Former Bay of Plenty Steamers and North Harbour representative Rodney Voullaire has switched allegiances from Rangataua to Mount Maunganui after spending the best part of a decade coaching abroad.
Standing on the main beach at the base of Mauao, poised to put his side through some more pre-season paces, Voullaire said forming a connection to the area and sponsors was imperative.
"It's all part of it. From the Maori side of things, Mauao is part of their heritage and we live right on its door step, and for them to get an understanding of why it's here is important," he said.
"We play for it, it's on our jerseys, and to the Bay of Plenty itself it's such an important part of who we are as Mounties.
"It's the best training ground - every time you go up there it doesn't get a lot easier. We are keen to show what we can do around here, and getting our name out there among our people is part of that."
In a club rugby environment shorn of financial rewards, Voullaire believes creating a strong coaching environment was the best way to attract and keep key players.
"We've really opened our doors to everyone out there to say that we are here to try to get the best coaching possible. There's no money in club rugby, so we've got to create the best environment, culture and hopefully the best coaching."
Voullaire, who has returned from coaching stints in Italy and Scotland, keeps in regular contact with Steamers coach Kevin Schuler in an effort to produce players suitable for provincial rugby.
"I know what it's like to bleed in the Bay jersey and I love it.
"For these boys to realise what it's all about is key."
He admits leading the Mount club requires a change in thinking.
"For so long I've been playing against them and you just want to rip their heads off. All of a sudden I'm with them which is great.
"I understand how to try to beat the Mount, but now I'm on that side so we are trying to coordinate the two, which is good for us."
The club's future looks bright if the numbers attracted to pre-season training are any guide.