Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sends inspiring letter to Hawke's Bay girl's rugby team

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sent a Hawke's Bay school rugby team an encouraging letter. Photo credit: Getty

The Hawke's Bay school rugby team that pushed to let a girl play with them has received a congratulatory letter from the Prime Minister. 

Havelock North Intermediate's First XV gained national attention in the last week after the principals of five of the district's schools wouldn't let Briar Hales play with the team in an annual 'Super Six' tournament. 

The 11-year-old was told she could only play in the girl's sevens team, which father Dean Hales told Newshub she was "gutted" about. 

Even the Government weighed in on the issue, with Sports Minister Grant Robertson saying she should be allowed to play.

Last week Havelock North Intermediate principal Julia Beaumont announced the rugby tournament's rules had been changed. Briar would play with the First XV and the team would forfeit any points they scored. 

Wednesday's tournament saw Briar play at halfback and support her teammates. They lost all their games, but a bright spot came in the form of a personal email from Jacinda Ardern, which was read to them during a break.  

"I just wanted to send you a quick note to wish you the best of luck for the Super Six tournament today," Stuff reports the Prime Minister as having written.

"I've read about your story in the paper and your actions really impressed me. I think it's great you've all chosen to play together as a team even though you are forfeiting your points by doing so.

"Briar, I know what it's like to be told you can't do something (never in sports though - I was useless at that!) and unfortunately that's a message girls in particular get told too often. I prefer to think that girls can do anything and I'm glad your school and team mates think the same.

"All the best for the tournament, and just know that even if you're not successful on the field today, you've already won simply by running on."


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