6 Dec 2015

Does NZ risk losing its sporting reputation?

1:12 pm on 6 December 2015

New Zealand is at risk of losing its reputation as a leading sporting nation, says a leading British sports administrator and sports educationalist.

Baroness Sue Campbell, a former physical education teacher and the former chair of UK Sport, will address a Sport New Zealand coaching conference in Auckland this weekend which will be attended by 600 coaches.

Baroness Campbell is credited with masterminding Great Britain's record medal at the 2012 London Olympics and in 2013 was voted among Britain's 100 most powerful women by the BBC.

Baroness Sue Campbell

Baroness Sue Campbell Photo: Supplied

New Zealand children have been ranked among the most active in the world but as a nation New Zealand is ranked third highest in the world in child obesity.

"Our populations are changing and we have got to be aware that people have very different backgrounds and heritage and have a very different view of what sport could be and should be in their lives," she said.

"New Zealand has a wonderful sporting heritage and sport is a big part of young people's lives but ..even (New Zealand) is seeing a dropping off of people coming to the traditional sporting offers."

"So it's about what do we need to do to make children more physically active? And why does that matter? Well it matters because being physically and emotionally well gives you a better chance in life."

"We have a growing number of kids who live a sedentary lifestyle, spend too much time in front of screens and eat the wrong food....so we need to talk to them and adapt so that we get a lot more of those kids who are sedentary and having problems with obesity back into sport."

Baroness Campbell said ultimately this problem will impact New Zealand's sporting heritage.

"There are two big issues. One is you want a healthy nation...but you also want to create a platform to give your nation pride and prestige around the world."

"I mean the success of the All Blacks is legendary. We saw more kids wearing All Black shirts in England (during the world cup) than we did England jerseys, so you create legendary role models but if we don't feed the bottom of that pyramid eventually you won't be achieving the same results," she said.