Cranford Hospice has been chosen as the charity to benefit from fundraising around a one-off jersey for the Magpies’ first home game in this year’s national rugby championship.
The match against Counties Manukau at McLean Park, Napier, on August 12, will double as the Magpies’ 12th defence in the present Hawke’s Bay Ranfurly Shield era should the trophy be retained in two earlier defences against two Heartland amateur rugby sides.
It’s the third season of the charity jersey concept in a partnership between the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union and principal sponsor TotalEnergies NZ.
The unique jerseys will be auctioned before the game, with proceeds and sales of a limited number of replicas through the season going to Cranford Hospice, which has provided specialist palliative care, education, support and advice across Hawke’s Bay from Mahia in the north to Takapau in the south.
The match will be played four days after Cranford opened its doors in 1982 (the fourth hospice in New Zealand), and three days after the centenary of Hawke’s first win in a Ranfurly Shield match.
The collaborative design, involving Magpies players, TotalEnergies NZ and Cranford Hospice, has started, with the sponsor again covering costs of the production of the playing jerseys to ensure as much money as possible is raised for the cause.
The Union says previous jerseys have been snapped up by loyal fans and collectors helping raise over $27,000 for the chosen charities over the past two seasons.
Cranford chief executive Janice said: “I am honoured and very grateful for Cranford to be connected to the Magpies, who are a key community group, and look forward to collaborating throughout the season.”
“We acknowledge that rugby is huge in our community and often many family members we care for are connected through schools and club rugby,” she said.
Like many charities and events, Cranford fundraising has been hit by the impacts of Covid 19, while it will cost just under $7 million to provide hospice care to the Hawke’s Bay community this year.
About half comes from district health board funding, meaning Cranford needs to raise over $3m, which the CEO says is especially challenging in the face of the global pandemic.
Rugby union commercial manager Dan Somerville said the HBRU was grateful to receive many nominations from local charities.
“After consultation with players, staff and Total Energies NZ, Cranford Hospice stood out with many of us having witnessed first hand the amazing service and support they provide to the people of Hawke’s Bay,” he said.
TotalEnergies NZ marketing manager Sharni Wakeman said the company was thrilled to support a great cause: “Hawke’s Bay is incredibly lucky to have the support of Cranford Hospice, and we are delighted to be able to return the favour. We are really looking forward to this collaboration, and to spread awareness on the mission and values of the hospice team”
As in previous seasons, Magpies players will be working with the charity providing support where it’s best needed and to help raise awareness.
“A key part of this initiative is for the Magpies to get an understanding of the great work that the staff of Cranford does and to offer support to patients, families and everyone involved,” Somerville said. “We are really looking forward to engaging where we can and returning support to the community who has been so loyal to the Magpies and rugby throughout Hawkes Bay.”
The design of the jerseys incorporates the kowhai from the hospice logo, with traditional black and white colours associated with Hawke’s Bay.
Replica jerseys are now available for pre-purchase at www.hbmagpies.co.nz and at Stirling Sports when stock arrives.
Header photo / Warren Buckland