Basketball family lends a helping hand...
The Basketball Foundation of FIBA (the International Basketball Federation), FIBA Oceania and the New Zealand Basketball Foundation have all joined hands to lend assistance to colleagues in Canterbury, New Zealand who have been severely affected by the series of earthquakes and aftershocks which have swept the city since September 2010.
The February 2011 quake made international headlines when much of the heart of the city of Christchurch was destroyed or ordered for subsequent demolition and 185 people from 20 nations lost their lives.
The Canterbury Basketball Association, one of New Zealand's strongest and most successful has been badly affected by the earthquake and its aftermath losing half of their playing courts and now having to conduct their activities in seven facilities as opposed to two prior to the quake.
With more that 2000 players, coaches and officials, 150 Primary School, 230 High School and 80 senior teams, and responsible for the conduct of recreational as well as representative activities, Canterbury Basketball has a busy and comprehensive administrative structure. Since the February 2011 quake they have had four office relocations as each of their temporary homes have been condemned or closed for renovation. At times they have been forced to return to the fabled 'good old days' with administrators conducting the affairs of the Association from their own kitchen tables.
The Association, working closely with FIBA Oceania submitted a proposal to the (FIBA) Basketball Foundation for a grant to allow them to purchase and install a relocatable office to give their administration, a home and a permanent place to work. The submission was based on the Basketball Foundation matching the assistance provided by FIBA Oceania and the New Zealand Basketball Foundation.
Secretary General of FIBA Oceania, Steve Smith, was recently in Wellington, the nation's capital, and with the support of Basketball New Zealand was able to organise a handover ceremony of FIBA Oceania's contribution to the project cost. He was joined in the ceremony by Barbara Wheadon, President of the NZ Basketball Foundation. Between them they have donated $20,000 to the project cost. Smith was able to announce at the handover that the Geneva headquarters of the Basketball Foundation will match this contribution, making a total of $40,000 towards the project cost.
Canterbury's President, Tony Mann and General Manager Megan Harlick were on hand to accept the donation and thanked each of the donors for their financial support and encouragement to continue the outstanding traditions of Canterbury Basketball. The President reported that despite all their adversity and the less than optimal conditions under which they are presently conducting their activities, the association has witnessed an increase in their participation numbers during 2012. "The increases are testimony to the fact that our sport can provide a sense of normality to the people of Christchurch, especially its young people, in otherwise trying times." Mann remarked.
Speaking after the handover, FIBA Oceania Secretary General, Steve Smith commented; "We talk frequently in international circles about our 'basketball family' and a characteristic of a family is that they stick together through good times and bad and help each other when misfortune strikes. I am delighted that members of our family have stepped forward to help Canterbury Basketball in their hour of need. The basketball community of Christchurch has made a significant contribution over many years to basketball in New Zealand, and internationally, in addition to their contribution to the community life of Christchurch. Not only have they supplied players, coaches, referees and administrators who have contributed to the game locally, nationally and internationally, but they have, on many ocassions hosted international matches. With these significant contributions to our game, of course we would want to help them get back on their feet as soon as possible. It is great privelege to be the representative of the basketball family in giving this helping hand to our colleagues in Christchurch."
Smith will return to Christchurch in September 2012 when he hopes to be able to inspect the newly installed and fully operational offices of Canterbury Basketball.
If you would like to contact Canterbury Basketball, their contact details can be found here.