Back Issue 8: June 2018

29 June 2018


Welcome to our winter newsletter! 

You’ll notice this edition has a new look, which reflects Sport NZ’s new brand. Behind the new brand is the idea of ‘positive movement’. This is about putting new energy into what we do, creating great experiences for participants, and never standing still. This shift reflects all the work we’re doing to encourage a lifelong love of being physically active through activities people find fun and feel personally connected to.’s approach embodies this thinking – encouraging collaborative, creative physical activity at school and in the wider community. is young people focused, and the tangible and positive results it’s achieving can be seen at Māoribank School, where Ministers Grant Robertson and Chris Hipkins and myself visited last Friday – see the end of this update for images of our morning there.

Exciting news shared recently is that is being expanded into additional pilot sites in Invercargill and Hamilton. The emerging outcomes of the pilot are positive, and we want to see how other parts of the country could benefit. 

As a pilot, is all about trialling, responding and adapting. We hope that in sharing our learning and stories from those in the sector via this newsletter we’re expanding your knowledge base and giving you an insight into others’ work. 

Peter Miskimmin
Sport NZ Chief Executive

Ngā Kaea mō Āpōpō – the leaders of tomorrow – 'Leadership as empowering' 

Ngā Kaea mō Āpōpō – the leaders of tomorrow is a localised student leadership programme led by Sport Waitakere. “It’s all about implanting physical literacy concepts from an early age,” says Activator, and Ngā Kaea mō Āpōpō developer, Kaea Samson (whose name, Kaea, means 'leader').

Kaea, along with his Sport Waitakere colleagues Pauline Butt and Greg Gurau have developed the programme which, at its core, is about developing physical literacy, providing more opportunities for students to participate in sport and physical activity and developing sustainable student-led leadership within schools.

The project takes senior primary school students, and puts them through a training programme that eventually sees them leading junior students in fun physical activities. The 'students leading students' or 'Tuakana – Teina' model fosters creativity and the ability to develop physical activity and sport experiences that are stimulating and encourage engagement for all.

Kaea was motivated by of the fraction of children in Te Atatu that were participating in sport – he wanted to address the large number of kids who weren’t active.

“I wanted to capture the majority who don’t get a chance, because you get the typical students who are good at sport…and then the others just don’t get the opportunity – they’ve never really had the chance to learn.”

18 schools and 300 students from years 4-6 are currently involved with the project, and the demand to implement the programme in other schools is rapidly increasing.

One of the key foundations of the programme is connecting students with local history through Māori culture. Kaea has worked with local iwi to identify former leaders of significance, whose values can be used to role-model leadership to the trainee students. 

Students choose an historic leader whose strengths they identify with (e.g. courage, wisdom, creativity, respect), and then work to develop these skills and qualities within themselves.

“We learn the values of the local tupuna here, and connect them to the leaders,” says Kaea.

The physical structure of the marae offers a symbolic, and literal 'framework' for the programme. The pou (a carving of ancestors placed at the front of the marae/wharenui) represents important ancestors and shares local whakapapa while also acting as a structural support for the building. This is how Kaea describes the young leaders: “They are out the front, greeting and offering support to the younger students so that they can guide them.”

Kaea works with the students to help them learn how to manage younger students, develop programmes, and reflect on their learnings in order to continue to grow.

With more than 300 leaders in local schools, “it’s building and building”, and Kaea has created teacher working groups with assigned tasks and responsibilities to help continue to deliver the programme. “These working groups are the key to sustainability in the schools,” he says.

The programme’s results have seen senior students introduce lunchtime sport sessions, collaborating collectively to build entirely new games and rules, and incorporating these ideas into their normal PE classes.

“For me it’s about seeing these little kids play with the big kids like this”, says Kaea.

Recently some students decided to throw a lunchtime dance competition, because that was the way they chose to be active together.

“I want to see them come up with their own programme – this is best practice for how they can shape their own programmes – because they’ve had the freedom to go out and do that, some great things have happened.”

Activator profile

In August 2017 Josh Howe joined the team at Henderson High as a Secondary Activator.

Having come directly from Unitec, where he was a tutor after finishing his sport degree majoring in coaching, he was ready to try new a new role, and move into his first school environment.

Embedded at Henderson High, Josh works closely with the PE staff to support their work, while getting ideas from them and students for new lunchtime initiatives to engage the school’s population in physical activity. His role is to develop compelling, student-focused systems to increase not only participation opportunities, but to identify how experiences can be improved.

Building up a rapport with students has been key to understanding their needs, and what will or what won’t work for them. Just 'being around' has been essential. Josh helped students during cycle training for a duathlon and found that just chatting during a walk, and being present was crucially important for building trust with his students. As a result, Josh has found more and more students are working with him and sharing their ideas – he’s built up a network of 'student advisors' – and they’re working together to create new physical activity opportunities that work for, and with, the wider student population.

Some activities have resonated with students more than others. Josh has run a couple of 'have a go' days offering turbo touch, summer hockey, and disc golf – which captured the imagination of many students – literally throwing frisbees into a cage, “it’s a novelty…but as the novelty wears off, the numbers decrease…”

To mitigate this, Josh has learned that students most positively respond when they’re involved in team games where they’re able to play with their friends.

A successful initiative with students was a quick game focused on fun, inclusiveness and scoring points for participation – a 'fast five' netball competition. The feedback from students was “this was really cool”. Josh believes the success lay in the structure of the game: only five players on the court, rotating frequently, with friends playing against each other and eventually the whole class involved. Scoring points for getting more of your classmates involved meant winning was a group effort and the emphasis was on being together and sharing the game.

And being in his first school has been an eye-opener. The interaction with students and seeing the positive impact of quality physical activity, PE and sport and the effect it has on students has inspired Josh to expand his career – he wants to become a teacher now.

“When I started my Bachelor of Sport I wanted to be a teacher, then moved away from it – but now being in a school environment and seeing how much the PE teachers enjoy their jobs – it’s given me the push to want to go and teach.”

Thoughts from Grant Schofield

Grant Schofield, Chief Education, Nutrition and Health Advisor – Ministry of Education, sat down with a group of principals a couple of months ago, and we took the opportunity to grab some of his invaluable thoughts and learnings about young people and physical activity. 

We’ll be rolling them out over the next few months. Today’s reflection is about the crucial value of play and physical risk in developing young people’s pre-frontal lobe – a 'self-control organ' that we all need to make good judgements.

Sport NZ's Play Principles

Sport NZ’s Play Principles were developed to help guide those interested in the importance of play for children in NZ. 

There are seven in total, and in this fourth video in a series based on the principles, Wellington City Council’s Daphne Pilaar talks about the joy and opportunities the changes in seasons bring for children’s outdoor exploration.

The 'half-time' evaluation

The 'half-time' evaluation of is now complete ('s initial two pilot sites run from 2016-2019 inclusive). A summary of the findings is available, but we found these direct quotes enlightening, and have learnt a lot from the participants in the evaluation regarding: 

  • Leadership

“The schools we are having most success with are those with an engaged leadership (team) – more than just supportive of the project, actually engaged, they have the strategic overview” – Workforce, Waitakere
Consistent feedback has taught us that the schools where the senior leadership teams are on board and invested in the approach succeed the best. 

  • Flexibility

“It’s not a set programme – they are responsive to our needs. Each term we have a check in about our needs. They do a good job of making us do the thinking, rather than them telling us what to do.” – School Leader, Waitakere
“We’re really happy with how it is so flexible. It’s not prescriptive; the workforce are really accommodating. It’s an evolving approach to planning.” – School Leader, Upper Hutt can be shaped for staff and students and the needs of the schools we’re working with – being malleable and adjustable is one of its most beneficial aspects. 

  • Student Involvement: 

“I have changed my thinking on what my PE lesson could look like … Student choice and engagement is key to helping them become lifelong physically fit and active people.” – Teacher survey, Upper Hutt

Students’ views are being sought, and are feeding into the shape of the experiences they’re having – teachers are finding that not only is the student input improving their planning, but that it’s changing their approach to teaching, too.
“This has influenced big changes in my practice. [This has shifted from] movement to the whole child, [from] winning and losing to investigating equity. The skill or sport side is just the delivery mechanism for that approach”.  – Teacher, Waitakere

Sport and Recreation and Education Ministers visit Upper Hutt school

Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson and Minister for Education Chris Hipkins visited school Māoribank Primary on Friday, 22 June, where they saw and heard the impact is having on young people, teachers, schools and the community. After a warm powhiri and a short HPE class demonstration, led by teacher Shea Coxson and focussing on the ideas of equity, students then had the chance to sit down and share their own personal experiences of’s influence on their wellbeing. Hearing of their improved feelings towards physical activity, education and wider aspects of their lives, especially their hauora, was uplifting and valuable for everyone in attendance. We caught some  moments to share with you.