28 May 2021

North Harbour Rugby Union (NHRU) has announced a transformational community partnership with Orange Sky New Zealand, becoming an official partner of the world’s first free mobile laundry service for people experiencing homelessness.

Since its first international van hit the streets in New Zealand in 2018, Orange Sky now operates in both Auckland and Wellington, with two vans and over 160 volunteers behind the organisation.

The NHRU partnership will help shine a light on homelessness and the positive community connection that Orange Sky provides to vulnerable New Zealanders, better known to the organisation as ‘Friends’.

Each week the Orange Sky vans hit the streets to provide a free mobile laundry and shower service, in addition to genuine, non-judgemental conversation to friends doing it tough.

NHRU encompasses 12 rugby clubs and 18 schools, which work together to support over 10,000 girls, boys, men and women participants on any given Rugby weekend.

NHRU’s CEO, David Gibson, says he became aware of Orange Sky through their mutual partner, QBE. QBE and Orange Sky have been working together to positively connect communities since early 2020. This alignment to North Harbour’s desire to connect communities ignited the Provincial Union’s interest in the charity.

Gibson said, “After a successful QBE Goals for Good collaboration last year, we are excited to make the partnership official and work together with QBE and Orange Sky more in the future.”

“Harbour Rugby’s purpose is to ‘Improve Lives, Through Rugby’, and having learnt more about the work Orange Sky do within our communities, we feel really fortunate to be able to support them in this way. We hope we can make a real difference again this year.”

Declan Moore, the CEO and Chief Customer Officer of QBE New Zealand and Pacific said he was thrilled to see two of QBE’s partners joining forces.

“We have the privilege of being able to work with many great organisations through our community initiatives, and we love nothing more than to be able to help these organisations come together to collaborate, innovate and amplify the great work they are doing. I know we are going to see some great things come from this partnership.”

Eddie Uini, Orange Sky New Zealand’s Operations Manager, says he is thrilled to welcome North Harbour Rugby Club to the Orange Sky family.

“North Harbour Rugby has certainly captured the imagination of the public throughout New Zealand in its short history,” said Mr Uini.

“What many don’t realise is that over 41,600 Kiwis are doing it tough on any given evening —many don’t know where they will sleep tonight, nor do they have access to a shower or laundry service,” he said.

“With support from such a premier sporting community, we are grateful that the Orange Sky message will have a greater platform to keep these issues front of mind,” said Mr Uini.

Mr Uini was instrumental in delivering the first van to New Zealand, with the service initially established in Australia, with 31 services operating across the country.

He considers North Harbour Rugby’s involvement a unique opportunity in connecting the New Zealand public to the cause.

“Our future vision is that every Kiwi in need will one day have access to the Orange Sky service, and it is these invaluable Partnerships that allow us to keep delivering more and more shifts each week,” Mr Uini said.

Additional Information:

· Orange Sky is a non-profit organisation providing a free mobile laundry and shower service for people experiencing homelessness. Our first New Zealand van was launched in Auckland in October 2018, followed by a second van in Wellington a year later in October 2019.

· Each week, more than 160 volunteers give their time to help positively connect some of the 41,600 New Zealanders doing it tough. The focus is on creating a safe, positive and supportive environment for people who are too often ignored or feel disconnected from the community.

· Click here to find out more about the inspiring Orange Sky New Zealand story.

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