Thunder Rugby New Zealand Tour

Thunder Rugby New Zealand Tour

Tour Reflections from coach Clay Panga
Thunder Tour Wrapup on BCRN
Thunder NZ Tour Program
View Itinerary
View Google Earth Video of Tour

The Thunder Indigenous Rugby program is getting ready to soar and has its sights set on NZ for an August 2023 tour. They will be taking 28 players, representing a U18 boys team and an U18 girls team. The teams will get to experience rugby where it is an integral part of the culture and our youth will get to learn more about the Maori culture. The trip is set for August 13th to August 28th and we encourage supporters to follow us on social media to get updates and support our fundraising initiatives, Facebook at /ThunderIndigenousRugby, Instagram at /thunder_rugby and Twitter at /ThunderRugbyCA

John Lyall, Kwakwaka’wakw, Director of Thunder Rugby

“Going to New Zealand with our Thunder rugby team is a dream come true.  Confidence in who we are and where we come from is a key component of Thunder Rugby, and Aotearoa embodies cultural pride and rugby ethos. Our youth accepted the challenge of our 2022 California tour and came back the better for it, on and off the field, and made some lifelong friends doing so! We will continue to use the philosophy of Numwayut, or we are all one to guide us!”

Bobby Ross, Songhees Nation, Thunder Rugby Board member, and former Canada national team player

“A rugby tour embodies everything that is good about sport. You bond with team mates and make friends for life. You get to test yourself against great players and absorb their culture. It is a soul and life enriching experience.” 

Player quotes from 2022 Tour

– Thanks @thunder_rugby for inviting me to go play in California it’s was a fun trip.
– Got to play some good rugby with some good people thanks @thunder_rugby for the experience.
– I’m absolutely ecstatic to have been given the opportunity to play in the LA sevens thanks to @thunder_rugby and all of the coaching staff, as well as the friends I made along the way.
– I enjoyed making new relationships with so many people and learning the songs (Hych’ka Siem).

Parent quotes from 2022 Tour

– THANK YOU for giving these kids the time of their lives!!!
– Well, my kiddo is home. He had an amazing time! So many memories and so many new friends (or family as he calls them). We are extremely grateful. Much love.
– Thank you again for having M join you on this amazing trip. So many incredible memories were made that will never be forgotten.  


In 2022 the Thunder program had initially planned their NZ tour but with COVID worries still lingering they dialed it back a bit and had a very successful tour to California where they took part in the LA 7s Invitational tournament. It was Thunder’s first international tour. The tour covered 14 days and included 39 players organized into two Under 18 boys teams, one Under 18 girls team and one Under 16 girls team. Accompanying the players were 11 support staff including coaches, managers, and parent chaperones. The teams played in two tournaments, competing in over 36 games of Rugby 7s. Players came from across BC and Western Canada. Vancouver Island communities of Comox, Cowichan, Victoria, Saanich, Colwood, Langford, Shawnigan, and Nanaimo were represented. On the Lower Mainland players came from Abbotsford, Surrey, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Langley, and Squamish. Further afield players came from Kamloops, Fort St. John, Calgary and Winnipeg. Indigenous representation on tour included Gitga’at First Nation, Kwakwaka’wakw, Haida, Nuu-Chah-Nulth, Gitxsan First Nation, Rolling River First Nation, Cree Metis, Sto Lo First Nation, Squamish First Nation, Sumas First Nation, Saanich First Nation, Inuvialuit, Cowichan First Nation, Lilwat First Nation, and Tl’etinqox First Nation.

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