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Active NZ COVID-19 surveys 2020

Our Active NZ survey samples New Zealanders registered on the electoral roll every month through our research partner, Nielsen. However, when New Zealand was placed in Alert Level 4 during March and April 2020 and restrictions were imposed due to COVID-19 , Sport NZ was not deemed an essential service, therefore we were unable to post any invitations to participate in the survey. This meant we had to survey in a different way.

New survey method

We re-contacted around 36,000 previous Active NZ respondents who had given us permission to do so and received back 11,242 completed surveys from adults aged 18+ and a further 2,417 completed survey from children and young people aged 5-17.

This provided us with a robust size that meant we were not only able to analyse data at a total national level, but were able to look at some of our key demographic groups including age, gender, ethnicity and deprivation.

Total sample sizes for the three waves we have conducted:

Wave  Children and young people (5-17 year olds) Adults (18+)
April 2020 2,417 11,242
June 2020 1,181 7,457
September 2020 654 6,296


The results

We wanted to capture the impact of the lockdown period on New Zealanders’ physical activity.  Were people getting out walking, cycling, and playing more than usual, exercising more using online instructors and programmes, or were they putting their usual activity on hold until lockdown was over? Would we see unexpected impacts on different population groups, or would people who typically face barriers to physical activity experience little change?

Fieldwork for the Active NZ: COVID-19 surveys below was carried out in:

  • April 2020, during Alert Level 4
  • June 2020, when New Zealand moved back to Alert Level 1
  • September 2020, at Alert Level 2.

Another wave of data collection, one year after the April 2020 national lockdown, is currently underway.

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