20 Mar 2015

Sport NZ launch strategic plan

9:40 am on 20 March 2015

Sport NZ has launched a new Strategic Plan (2015-2020) aimed at ensuring New Zealand remains one of the world's most successful sporting nations.

New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams with the gold medal at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Poland.

New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams with the gold medal at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Poland. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Chief executive Peter Miskimmin says New Zealand has high rates of participation in sport and recreation by both adults and young people, and an enviable record of winning on the world stage for a country of its size.

However he is sounding a warning for the future.

"New Zealand has a proud sporting heritage which stems from generations of Kiwis enjoying a wonderful, playful upbringing."

"This both sets us up for a lifelong love of sport and recreation and fuels our high performance system."

"But we know that things are changing and we can't assume we will always be a sporty, active nation."

"Young people have increasingly sedentary lifestyles."

"Urbanisation and other societal trends are changing the way Kiwis participate."

"Technology is changing the way people interact with each other and people are fitting sport into increasingly busy lives."

"These are challenges for everyone in the sports sector, and we have to work hard if we are to preserve our sporting heritage."

Miskimmin says the new Strategic Plan responds to these challenges, focusing on four key areas.

"The first focus area is young people. We can't afford to lose a generation of kids. So our goal is to ensure they all gain a love of physical activity and sport at an early age, from which they are more likely to enjoy lifelong participation in sport and gain all the benefits that come with it."

"The second area is strengthening the local delivery of sport, especially in low-participation communities. We want to get clubs, councils, schools, families and all those involved in the local delivery of sport working more closely together."

"Thirdly, we will focus on ensuring our traditional competition pathways remain strong. Many Kiwis still take part in sport through competitions organised by clubs and schools, so we need to make sure those are operating well."

"And fourthly, we will continue to drive high performance outcomes and achieve more winning on the world stage, through the great work of High Performance Sport NZ."

Miskimmin says the key to driving more participation and more winning on the world stage is a better understanding of the changing needs of participants.

"Our research tells us that what the sport system has traditionally offered is no longer meeting the needs of many people. So we are putting participants at the heart of our decision-making."

As part of today's announcement Sport NZ is also launching a new Community Sport Strategy.

Sport NZ's General Manager of Community Sport Geoff Barry says the strategy is the culmination of five years of learning from evidence and research both here and overseas.

"We've engaged with people in our own sport sector, and with our international counterparts."

"We've seen that in many other parts of the world, including Australia, participation is declining."

"We can't afford to be caught asleep at the wheel."