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Sector Update

27 July 2023

27 July 2023

Kia ora tatou,  

It’s fair to say football fever has taken hold across Aotearoa now the FIFA Women’s World Cup has kicked off. It was a privilege to be part of the opening match between the Football Ferns and Norway at Eden Park where not only did we set a new record for the biggest crowd to watch a football match ever, but also put in a great performance to grab our first world cup win. While the game on Tuesday was a tough result despite a valiant performance, it sets the stage for another big match against Switzerland on Sunday to try and qualify for the knockout stages. I’m sure we’ll all continue to get behind this amazing group of wāhine toa. I’d also like to thank everyone across all the host cities who have been doing a great job to activate around the games and provide a great fan experience for everyone involved.  

Away from the football, we recently held our annual Connections Conference in Auckland on Monday and Tuesday where sector leaders came together to connect and discuss shared challenges. The theme this year centred around climate change and the part our sector can play in mitigating and adapting to the impacts we’re seeing. It’s a big topic, and a confronting one at times, but we heard some great insight from experts to consider in our future planning together as a sector. For those not at Connections this year, we will be sharing a range of articles summarising the keynote speakers to share these insights.  

We also held the 2023 New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards. This is always a proud evening, seeing and hearing about all the mahi happening across the motu which is making a real difference for tamariki and rangatahi wellbeing through physical activity. It was an honour to be part of the evening and to witness some special stories and celebrate the great leadership we have across the whole sector. A huge thank you to everyone who was nominated, chosen as a finalist and our winners.  

That’s all for now. Thank you for your continued mahi, stay well and go the Football Ferns!

Nga mihi, 
Raelene Castle   


Active NZ 2022 - Changes in Participation results now available

Findings from the first report of the Active NZ 2022 survey are available from today. 

The Changes in Participation report, one of two which come from the Active NZ survey, showed us that COVID-19 continues to have an impact on people’s participation in physical activity. While access to organised physical activity in 2021 was disrupted due to lockdowns and access to opportunities, 2022 saw less people able to be active through COVID sickness and subsequent isolation periods. 

We saw positive trends in 2022 for tamariki (ages 5 to 11), whose weekly participation has returned to pre-COVID levels. Weekly participation for rangatahi (ages 12 to 17) has not returned to pre-COVID levels, with poorer results on the key participation statistics in 2022 compared with 2021. Participation levels for adults also fell, although their appetite to increase their participation, and the value they place on being active, are at the highest levels seen since the Active NZ survey began.

The full Changes in Participation report, along with comprehensive national data tables, can be accessed here

The Updating the Participation Landscape report will be available on the website by the end of August 2023. This report explores selected results from 2022 through the lenses of age, gender, ethnicity, deprivation, and disability.

Additional resources, including technical reports and regional data tables, will also be published throughout August as they become available.

New Report: Sport Media and Gender Study

The third annual report from the Sport NZ-Isentia study of gender balance in sports news coverage is out today. 2022 was another big year of positive change that reflects dedicated efforts being made by media, broadcasters, sports, athletes and others to improve the visibility of female athletes and teams in sports news media. 

Highlights from this year’s report:

  • Women’s sport now accounts for 28% of all sports news coverage (up from 21% in 2021 and 15% in 2020). This represents another huge improvement in 12 months, and it’s great to see this is up across all major media outlets. 
  • This means New Zealand is now seven times the global average of 4% for media coverage of women’s sport. 
  • Visibility of females in sports news coverage (whether that’s athletes, coaches, administrators or fans) has risen from 19% to 26%. 
  • The visibility of women in the top three sports that generate the most overall coverage (Rugby, Cricket and Football) has grown significantly, with the three codes averaging 21% in 2022 – compared to 11% in 2021.

There is more work to be done to achieve gender equity in sport, but it’s fantastic to see this data continuing to trend upwards in Aotearoa.
Read the report and check out the infographic.

Banner for the media and gender study 2022

Sport and Recreation 2023 Awards

On Monday, Sport NZ recognised the winners of this year’s New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards as part of its annual conference in Auckland. 

Around 300 people, including leaders from across the sector, gathered at the Cordis Hotel in Auckland to acknowledge and congratulate the winners, all of whom are instrumental in supporting New Zealanders to be physically active. 

The awards night coincides with Sport NZ’s Connections Conference, which is held annually for sector leaders.

Sport NZ received a record 65 entries across eight categories for the awards. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners! Check out the highlights video from the evening here.

The New Zealand Sport and Recreation Award winners for 2023 are: 

  • COMMERCIAL PARTNERSHIP: Surf Lifesaving NZ + Restaurant Brands
  • COMMUNITY IMPACT - LOCAL/COMMUNITY: Sport Auckland – Play Festival (See this video to find out more.)
  • COMMUNITY IMPACT – REGIONAL/NATIONAL: Mitre 10 New Zealand – Helping Hands: Project Playground
  • SUZIE SIMCOCK FUTURE LEADERS' SCHOLARSHIP: Kuruho Wereta — Recreation Aotearoa
  • C.K. DOIG LEADERSHIP AWARD: Nic Cavanagh – Snow Sports NZ


  • Grant Quinn – Services to Special Olympics
  • Celia Patrick ONZM – Services to Tennis
  • Bob Leveloff MNZM – Services to Softball.

You can find out more about the winners in our media release.

An image from the Sport and Recreation Awards 2023


Skateboarding performance community survey 

HPSNZ and AUT (Auckland University of Technology) are researching skateboarding performance and understanding the needs of the New Zealand skateboarding community. To achieve this, they have partnered with Skateboarding New Zealand to conduct an online survey which can be found here. The team at AUT are looking to provide valuable insights, and the broader the audience, the more accurate and representative their finding will be. The team at AUT are looking to provide valuable insights, and the broader the audience, the more accurate and representative their findings will be. If you know of anyone who may be interested, please share away. 

Banner for a skateboarding research request from AUT


Helping girls get and stay active: Shift Foundation changes gears to focus on sustainability

Embracing a co-design approach, the Shift Foundation worked with young women, local communities and schools to deliver a wide range of programmes tailored to the needs of young women across the Wellington region. Key to their success was planning activities with young women (not just delivering ‘to’ them), enabling them to engage and lead. And keeping true to their name, they knew when to shift their strategy to make an even bigger impact.

​​​​​​​Read the story.

Group of wahine wearing SHIFT Foundation tshirts


Dr Rod Carr: Sport's challenge in climate change mitigation

In the face of increasing climate chaos, hope is not a strategy. And for a sport and recreation sector already feeling the impacts of severe weather events, ignorance is no longer an excuse for inaction.  

Those were the hard-hitting home truths delivered by Climate Change Commission Chair Dr Rod Carr as he delivered the opening keynote address at Connections 2023.This year’s Conference had a focus on climate change and what we as a sector can do to mitigate and adapt to the impacts.
The sport and recreation sector’s ability to engage, activate and influence meant it had a vital role to play mitigating the effect of global warming.

Find out more in this first keynote speaker article from Connections 2023. For those who didn’t attend this year’s Conference, we will be sharing a range of articles summarising the keynote speakers from the event here.


Rural Travel Fund

Since 2003, the Sport NZ Rural Travel Fund has existed to support school-age tamariki and rangatahi living in rural isolation to participate in organised school and team sport. The fund is distributed via the 35 smallest territorial authorities. Check out the infographic to see a snapshot of how this funding was distributed in 2021 and 2022.


Neighbourhood Play System reports

Two weeks ago, the topic of the day was Neighbourhood Play System (NPS) reports. The play leads at Regional Sports Trusts around the country are creating reports to understand if there are sufficient play opportunities for tamariki in their neighbourhoods and where other opportunities could be explored. 

The purpose of the project is to gather insights, and workshop with tamariki at schools to get a feel for:

  • what the current state of play is
  • what they love about play in their neighbourhood
  • what they want to see more of
  • how we can (as adult decision-makers) increase opportunities for play for our tamariki.

We're excited to see what this group of play advocates can do with all the information gathered on the day.

Check out some NPS reports, with more to be completed this year.

Group of people sitting on or around a couch

Have your say: Code of Integrity for Sport and Recreation. 

The Integrity Transition Programme (ITP) team is working to establish the Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission – an independent Crown entity intended to enhance integrity within sport and recreation.

The ITP has been tasked with developing a set of common integrity standards - a Code of Integrity for Sport and Recreation, which will form the cornerstone of the sector’s integrity system.

The ITP has developed a survey to capture the views of the sport and recreation community. 

If you haven’t already, you can complete the survey here or visit

Please feel free to share the link to the survey - which closes on August 10 within your networks.
ITP team is also seeking participants to join in focus groups as part of the Code development process. This is a great chance to help shape the Code. 

There’s more information on the ITP website – and if joining the focus groups interests you - register here or please share the opportunity with your network. 


Incorporated Societies Act 2022 and Regulations 

As previously advised, Sport NZ recommends taking a coordinated, approach to the updating of constitutions. There is no need to urgently complete the re-registration process, which opens on 5 October 2023, as it doesn’t close until 5 April 2026. Societies continue to operate under the current 1908 Act until re-registration. There will be more support offered around this including various templates and checklists for organisations as well as webinars (the first of these being held in September) so keep an eye out.  

This approach will help us make the most of our collective insights and, where possible, minimise the cost of compliance and providing sufficient time for societies to consider good governance and other changes concurrently.  

Please continue to reach out to your partnership managers, or email, if you have any questions or feedback as we go. We are particularly interested in how we might collectively support our smaller societies including our 7,500 clubs.


Charities Act 2023 changes

The new Act is coming into force in stages over the next 12 months with key changes summarised here.

The regulations, once completed, will provide additional detail e.g. requirement for a governance review and definitions for a “qualified charitable entity” that can provide “minimum financial information” to Charities Services.


Sector Board Appointment Support Available

A reminder that the whole of Sport, Recreation and Play Sector can access free advertising for Governance Appointments through Appoint Better Boards. To place a vacancy, Boards need to visit here and use discount code: SNZ100 to get the Basic advertisement free of charge.

In addition, we have two online presentations that provide contemporary governance insights and practical advice. 

  1.  Is your board appealing to women? 
  2.  How to appoint exceptional board members.

If you require an accessible version of any content on the site please contact us and we will be happy to assist.

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