A Māori phrase embodying our universal need to belong. It represents a powerful belief that each of us is part of an unbroken and unbreakable chain of people with a shared identity and culture.

In his book, Belonging, Owen Eastwood – who has worked with many elite sports people – places this concept at the core of his methods to maximise a team’s performance.

It is this sense of Belonging (Whakapapa) or more accurately lack of it, for so many disadvantaged children and animals that is at the core of the aims of NBCC: to use cricket and education to improve the lives of disadvantaged children and animals, to enable them to find/create their own Whakapapa, a sense of belonging.

Why children? Because they are our future.

Why animals? Because they can’t speak for themselves

Why cricket? Whakapapa is based around three core values – Resilient, Adaptable and Selfless – three values which relate equally to cricket and as our aim is to help those that join our ‘tribe’ to build their own Whakapapa what better values to base it on.

 Animals like children are far too often the innocent victims of the worst aspects of mankind – abuse, abandonment, greed, selfishness, poverty, famine, war, and natural disasters.

Animals are often used to help children repair their lives, and vice versa.

Together Animals, Children, Cricket, and Education can create a sense of belonging – a Whakapapa and together they hold the key to a better future for all of us.

“In our burning need to belong, to feel secure, our reflex is to seek out others” In the animal world this is called homophily.

“Cliques are completely normal. We gravitate towards people like us. The flow of conversation is easier. We share a similar mental model of the world.” Professor Robin Dunbar

There is a synergy between children and animals especially abandoned ones.

Abandoned children and animals often lack the ability to trust so building (or rebuilding) this trust – or at least starting them on the journey – will be an important element of our acticties and will focus around 6 core foundation stones:

  • Authenticity: what we do and what we say are the same.
  • Loyalty: we all live by the agreed code and we accept and respect these standards
  • Competence: I can do the tasks given to me
  • Consistency: our behaviour and performance is consistent over time so it can be relied on by others
  • Adaptability: we are open-minded and able to change
  • Availability: the opposite of abandonment is emotional availability – when you need me I will be there.

Boundaries keep us safe and provide clarity which lowers anxiety and enhances trust – the wonderful play on words of our name: we need boundaries to keep us safe, we need no boundaries to our being allowed to flourish and become our true selves.