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Sport NZ and Variety NZ announce a further $5.5 million

to help whānau living in financial hardship

03 April 2023

sportnz and variey logoSport NZ, in partnership with Variety NZ – the Children’s Charity, has announced it will invest a further $5.5 million into the Active Me – Kia Tū fund.  The fund helps tamariki and rangatahi living in financial hardship to access quality opportunities for play, active recreation and sport.

The Active Me - Kia Tū initiative was set up as a pilot two years ago to support tamariki and rangatahi in Northland and Auckland, through Variety’s Kiwi Kid Sponsorship programme.  

The pilot project has helped reduce the financial barriers to physical activity for more than 5000 young people, with more than $1.8 million spent on new equipment, fees, shoes, uniforms and other costs associated with helping them to access quality physical activity.

The extension of the pilot will help broaden the benefits across Aotearoa New Zealand, with up to 10,000 children set to reap the rewards of being physically active over the next two years.

Sport NZ Tamariki Lead, Karen Laurie, says the extension is great news, as the research shows there are barriers to being active in communities that experience high deprivation.* The findings from the pilot evaluations show the fund has been successful in reducing those barriers, enabling children to participate in sport and other physical activities.

“Participation in physical activity by the tamariki and rangatahi supported by the fund has increased,” she says. “The young people and their whānau have told us about the real benefits they have experienced, such as physical development, increased confidence, independence, social skills, connecting with friends and community, and emotional and mental wellbeing.

“The fund is flexible and empowers young people and their parents to make their own choices, based on their needs and interests. When they can be active in ways that have meaning to them, it builds their motivation and confidence to continue being active, which gives them all the wider value that being active can offer.”

The alliance with Sport NZ is Variety NZ’s largest investment partnership and chief executive Susan Glasgow says she is thrilled that the Active Me – Kia Tū pilot has been extended.

“When finances are limited, caregivers prioritise immediate needs such as food, clothing and bedding,” she says. “Costs for physical activity are seen as an extra nice-to-have, but not being able to take part in activities can cause added stress for both caregivers and children.

“A key aspect of Variety’s Kiwi Kid Sponsorship is that children and caregivers can choose what they need or what they want to do.

“We look forward to continuing to assist tamariki and rangatahi across the motu by removing those financial barriers, so they have the opportunity to take part in physical activities that they enjoy.”

The partnership with Variety NZ is the first time Sport NZ has linked with a charity, and the collaboration has forged a greater understanding of the issues and challenges faced by tamariki and rangatahi living in financial hardship.

“The pilot enabled us to test a different approach - partnering with an agency that has existing reach, expertise, experience and importantly, established relationships with those we are wanting to support,” says Karen Laurie.

“Building on Variety’s existing programme - Kiwi Kid Sponsorship - means the support gets directly to those who need it most and is improving the wellbeing of young people and their families.”


*Active NZ 2022 insight: Young people from high deprivation areas participate in fewer sports and activities each week compared with young people from low deprivation areas: high dep 4.8 compared with 5.1 low dep.​​​​​​​Link to full research report here.

Notes to the editor:
The Active Me – Kia Tū fund is part of the Individual Hardship Fund, which came out of the Government’s four-year $265 million Sport NZ Recovery Package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Link to the evaluation findings from the Active Me – Kia Tū pilot here.

About Sport NZ  
A Crown agency, Sport New Zealand is the kaitiaki of the play, active recreation and sport system in Aotearoa New Zealand. It invests in and partners with organisations which contribute to the wellbeing of New Zealanders by providing quality experiences to be physically active. 

About Variety – the Children’s Charity 
Variety provides targeted and flexible support to children and young people across New Zealand, working alongside schools, community agencies, social workers and healthcare professionals to identify Kiwi kids in need. Variety programmes provide funding for essentials (such as warm bedding and school uniforms), access to extra-curricular activities (such as school camp or swimming lessons, and one-off support for additional needs (such as medical and mobility equipment).  Variety is registered with the New Zealand Charities Commission and part of Variety International, a global organisation with 44 offices in 13 countries. For more information, go to

Media contact:
Michelle Pickles
Group Media Manager
021 833 244

Kathryn Calvert
Communications Manager
Variety NZ
021 085 34114

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