A group of family-orientated rugby league enthusiasts banded together to start the Papamoa Panthers (now Papamoa Bulldogs) junior rugby league club in 2003. The Papamoa Bulldogs Senior Men’s side was established as the number of members grew and demand increased for junior players to stay. The Papamoa rugby league was thriving, consisting of over 18 teams across the club.
Fast forward to today, like many other sports clubs, the Papamoa Bulldogs Rugby League & Sports Club Inc (PBRLSC) are struggling to recruit players and volunteers to keep the club going. According to veteran Bulldog Teia Dunster, “The Club has been doing it quite tough the last few years; finding volunteers is getting harder by the year.” The PBRLSC are looking for ways to re-engage with the community to gauge interest back into the club, not only for memberships within the club but also for the community to become more involved.
In hopes to restore the club, Dunster and his team at WEON put together an event, Operation getting Bryce Dinneen to the top of Papamoa Hills 3118.
Bryce Dinneen is an inspirational man who, unfortunately at the age of 29, had a diving accident, which resulted in him becoming tetraplegic.
Regardless of his circumstances, Dinneen is resilient and strives to push on with the hope that he can continue to achieve great things in life. Dinneen is the driving force behind his charity “wish4Fish’, which provides individuals with a physical or mental disability and illness the opportunity to enjoy the freedom and pleasure of Aotearoa ocean waters.
While helping others to achieve their goals, Dinneen has his own goals he wants to achieve. One of them is to have the ability to reach the top of Papamoa Hills.
With Dunster and WEON’s operation, the Papamoa Bulldogs Rugby League Club and community aim to band together to help this extraordinary man achieve his goal. This operation will also help lift the club’s profile, re-build the connection with the Tauranga community, and hopefully attract interest to the Rugby League Club. It is also an excellent way to channel pre-season fitness training for the Bulldogs.
“This is a way I thought we could build interest and try and get a buzz happening around the place. I’m a firm believer if the vibe is good, the people will come,” Dunster shares.
The day of the event is set to happen on Saturday 26th March. There will be organised teams of six rotating in carrying Dinneen to the top of Papamoa hills. They will be joined by a local kaumatua, Quentin Bidios, who will korero about the significance of Papamoa sites and Maori historical battles that happen. The day will end with a wind-down BBQ and cold drinks back at the Papamoa community centre.
Teia Dunster expresses, “We would love for as many people as possible to be involved!”
To get behind this inspiring event, feel free to donate here
All funds will go towards the Papamoa Bulldogs Rugby League & Sports Club to pay for ongoing expenses this season. For more info about the event, visit here