to the pandemic. Providing places where rangitahi can connect on a social level is important, especially in the space after lockdowns and restrictions. A number of events have been cancelled over the past three years, so making the most of every opportunity that presents itself for social and spiritual connections is a priority.
Divisional Youth and Children’s Secretary Major Jeannine Serevi said that sharing kai (food) together at events is always important both culturally and socially as it provides opportunities to actually sit and listen to each other and to be heard. ‘We would always want to have both that social connector and the spiritual connector, so it’s a space where young people feel comfortable, but also where maybe they’re stretched in their faith.’
Jeannine said that the Central Division vision is for all young people to be seen and heard. ‘I feel very passionate about making sure that anything that we run would be open for any young person to come in and feel there’s a place for them.’
The aim at all events is to ensure they are youth-led, with opportunities to participate and lead. This resulted in youth from Porirua Corps leading worship, with two young people from Cuba St Corps emceeing for the night and a group from Tawa Corps performing a dance routine.
‘We all have something to bring and it might not all look the same and that’s absolutely fine,’ Jeannine said. ‘Bring what you’ve got.’
Overall Central Sevens was a great day.
Words: Hope Burmeister