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NZ encourages Pacific sport

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/09/2016 Karen Sweeney

New Zealand is hoping a $10 million grant to encourage children in Pacific countries to play sport will allow children to become healthier while adding to the pool of potential All Blacks players.

Prime Minister John Key announced the funding with his Samoan counterpart Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi in the Federated States of Micronesia on Sunday where they have attended the Pacific Islands Forum.

The money will fund a five-year partnership with New Zealand Rugby and Netball New Zealand, providing equipment, facilities and training for coaches and referees.

"We know that sport is very important, we want youngsters to have their time used wisely and learn all the lessons that they do from sport but also ensuring that young boys and girls of the Pacific are active," he said.

"Of course the long term benefits might also be that we'll continue to have a great crop of Samoan players who can add to those mighty All Blacks from time to time."

Tuilaepa said New Zealand was well known for sport and "continuing to punch above your weight" so his nation and others would benefit from the funding, which he hopes will grow to also include cricket.

"We too want to emulate the good example set by New Zealand," he said.

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