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Sector Update

31 May 2024

31 May 2024

Kia ora koutou,    

As we head into winter, I hope you’re finding ways to keep moving... one of the less celebrated benefits of physical activity is that it also helps you keep warm!

For Sport NZ, the last few weeks have focussed on our youth, which is appropriate given our strategic vision and goals.

Last week we celebrated Youth Week, which is a reminder to us all of the benefits of listening to our young people, celebrating them, and supporting them to lead. We released our Voice of Rangatahi Report, which provides a picture of how rangatahi engaged in physical activity in 2023. Read more on that below.

Sport NZ’s Graduate Programme is now taking applications. It’s a personal highlight of mine, getting to meet our new graduates every year, while at the same time watching as those in their second year get hands-on experience through their selected placements across the sector. If you know of any university leavers who have a passion for our sector, be sure to encourage them to apply.

And earlier this week, I was lucky enough to join many of our partners at the annual Youth Sport Hui, where we came together to share insights and ideas on providing quality sport experiences to our young sporting participants. I know all those who attended will have come away feeling energised and inspired. Thank you for the critical role you all play in providing quality sport opportunities for our young people.

In other news, the Minister of Finance, Hon Nicola Willis, delivered the coalition Government’s first budget yesterday. No doubt you tuned into the key messages of the announcement. Like all Government agencies, Sport NZ was asked at the start of the year to deliver budget savings as part of Budget ’24. For Vote Sport and Recreation, a budget reduction target of 7.5% was assigned.

Alongside the work required to achieve these reduction targets, Sport NZ Group has been refreshing its strategy for the next four years. Our commitment to the sector, and our key strategic outcomes, made it crucial that we sustained partner investment and funding to key community-facing initiatives. High Performance Sport NZ is equally focussed on delivering the support needed to NSO partners, athletes, coaches and teams as the preparation for Paris enters the final stages, and as we look ahead to the Los Angeles investment cycle.

As a result, Group budget savings across 2024-28 will largely come from operational cutbacks, headcount reductions, and narrowing our investment portfolio to more closely align to strategy. For HPSNZ, ongoing work will be needed to downsize programmes and campaigns into the future, in line with what will be a challenging financial reality. Our work to simplify and streamline operational processes to support the sector in their mahi remains a key focus.

There is much to look forward to with the Olympics and Paralympics just around the corner. All the best to the athletes, coaches and support staff with your final preparations and to the rest of us who will be supporting proudly from our lounge rooms.

Ngā mihi, 


Read about the latest news across Aotearoa.

Applications now open for the Sport NZ Graduate Programme 2025  

We’re calling on graduates from across Aotearoa who are keen to make a real difference in sport and active recreation and help drive the new Sport NZ strategy.  

We would love your help promoting this opportunity throughout the sector and to any young person who may be interested. 

The two-year programme, starting in January 2025, is focused on supporting future leaders and helping to kickstart young people’s careers in sport and active recreation. We offer opportunities for graduates to be involved in many aspects of our work – from research and investment to education, communications and programme delivery. 

Successful graduates are mentored by a Sport NZ staff member over the course of the programme and undertake placements at organisations of their choice in the second year.  

Apply on the Sport NZ Careers Website. Applications close 5 July. 

There are two online Q&A sessions for prospective applicants who want to learn more: 

  • Tuesday 4 June at 3.00pm: with 2024 graduate Cheycoda Cocks and her Sport NZ advisor Bria Sargent. 
  • Thursday 20 June at 12.00pm: with 2024 graduate Nathan Kenah and his Sport NZ advisor Ed Bartley.  

Register for the webinars

Inaugural Board of Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission announced 

Cabinet have agreed to recommend the appointment of nine people to the Board of the new Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission. Sport and Recreation Minister Hon Chris Bishop said, “I am confident that the inaugural Board’s collective experience, knowledge and mana will ensure the Commission provides the best support and protection for Kiwis who take part in recreation and sport at any level in New Zealand, from preschool swimming lessons to wearing the Fern on the international stage”.  

The Commission will be established 1 July 2024 and work independently across the sport and recreation sector to promote and protect the safety and wellbeing of participants. Drug Free Sport New Zealand and its anti-doping functions will be folded into the Commission. Read the release and bios of each appointee.  

Make sure you are aware of the work of the Commission and the role it will play supporting safety and fairness in sport and active recreation by signing up to regular updates. There is still an opportunity to contribute to the finalisation of a Code of Integrity for Sport and Recreation in coming months, so make sure you are on the list. 


Enhancing learning through te taiao 

At Te Kura o Te Muriwai in Gisborne Tairāwhiti, ākonga (students) are igniting their passion for learning through connecting with te taiao (the environment).  

The kura is one of 34 across the motu supported by Mātaiao, a kaupapa Māori initiative that runs parallel to the delivery of Healthy Active Learning. Underpinned by the wellbeing framework Atua Matua, Mātaiao is about supporting the reconnection of people with environmental knowledge through an indigenous lens to ultimately improve the wellbeing of tamariki and rangatahi.

Watch this video to understand more about what Mātaiao looks like in practice and the impact it is having. 

Active As: Enhancing rangatahi wellbeing and learning through physical activity 

Focused on increasing the physical activity levels of rangatahi, Active As is a new programme that supports secondary schools and wharekura to provide positive and inclusive active recreation and sport opportunities for their students. 

We know that physically active rangatahi achieve better in the classroom, and benefit physically, mentally and socially. But new research shows just a third of students in secondary schools enjoy being physically active at school, and satisfaction, along with participation, drops during their teenage years. 

Centred around the voice of rangatahi, Active As aims to enhance rangatahi wellbeing and learning through increased physical activity. Sport NZ has invested $14.2m and partnered with eight regional agencies, which will support over 40 secondary schools and wharekura to design and implement their own active recreation and sport initiatives through to December 2026.   

Watch this intro video featuring students from Māngere College and keep an eye out over the coming months for more information on how schools are implementing Active As across the country. 

Report: Technology and Youth Physical Activity Study  

Digital technology has fundamentally changed the way young people interact with the world, and Sport NZ wanted to know how we can better use technology to support the physical activity levels of rangatahi and groups that are less active.  

Sport NZ contracted Portas Consulting to complete the ‘Technology in Youth Physical Activity’ study and its findings will help guide our approach to this ever-changing environment. The study involved an international desktop review to investigate what digital technologies (for example, e-sports, apps, web-based content) are growing and have the potential to reach groups that are currently missing out. In doing so, Portas developed a “theory of change” that highlights the key mechanisms of technology (for example, gamification, socialisation) that are driving participation and how we might use technology in a more purposeful way in sport and recreation.  

To see key findings of the study, read the full report on our website.  If you have any questions or would like to discuss the findings, please contact Brent Sheldrake at:


Here are some stories from the community we didn’t want you to miss. 

He Oranga Poutama in Tāmaki Makaurau 

Kaiwhakahaere from He Oranga Poutama ki Tāmaki Makaurau, Leroy Paul shared his knowledge and expertise in taonga tākaro, to teach a five-week programme for ākonga (students), years one to eight at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Maungārongo, with funding support from Sport NZ’s He Oranga Poutama initiative. 

He Oranga Poutama is one of Sport NZ’s longest-standing initiatives that focuses on Māori wellbeing, ways of being and knowing, by improving participation and growing leadership through tākaro (play), active recreation and sport. 

Check out this video, showcasing the impact that He Oranga Poutama ki Tāmaki have had on both kaiako (teachers) and ākonga.

Community play and Local Play Advocates  

Gisborne Local Play Advocate, Katie Kennedy is helping Gisborne District Council consciously and positively impact play opportunities for Tairāwhiti tamariki and whānau. Find out more in this story about one of Katie’s favourite projects. 

Play Advisor, Manumea Durie worked with the residents of a quiet cul-de-sac in Palmerston North to make a Play Street a reality. Find out how easy it is to set up a Play Street and why playing in neighbourhoods is important. Read more in this Play Streets story.

Rangatahi leadership in the outdoors 

Tuia ki Tawhiti, the Collaborative Futures Fund was established to support outdoor education providers to develop collaborative projects that bring about sustainable and effective long-term change. As a recipient of the fund, Whenua Iti Outdoors has now delivered the Fostering Futures Project, which supported six rangatahi to gain the skills necessary to become outdoor instructors.  

The video showcases two of these rangatahi, Ebony and Taylor, and speaks to the opportunities and reciprocity of employing Rangatahi Māori in your organisation. This project speaks strongly to outcomes in the Sport NZ Active Recreation for Rangatahi Plan and Te Pākē o Ihi Aotearoa – the Māori Outcomes Framework. The programme provided trainee kaiako with culturally appropriate mentorship and training in Kaupapa Māori environments.

Watch the video.


Accessibility Hub: Supporting digital access and inclusion

Earlier this month we celebrated Global Accessibility Awareness Day by launching a new Accessibility Hub on our website with a suite of valuable resources and guidance on providing accessible information for diverse audiences. With one in four New Zealanders identifying as disabled, these resources help ensure everyone has access to information about play, active recreation and sport in ways that work for them. The topics on the hub support a range of roles across the sector—from delivering marketing and communications, organising events and making social media posts to creating documents and presentations and managing websites. 

In January 2022 Sport NZ signed the Ministry of Social Development’s Accessibility Charter in a commitment to ensuring our communications are accessible to all. Since then, we have progressively worked to improve accessibility of key communications channels like our website. Over the last year, we partnered with Aktive and Sport Canterbury and consulted with Access Advisors to develop a suite of resources relevant for the sector. A huge thank you to Aktive and Sport Canterbury for your ongoing collaboration and commitment to this mahi. 

Sport NZ is committed to best practice accessibility standards, however we acknowledge the accessibility of Sport NZ’s content is a work-in-progress and we will continuously work to improve in this space. These resources are a starting point for Sport NZ, and we hope they will be helpful for your mahi too. If you find them useful, please feel free to share wider with your networks, clubs and communities.  

Visit the new Accessibility Hub. If you have feedback or questions about the accessibility resources, please get in touch with the team here at


New resource to guide future of skate in Aotearoa

Councils told us they wanted more support to understand and overcome the challenges they face when it comes to skate provision. So, we created new guidelines highlighting the diversity of the skate community, with detailed guidance for councils to plan, fund, design, build and activate skate spaces in Aotearoa. The Skate Guidelines for Local Government are for councils, as well as anyone in the sector who engages with or is part of the skate community.


2024 Youth Sport Hui

The annual Youth Sport Hui was held at Bruce Pulman Arena on Tuesday 28 May, bringing together 200 sport development leaders from across Sport NZ’s partner network. The theme for the 2024 event was ‘Ka mua, ka muri – Walking backwards into the future’ with sessions and presentations drawing on how we can work together to improve youth sport over the next four years. In an opening address, Raelene challenged attendees to be brave in committing to changes for the betterment of rangatahi sport experiences. This challenge was reinforced later in the day from the panel of Dillon Boucher (CEO Basketball NZ), Laura Menzies (CEO Northern Region Football) and David Bovey (Rector, Palmerston North Boys High School).  

“We need to make brave decisions for the benefit of young people, even if some don’t always agree,” - Laura Menzies.

Active Recreation for Rangatahi – Impact Report   

In the previous strategic period, Sport NZ outlined rangatahi as a key focus group for active recreation and sport. In doing so, we aspired to reduce the drop off in activity levels of rangatahi aged 12-18 and increase levels of activity for those who are less active. 

To drive outcomes and coordinate efforts towards this, we developed the Active Recreation for Rangatahi Plan 2021-2024, utilising youth development and Sport NZ frameworks. Three years on, we’ve made significant progress in our goal to get more rangatahi active and increase understanding and knowledge of active recreation across our collective mahi. The results are outlined in the Active Recreation Impact Report.  

We would like to thank our partners and active recreation providers that have helped drive the outcomes as set out in the plan, and we are using the lessons learnt throughout this period to bring about positive change beyond this.

Image Credit: Talk Communication Image Credit: Talk Communication

Creating accessible and inclusive facilities 

Learn more about accessible and inclusive facilities, school facility partnerships, a sports and recreation hub, a mountain bike trail and more in new case studies added online (select ‘case study’ from the drop-down menu). Also check out this new guide to help organisations that are trying to embed a mātauranga Māori approach in the planning and development of spaces and places.   

Voice of Rangatahi Report 2023  

Last week, during Youth Week (20-26 May), Sport NZ published the Voice of Rangatahi (VoR) 2023 report along with an infographic that highlighted some of the most important findings:  

  • Over a third of students are highly satisfied with their in-school physical activity experiences, with satisfaction decreasing as students progress through secondary school.    
  • Students that are dissatisfied with their experiences are seeking physical activity to be more fun, varied, and supportive.  
  • Female students report lower levels of satisfaction and a greater number of barriers to participation in physical activity than their male peers.  

The VoR report is conducted in collaboration with the RSTs and the Regional Sport Directors network. Over 20,000 secondary school students across 105 schools were surveyed about their in-school physical activity experiences. Results data was given back to each of the participating organisations and schools to help inform plans and focus areas for programmes delivered in the coming year, to improve the experiences of rangatahi moving forward. 

Read the report on our website.


Governance Mark awarded to Sport Auckland and Sport Waitākere 

We’d like to congratulate Sport Auckland and Sport Waitākere for recently being awarded the Governance Mark, recognising good governance practice in the play, active recreation and sport sector. The Governance Mark is awarded to organisations that complete a process to show they have robust strategies and structures in place to best use their time and money.   

Sport Auckland Chair, Di Lasenby said, “The Board was thrilled to receive the accreditation after a long period of engagement and hard work. The process highlighted a couple of blind spots that the Board was able to remedy, but at the same time gave affirmation that most good governance processes and practices were already being followed.” 

Sport Waitākere Chair, Dr Katie Bruffy said, “We approached this process with the genuine intent to improve our governance practices and capabilities, significantly enhancing the long-term future of Sport Waitākere. The work on our Trust Deed, strategy, and all board processes and policies has proven immensely beneficial to our ability to govern effectively. Ultimately, this effort has helped us refine our role and the value we, as a board, can contribute to Sport Waitākere." 

This achievement is a reflection of both organisations' hard work and strong leadership in the sector. We encourage organisations in our sector to also set themselves the challenge of external governance evaluation and prioritising their board’s development, which only helps makes us all stronger. 

Redevelopment of the Governance Mark Programme

Following the initial launch of Governance Mark, and with newfound insights and feedback, the Governance Mark process has been redeveloped. 

No longer a lengthy, audit-based approach to governance (utilising only a document review and a Board self-evaluation survey), a more nuanced and principles-based development approach has been adopted, with a wider range of inputs to assessments. We now offer four programme options, which you can find out about on our website. 

Incorporated Societies Act (2022) and Regulations (2023)  

As work continues for many to update constitutions, you can source our available resources, including the link to the May 2024 webinar for NSOs, RSOs and Clubs.   

Questions can be sent to SportNZ Governance  

Charities Amendment Bill  

As previously advised the Charities Act 2005 (the Act) has been amended by the Charities Amendment Bill, which came into force on 5 July 2023. The key changes to be aware of can be found in this document on Sport NZ’s website, and on the Charities Act Change Hub. The changes include the requirement for charitable organisations to review their governance procedures every three years.  

Anti-Money Laundering and Customer Due Diligence  

There are new changes to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act. If you are asked by an institution such as your bank, fund manager, lawyer or accountant to complete a Customer Due Diligence (CDD), see this brief advisory that outlines the Act and its requirements. 

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