Almost all of the centre’s adult students have taken part in the 10-week competition which wrapped up at the Telecom Sports Arena last night.
Manager Rodger Harkness said being able to mix and mingle with members of the community has been hugely valuable for the students.
“It gives them that ordinary experience that other people take for granted. It’s not about ability, it’s about participation.”
He praised the other teams for their support of the Creative Centre players, who often have to serve from close to the net and break other rules in order to participate.
“We really want to thank the other teams for being so kind and supportive, because we don’t always follow the rules.”
Most of the students had never served or spiked a ball before the Creative Centre formed a team.
One of the players, 14-year-old Kahu Nga-Morehu, said he’s loved the experience.
“I’ve enjoyed playing as part of a team. It’s fun.”
Integral in the team’s development have been two visitors to the country, Inga Teitz and David Landa, who are volunteering at the centre.
Harkness said the two coaches have been hugely encouraging, offering praise to the students and creating a positive team environment.
“The fantastic thing is Inga and David have included everyone.”
Teitz, from Germany, said there were no stand-outs in the team.
“We’re all really great,” she joked. “We’re not too bad....we’ve won a few games. There are always three sets and we often win two.”
The team has played every game for the past 10 weeks and had their final match last night.
They have headed down to Muri for a training session on the beach every Friday.
“They’ve all improved a lot,” said Landa. “I would say having them in the competition has made it extra special.”
Although he and Teitz leave the country next month, they leave behind a team already settings its sights on the next competition.
The Creative Centre in Tupapa is a registered private school for adults with impairments.
It receives funding from the Ministry of Education to cover staff costs but relies on private donations to pay for everything else.
Anyone who would like to help – especially those in the corporate sector willing to make regular donations – can contact Roger at the centre on 20081 or 79260.