I've taught Afrikaans to students at all levels of proficiency for more than 20 years. Even now, I have a number of Afrikaans learners in the US, Europe and even China who are learning Afrikaans from scratch.
I would imagine that, coming from New Zealand, you would probably have a little more opportunity to practice Afrikaans, since so many South African ex-pats are now living in NZ and Australia. As far as I know there are a number of writing clubs, educational groups, church groups and other Afrikaans community gatherings that I would be happy to introduce you to if you don't know of them already.
I have a fun beginner level Afrikaans course that you can try out with a first trial lesson, and then decide from there whether you would like to do the programme.
Have a look at my teacher profile and let me know when you would like to schedule the first lesson. I'm sure your Afrikaans family in South Africa will be very impressed if they see the dedication with which you are tackling this project.
ITts probably best not to talk about rugby right now (hahaha) but will certainly be on your side with all your Afrikaans language needs.