Sport NZ has today launched a new Strategic Plan (2015-20) aimed at ensuring New Zealand remains one of the world’s most successful sporting nations.
Sport NZ Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin says New Zealand currently 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 our size. But 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 sets us up both 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 any others 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.”
The Strategic Plan also includes continuing support for major and mega-events, facility planning and development, improving sector capability and cross-government sport integrity work.
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.
“To meet the growing challenge of retaining and growing participation, a step change in thinking and approach is required across Community Sport. High Performance Sport NZ already has a strategy in place through to 2020 which is ensuring we have a world-leading high performance system. This new Community Sport Strategy will do the same for Community Sport. It will ensure high numbers of adults and kids continue to participate, and that we continue to have a wide pipeline of talent through to high performance,” Miskimmin says.
Sport NZ’s General Manager of Community Sport Geoff Barry says the Community Sport 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.”
For more information contact:
Sport NZ Senior Advisor, Media and Communications
(021) 834 397
What is the vision of the Sport NZ Group Strategic Plan 2015-20?
The Strategic Plan states a clear, compelling vision for the future – for New Zealand to be the world’s most successful sporting nation. This means not only sustaining what we currently have in terms of participation and high performance success, but delivering bigger, better outcomes for sport and for the country. To do this, we need to ensure we have a world-leading sport system.
What challenges does our sport system face?
New Zealand has high rates of participation in sport and recreation by both young people and adults, and an enviable record of winning on the world stage. It all stems from the way sport is ingrained in our culture and the sporty childhood enjoyed by Kiwi kids.
But the sporting heritage generations of Kiwis have been fortunate to inherit is under threat from societal changes and global trends towards inactivity. The face of New Zealand is changing. The way people want to engage in sport is changing. And winning on the world stage is getting harder and more expensive. We believe if we don’t act now, our sporting culture, and all of the benefits it provides to New Zealand and New Zealanders, could be lost.
What is different from the last strategy?
This Strategic Plan still focuses on getting more Kiwis, especially kids, into sport, and producing more winners on the world stage. But we’re making changes to the way we do it. We recognise that we need to meet the changing needs of participants, so we will focus on demand – what today’s participants want – rather than what the sport system has traditionally supplied. And we will prioritise our work around the areas of the sport system that can best impact participation and winning.
We also now have an over-arching Strategic Plan which covers all areas of the Sport NZ Group’s work – young people, adults and elite athletes – and within that a High Performance Strategy 2013-20 (led by High Performance Sport NZ) and a Community Sport Strategy 2015-20. These two ‘delivery arms’ of the business will be supported by a Group Strategic Support team which will lead areas including support for major and mega events, facility planning, investment and development, improving sector capability and cross-government sport integrity work.
What are the focus areas?
There are four focus areas:
- Young people – ensuring all Kiwi kids 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.
- Local delivery of sport, especially in low-participation communities – ensuring clubs, councils, schools, families and all those involved in the local delivery of sport working more closely together.
- Competitive sport – ensuring the traditional structures of sport are strong to sustain and grow participation.
- Continuing to drive high performance outcomes and achieve more winning on the world stage, through High Performance Sport NZ.
Q&As for the launch of the community sport strategy 2015-20
What is the focus of the new Community Sport Strategy 2015-2020?
The new Community Sport Strategy signals a step change for Sport NZ in the way it helps drive the delivery of community sport.
The strategy is aimed at building a stronger information base for future investment and planning to foster the growth of sport in the community and to better align our resources with regional investors and stakeholders. It will also see more cross-government engagement and collaboration (e.g. Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health), and will be focused on a system-led, participant-centred approach.
We will continue to have a strong focus on young people and schools and to work with our partners to both sustain and grow traditional sport structures and pathways, as these are the backbone of our sports system. Additionally, we will focus on improving local delivery of sport, particularly in communities where participation is low.
While the change is not revolutionary, it does signal Sport NZ’s determination to play a more decisive leadership role in community sport.
How will it impact the way Sport NZ currently invests in community sport?
Sport NZ will continue to place importance on National Sports Organisations for their strategic leadership role, especially in building and maintaining competitive sporting pathways and talent development. It is anticipated that NSOs will continue to be key partners.
Similarly, RSTs are important as they offer a breadth of delivery across sports, support pathways locally and regionally, and are critical to reaching our priority markets of school-aged children and low-participation communities.
We will also be seeking greater alignment of resources with regional investors and stakeholders, who invest heavily in community sport.
The new strategy will lead to some changes in how we invest in community sport, and we will work closely with our partners over the next few months to understand their value proposition through the lens of the new strategy. Investment with many partners is already in place for the 2015/16 year. In April/May we will be providing Investment Guidelines as a basis for conversations around investment levels for 2016/2017 and beyond. Those decisions will be announced by November.
When does the strategy come into effect?
The strategy formally comes into effect on 1 July 2015, but many of the core pieces of work involved are already underway.
What will the roll-out involve?
Following the public launch of the new Community Sport Strategy there will be opportunities for the sector to discuss in more detail with Sport NZ how the strategies will be implemented. This includes a mix of existing opportunities and targeted forums with NSOs, RSTs, TAs, recreation organisations, key funders and government agencies from April and May.