338_ Involvement in recreation and sport builds relationships within and across communities. Participation in early childhood experiences which develop skills and confidence, encourages us to participate as adults. Active movement programmes for babies and toddlers can effect a lifelong love of active recreation and a healthy lifestyle (see Chapter 1: Auckland’s People).
339_ Children and young people’s skills can be nurtured by extending their experiences. Promoting play opportunities is vital for physical and mental development. Thousands of children and young people already participate in sport through schools and clubs. However, school sports teams and sporting clubs currently operate in parallel ways: a focus on providing programmes that collaborate between schools and the sports sector will provide more flexible opportunities for children and young people.
Encourage all Aucklanders, particularly children and young people, to participate in recreation and sport.
Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation
Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation, founded by Sir John Walker, is a charitable trust that encourages young people of Manukau to pursue a more active lifestyle through physical recreation and sport. This lifestyle leads to fitter and healthier individuals. The Foundation stems from a vision to create positive change by giving every young person the opportunity to participate in an active, healthy lifestyle. Programmes are delivered throughout Manukau through partnerships between the Auckland Council, NGOs, central government agencies, and business. Community Swim, a ground-breaking initiative of the Foundation, provides free swimming lessons to students in years 3 to 5 in Manukau, in partnership with the Foundation and Manukau Leisure Services. In the 2009/2010 financial year, the programme provided 72,000 free lessons to more than 10,200 students from 70 Manukau schools.
340_ The range of recreational activities for young people is expanding. For example, 21 new sports were introduced in secondary schools from 2000 to 2009. However, participation rates decrease markedly after young people leave secondary school, so we need to find ways to maintain their interest. E-games are popular, and could be used to encourage young people to remain active.
Enable Auckland’s diverse communities to participate in recreation and sport by promoting opportunities that meet their needs.
341_ Lifelong participation in recreation and sport starts with children and continues through to older adults. Children learn fundamental skills which are carried through into ongoing participation and high performance. Providing a variety of opportunities for participation at all ages is central to planning for the future.
342_ As the majority of our activity is undertaken with friends and family, we need good access to local recreation areas. Recreation and sport will be promoted as fun, accessible and affordable.
343_ Active lifestyle programmes for older people provide opportunities for social interaction and help break down social isolation. The “Never Too Old” programme is a successful gym-based programme for older people which helps participants maintain an active and independent lifestyle. Such programmes will be encouraged, and made easily available and affordable. Innovative inter-generational programmes will meet the needs of younger and older people.
344_ Persons with disabilities participate in a wide range of recreational and sporting activities at all levels, from beginners through to elite standard. We will ensure that disabled people can engage in programmes which are inclusive: we will remove barriers to their participation. Recreation facilities will be accessible, and all people will feel welcome and included (see Chapter 1: Auckland’s People).
345_ Auckland’s population is becoming increasingly diverse. Preferences for and participation rates in recreational activities are changing: our preferences depend on our gender, background and age.
346_ Enabling the participation of our diverse communities in recreation and sport needs to be made a priority. Different ways of engaging with people, for example through technology and social networking, must be considered. People participate in less formal activities, more suited to their lifestyles; for example, meeting in groups to cycle, walk, kayak, play touch rugby, go tramping or horse riding. Recreation is a great way for different ethnicities or social groups, disabled people, and older people to be less isolated and to build relationships within their communities.
The Halberg Trust
The Halberg Trust is a not-for-profit organisation with a vision: “That we have a society where all New Zealanders are given an equal opportunity to be involved in sport and recreation, and where we take pride in honouring sport excellence.” The Trust achieves this vision by providing opportunities for young persons with a disability to participate in active recreation and sport alongside their non-disabled friends, and by hosting the annual Westpac Halberg Awards, New Zealand’s pre-eminent event to honour sporting excellence. With funds raised from the Halberg Awards and wide community and corporate support, the Trust is able to open doors and remove barriers for persons with disabilities in sports clubs, facilities, schools and the wider community. The Trust works with a range of organisations to achieve this.
347_ We need to encourage our ethnic communities to participate in existing sporting codes, as well as support sports which our new migrants enjoy, such as badminton, table tennis, tai chi and soccer. Ethnic communities, migrants and refugees often face barriers that prevent them from participating in organised sport: a lack of understanding about the New Zealand style of playing sport, the different sports codes’ expectations of players (club membership and commitment to the season’s playing schedules), transport barriers, financial constraints, and socio-cultural barriers (language, religious and cultural differences and restrictions). We will develop new approaches to encourage their participation.
Connect2sport: Supporting Diverse Communities
Connect2sport represents a 3-year partnership project to connect people from diverse ethnic backgrounds to the sports of football and badminton. The project aims to get more people participating and volunteering in these sports. Connect2sport will also build the capacity within Auckland Football and Auckland Badminton to better engage with diverse communities. Connect2sport will initially focus on Mt Roskill, then learnings from the project will be extended to other regions, sports and age groups. The project represents a multi-agency partnership between Sport and Recreation New Zealand (Sport NZ), the Auckland Council, Sport Auckland, Auckland Football Federation, and Auckland Badminton Association.
348_ The range of recreational activities for Aucklanders is expanding to include: indoor social sports (indoor soccer, cricket and netball), water sports (dragon boating, waka ama and water polo), and new pursuits (lacrosse, disc golf, Pilates, Latin-inspired dance-fitness programmes and kilikiti/Samoan cricket). The traditional kapa haka is enjoying a revival. We need to work with the arts sector to increase opportunities which benefit both healthy lifestyles and the performing arts (see Chapter 3: Auckland’s Arts and Culture).