The kaupapa behind William Colenso College’s past versus present basketball game, this labour weekend, is male suicide awareness.

The college lost two former basketball players in the late 1980s, and a teacher in 2021, to suicide.

Former student, team-mate and artist Tony Harrington crafted a trophy named the Draper Reid shield in memory of them, with the green, red and black colours of the school, and with the new school colours of blue and green.

Harrington also organises the men’s ex-student team.

In 2021 the college also lost teacher Dan Evans to suicide. He was a basketball coach and mentor to the rangatahi, highly loved and respected in the basketball community.

Harrington added Evan’s name to the plaque on the Draper Reid Shield and the 2021 past vs present basketball game was played in his honour.

Coordinator of the Toa Tauā- William Colenso College Alumni Sue Martin said Evans was a co-founder of “Ngā Taonga Taakaro ki te Matau a Maui”.

He worked for Sport HB and was a former teacher at Henry Hill and Richmond Primary Schools. She said he loved basketball and coached the WCC Junior Boys’ Basketball Team.

The basketball uniform, fundraised for by the team-players, has the school emblem printed on the right side of the singlet, and the name ‘Dan Evans’ and his number ‘7’ displayed on the left, she said.

“This game is to honour these mates. After each game the team korero and have kai, after leaving school,” Martin said.

“The old boys share their journeys and experiences since leaving school. Basketball has served them well so it’s a good vehicle to form great friendships.”

Last year they started a female team which will play this weekend as well, she said.

“The message they are trying to put across is the importance of forming those strong trusting friendships as young men and women that you can carry through and serve you well in life.”

The basketball tournament has been running for more than five years, Martin said.

“Colenso approached these guys from the BB team from the 80s of playing a game vs the current school team,” Martin said.

“They thought that this was an excellent idea to raise awareness for suicide prevention.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

The tournament will be played on Saturday, October 21.

Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air 


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