A new community initiative being spearheaded by Panthers player Junior Tia Kilifi was launched in Bidwill today.
Hype2Unite is a cultural awareness initiative aimed at breaking down barriers between the Polynesian community and the non-Polynesian community.
Hundreds turned out at the launch today including Penrith first grade players Blake Austin, Nathan Smith and Lachlan Coote.
“I believe there needs to be a stronger connection and engagement with the Polynesian community to other communities and vice versa,” Tia Kilifi said.
“Hype2Unite is also an enouragement to the Polynesian youth to stand up, dig deep and do something useful with their future.”
Key Panthers sponsors also jumped on board to support the event including Heartland Holden, Abcoe, Krispy Kreme, The Inflatable Guys and Riverside Oaks.
Tia Kilifi has launched Hype2Unite in association with Blacktown Methodist Youth.
“We focus on providing non-Polynesian communities with a more in depth and thorough understanding of the true meaning of Polynesian culture,” he said.
Tia Kilifi told the Weekender that the whole concept was about understanding.
“We wanted to teach other cultures about our culture to enhance our connection with non-Polynesian people,” he said.
Panthers centre Geoff Daniela said it was important to get involved.
“I wanted to come out and support Junior and support the future of this area,” he said.
“There’s a lot of different cultures in this area and if we get together and understand each other we can get along better.”
First grade players took part in pass-the-ball competitions, egg and spoon races, auctions and more throughout the four-hour event this morning.