Tina Thompson – The Manurewa Marlins | Faces of Auckland Sport and Recreation Volunteers
Sports and recreation organisations across Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland rely on the efforts of volunteers to help get our people keep active, no matter how small or large they are.
The Manurewa Marlins, the largest rugby league club in New Zealand, is no exception, with passionate volunteers like Tina Thompson helping the club thrive and play an active role in its local community.
Tina – who has been volunteering at Manurewa for seven years – is inspired to help her club continue to grow on and off the field, and to one day help the club build a permanent home to call its own.
How did you get involved in rugby league?
I’ve been a loyal parent and number one advocate for the Manurewa Marlins club since 2013, when the first of my six kids started playing. My husband played for the club from 1988 to 1991 originally, so it was inevitable we would choose the Marlins as our home. Some of my children are playing for the club still, and my husband has just returned to playing after all these years after being motivated by some other masters’ players.
What roles do you fill, and what motivated you to volunteer initially?
I volunteer as a manager – a role I take great pride in – and also provide background support. I was told I was taking over managing one of my kid’s teams by someone who believed in me and encouraged me to volunteer, and I have no regrets. I’ve also volunteered as a manager for Auckland Maori Rugby League, Cook Island Junior Rugby League, and tag teams.
My motivation at the beginning was my children; my goal was to keep them busy and show them there’s more to life if they just give it a go. I’m also motivated by our community, and my desire to inspire others to get involved. I want to help create a club that instils a sense of belonging. Giving anyone who is interested an outlet to learn and grow their love of sports makes my heart warm... it brings me so much joy.
What’s your hope for the club?
My one wish is that we’ll one day have our own club rooms that we can call home. I want to create a place where we can adorn the walls with our Marlins history, memorabilia, and achievements; a place which families, teams, and the community can use. That will create even more of a sense of belonging, and give our Marlins whanau the club room they deserve.
How do you balance your volunteering commitments with work, family and other commitments?
I’m very blessed with a very supportive husband, family, coaches and parents from the teams I manage. The support I receive from our club committee, my liaison and fellow Marlins sisters and brothers is phenomenal; they’re always there for me if need be. I couldn’t do half of what I do in volunteering if that wraparound support wasn’t there.
What’s one piece of advice would you give to people considering volunteering in sport and recreation in Auckland?
Give it a go, and believe in yourself. The reward you get from helping other people reach their potential is immeasurable. You might feel a little nervous and scared at first, but you will have the support of you club and those around you as you give your service, and play a part in supporting your community. Passing on knowledge is one of the most powerful things you can do for younger people. It can help lead them towards starting their own journey and if I can help them do that, then I’ll be happy.