Sports has been an intense passion for Thomas for as long as he can remember. It was something that used to define him, and now it shapes him. Thomas is passionate about sport, passionate about business, passionate about developing culture and developing people.
The impact sports had on his childhood has inspired him to “create stronger individuals and communities by enabling the opportunity for personal development through access to sport and other activities”. He did this by creating The Waterboy, an organisation that gives kiwi youth the opportunity to be exposed to sports.
Through The Waterboy, Thomas works with children who want to participate in sport but don’t have the opportunity, and don’t have the option to watch sports at a professional level. He explained that many young kiwis don’t have the opportunity to gain inspiration from professional players, because they don’t have the means to watch them play.
“There is a growing wealth disparity gap in New Zealand and as a result, we are seeing fundamental development opportunities such as sport, become inaccessible for younger generations.”
This lack of access means they can be less likely to develop the same drive and inspiration for sports. This can result in children leaving sports earlier, and missing out on the characteristics they can develop. However, he believes when they do stay, it can have an immense impact on their lives both on and off the field.
The characteristics he gained through sports including respect, discipline, emotional and interpersonal skills can be applied in all aspects of life.
“Out there on the rugby field, there was no prejudice – no social, racial, language or cultural inequalities. It was a test of your character, humility, preparation, cooperation and skill – That’s what mattered. I was learning the meaning of comradery.”
Thomas and his team aim to help as many New Zealanders seek the benefits of participating in sport to create stronger people and communities. He wants to make the world a better place and help young kiwis form lifelong memories through sports like he has.