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Kick-started with a desire for change
In Our Backyard has its beginnings in a shared ambition to ensure quality experiences for tamariki and rangatahi.

In 2020, a group of National Sports Organisations, all of whom are involved in hosting major events (New Zealand Rugby, Yachting New Zealand, New Zealand Cricket, New Zealand Football), came together with Sport NZ and Physical Education New Zealand (PENZ) to discuss how sports currently deliver education programmes surrounding major events and to consider if things could be done better.

Traditionally, education programmes linked to major events sit in isolation from school curricula or marau-ā-kura and rarely lead to opportunities that endure once the events are over. The programmes have also tended to focus on learning about the sport itself, rather than using sport as a context for a much broader learning journey. The group wanted to discover ways to address these issues.

Meanwhile, Yachting New Zealand was using the 36th America’s Cup as a catalyst to create a new approach to engaging with schools and kura. In the lead up to the event, the Major Events team at MBIE had established an interagency ‘Leverage and Legacy’ group to coordinate projects that leveraged off the America’s Cup and left a legacy for the future. As part of this process Yachting New Zealand worked with Emirates Team New Zealand and the Ministry of Education to develop and trial a school engagement service called Kōkōkaha – Powered by the Wind.

With cricket, rugby and football, all scheduled to run Women’s World Cups, the yachting experience provided an example for these sports to follow as they developed additional school engagement services and topics aligned to their events. These services are intended to support learning during the excitement of the event taking place – here ‘In Our Backyard’ – and just as importantly, beyond the event taking place, creating enduring value for school and kura and communities well into the future.

A work in progress

In Our Backyard uses Service Design to position teachers, kaiako and ākonga as customers of school and kura engagement services and has teachers and kaiako working alongside clubs in their community to co-design each service. A consistent approach to Resource Design is used to create Learning with Sport topics that have ākonga using inquiry, problem solving and experimental processes to help solve societal challenges at the community level. Within each service, sports are responsible for providing ‘quality experiences’ focussing on the broader value of being physically active and which support students to be kaitiaki, establish tūrangawaewae and experience whakapuāwai.

Kōkōkaha – Powered by Wind

Yachting New Zealand developed a Learning with Sport topic called ‘Kōkōkaha – Powered by wind’ alongside New Zealand hosting the 36th America’s Cup. During Kōkōkaha ākonga research how the wind works and how technologies capture the power of the wind. They visit a local yacht club to go for a sail to experience the power of the wind first hand. They then use their knowledge to design a technology to harness the power of the wind.

Tākarokaro – Let’s get active

New Zealand Rugby have been working on a Learning with Sport topic called ‘Tākarokaro – Let’s Get Active’. This topic was designed and piloted with teachers in Ahipara School in the Tai Tokerau, with support from the Healthy Active Learning advisors and community connectors at Sport Northland. The topic is now available to schools and kura throughout New Zealand as the country moves towards hosting the Women’s Rugby World Cup. Following this event, Tākarokaro will be evaluated and then refined before it becomes one of the topics in the In Our Backyard suite.

Kōrinorino – In our ancestors’ wake

Yachting New Zealand have continued to develop their school engagement framework by working on a Learning with Sport topic called `Kōrinorino – In our ancestors’ wake’. This topic was designed with input from the Motu Kairangi Kāhui Ako in Wellington with support from Nuku Ora Healthy Active Learning advisors and connectors. Yachting New Zealand is now beginning to roll out this service alongside of its network of clubs as part of it strengthen and adapt project.

Kōtuitui – Let’s get connected

New Zealand Football are developing a Learning with Sport topic called ‘Kōtuitui – Let’s get connected’ alongside the FIFA Women’s Football World Cup. This topic is being designed and piloted with schools in Auckland and Christchurch with support from Healthy Active Learning advisers and connectors in both regions. Kōtuitui will be piloted in schools before being run at scale alongside the FIFA Women’s Football World Cup, then will be reviewed and refined before it becomes one of the topics in the In Our Backyard suite.

Moanamana – Building NZL Blue Belt

A coalition of ocean sports, in partnership with a group of ocean conservation organisations, are creating a Learning with Sport topic called ‘Moanamana – Building NZL’s Blue Belt.’ In this topic, ākonga will research the impact of pollution, climate change and overfishing on marine ecosystems and take a lead role as citizen scientists, helping to establish NZL Blue Belt sites. The network of NZL Blue Belt sites will become the marine environment equivalent of Predator Free New Zealand, helping to restore the mana of moana.

Find out more about In Our Backyard
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