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Rugby is for all: Wellington to host inaugural Rainbow Rippa Festival

Wellington Rugby Football Union (WRFU) with the support of New Zealand Rugby (NZR) are hosting a Rainbow Rippa Rugby Festival at Waitangi Park on Sunday, March 10 between 10.00am-2.00pm.  

 The event will run as part of the Wellington Pride Festival open to new and existing rugby participants over 16 years of age. Players can be members of the Rainbow community, friends, family, colleagues or allies and can expect a fun-filled day of sideline commentary, spot prizes and music.  

WRFU Community Rugby Activator Lucy Barry said as the 2024 calendar took shape, the initiative was an opportunity to promote inclusivity.  

“For us at WRFU, we began our journey by signing the Pride Pledge, educating our team and offering that to our community. Our Rainbow Rippa event holds significant importance to Wellington Rugby, reflecting our genuine dedication to the Pride Pledge and our commitment to support and respect our rainbow communities. 

“As a mother, I see how important team sports and rugby is to our young people, and I wouldn’t want anyone to feel as if they can’t show up as their authentic selves or see they have a place in rugby,” Barry said. 

NZR took the Pride Pledge in 2022 as a visible commitment to safe, inclusive and welcoming environments for Rainbow communities.  

NZR Culture, Diversity & Inclusion Manager Judy O’Brien said while the LGBTTQIA+ (Rainbow) people have always been part of the rugby whānau, rugby has not always been a space where they felt safe and welcome.  

“We are committed to doing better so that rugby truly is a game for all. When Lucy (Barry) raised the idea of a Rainbow Rippa festival, we thought it was a wonderful way to take rugby to the heart of the Rainbow community in Wellington and give life to the values of NZR; being welcoming, being our best, being passionate and playing fair,” O’Brien said.   

Rippa rugby is a 7-aside game with teams having a maximum of 10 players. Express your interest as an individual or a team here, or simply show up on the day and give it a go.