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Highlanders announce first of it's kind partnership with Te Kāika

13 May 2022

When the opening whistle blows for Friday’s clash, The Highlanders will be sporting a new kind of sponsor.

In a world first, The Highlanders has signed a three-year partnership with local Health and Wellbeing Service Provider Te Kāika, to progress the greater wellbeing of the Southern Region.

Like The Highlanders, Ngāi Tahu owned Te Kāika has become an emblem of health and social services for the Ōtākou region, notably through its highly effective vaccination campaign last year, which saw them provide more than 80,000 immunisation doses around Otago.

Highlanders CEO Roger Clark sees the partnership as a powerful opportunity to build an even closer relationship with the health of the community. 

“Last year we saw Te Kāika put together a mass vaccination centre on our home turf, Forsyth Barr, in a matter of hours. It was bloody impressive, to put it lightly. For the whole organisation, in particular our players, we saw huge alignment with Te Kāika and The Highlanders,” said Clark.

Over the last four years, Te Kāika has built a healthcare village, supporting all aspects of whānau oraka. The new partnership with The Highlanders will build on Te Kāika’s grass roots health promotion mahi, opening doors to new parts of the community. 

“Our manaaki is a foundational beam in our healthcare village. We have ambitions for oraka whānau, healthier and happier communities, and we know The Highlanders share this vision,” said Te Kāika CEO, Albie Laurence.

The first push in the Te Kāika and The Highlanders scrum will be supporting education and delivery of immunisations for whanau this winter, through the message ‘be wise, immunise’.

“During the pandemic we saw immunisations for our tamariki drop, and it’s important for everyone’s health that we get these messages out there. Like we saw in Samoa, important tools like our measles immunisations can save the lives of our young ones” 

In addition to the shared vision of the organisations, The Highlanders and Te Kāika also share a doctor. The Highlanders Team Doctor Asheer Singh is a medical practitioner at Te Kāika and has first-hand experience of the need for emphasising health and wellbeing. 

“For our athletes their health and wellbeing is a priority for our club. In my work in the Te Kāika clinic, I witness the need for good education around healthy living, exercise, and wellbeing daily. I am personally delighted the club has decided to partner Te Kāika in this very important work within our community”

Te Kāika Chief Advisor — Māori, Matt Matahaere, sees genuine value in the three-year partnership and the opportunity to leverage the association to achieve their goals.

“We are huge Highlanders fans, and what the team shows us more than anything is that if you put in the mahi you can achieve your dreams. As an Iwi-owned organisation, this is fundamental to everything we do. Our whanau have big dreams and goals, be they rugby or otherwise, and building our health and wellbeing is an important part of achieving that,” said Matahaere.

“We share the same values as the Highlanders, particularly around building a culture, because this is where your values come through. Culture is the shadow that values leave behind.” 



About Te Kāika 

Ngāi Tahu-owned Te Kāika is a healthcare village dedicated to improving whānau wellbeing through low-cost healthcare services. The state of the art Dunedin facility offers all patients access to low cost medical, dental, physio and social services as well as a free gym and private appointments with our on-site Work and Income case manager. Te Kāika has made a name for itself by thinking out of the box to support whānau health.


Media contact 

Leni Ma’ia’i


022 413 1596


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