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Former All Black just like us!

The Rugby World Cup was an exciting time for all New Zealanders. But for a group of Auckland boys, it was made even more exciting thanks to the kindness of former All Black, ROYCE WILLIS.


The five boys had the opportunity to meet, hang out and pass and kick a rugby ball with Royce on the eve of the Rugby World Cup Final, which also happened to be International Stuttering Awareness Day. RYAN JAMES, 8; MITCHELL ORCHARD, 8; WILLIAM MISSEN, 9; BEN TAYLOR, 8, and ALEXANDER GODWARD, 7 – all share something in common with Royce. They all face the challenge of stuttering when they speak.

Royce, who made five appearances in the 1999 Rugby World Cup All Blacks campaign, wanted to meet the boys so he could pass on some important messages to them and at the same time, help other people to understand stuttering.

Royce told the boys that they shouldn't let stuttering stop them from feeling confident and achieving their goals. "I know that having a stutter can really rock your confidence, especially when you are young. But I also know that having a stutter does not have to hold you back from achieving your dreams. The boys are all receiving speech language therapy from START – the Stuttering Treatment and Research Trust, a NZ specialist stuttering treatment centre. Royce is an ambassador for START.

The boys had an "awesome' day with Royce, which started off with a chat over ice-cream and ended up with some rugby ball passes and kicks.

What is stuttering?


What you need to know:

  • Stuttering severity often varies from situation to situation.

  • Stuttering is not caused by nerves.

  • Stuttering is not linked to low intelligence.

  • Stuttering is not caused by parents.

  • Stuttering is not caused by copying someone else who stutters.

  • There is no cure for stuttering. There are treatments though to help children and adults manage their stuttering.

  • Stuttering and stammering mean the same thing. "Stammering" is the word often used in Britain; "stuttering" is commonly used in New Zealand, Australia and America.

  • Stuttering is not caused by a traumatic event like being bitten by a dog, or having an operation, or parents separating. A child is more likely to stutter if they have a family member who stutters.

What should I do when listening to someone who stutters?

  • Be patient.

  • Show interest in what is being said ather than how it is being said.

  • Keep normal eye contact while the person who stutters is speaking. In general it is better not to finish their words and sentences for them.

For more information about START, go to www.stuttering.co.nz or phone 09 379 6364.

Did you know? People who stutter when they talk can often sing without stuttering.There is no known reason for this but experts believe the rhythm and tune of singing has something to do with it.

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