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Participant trends report

Participant trends report

Two adults crossing a finish line in a running race

A trends report using survey data collected between 1998-2014 that looks at the rate of change in adult New Zealanders’ participation in sport and active recreation.

The Trends Report brings together data from three different Sport NZ surveys – from 1998, 2008 and 2014 – to provide a picture of how adult participation in sport and active recreation has changed over the past 16 years.

Participation has been falling in many parts of the world and the Trends Report confirms that New Zealand is not immune. Although we still have high levels of participation, we now know that national weekly adult participation fell 7.7 percent between 1998 and 2014 (from 73.3 percent to 65.6 percent).

Work is already underway at Sport NZ to address this. Anticipating a decline, in 2015 we released a new Community Sport Strategy focused on meeting the needs and wants of today’s participants, rather than expecting people to continue to take up what the sports system has traditionally provided. Within this there is a strong focus on young people and low-participating communities.

We are also developing an improved approach to measuring trends in participation so that we can monitor the outcomes of our strategy and, where necessary, adapt our approach. The Active NZ 2016-2021 national survey of participation will use continuous data collection to provide a more accurate picture about participation, and the barriers and enablers for participation in sport and active recreation.


If you have a query about the contents of this report, please email 

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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