The launch of this regional strategy in 2016 was initially a plan with a ten-year focus made up of three horizons and an end date of 2025 – hence the first iteration of the strategy being name Moving Waikato 2025.
In late 2019 and into the early part of 2020, Sport Waikato headed up a review of the first horizon objectives by forming a cross -sector Moving Waikato 2025 Advisory group made up of representatives from the health, sport and education sectors, along with Iwi and local council members.
The key outtakes of this review were that the evidenced-based, partnered approach which forms the bedrock of the strategy remain valid, and are beginning to have an impact with better informed decisions being made across the region in all settings.
The three pillars of the strategy – Our People, Building Communities and Regional Leadership also remain valid and capture the essence of the strategy in respect that a locally-led approach supported by informed regional partnerships is what will improve the provision of quality physical activity opportunities for our communities.
What has changed as a result of the review is that the indicative end date of 2025, in recognition that Moving Waikato can and should be an iterative strategy that continuously evolves over time. The specific focuses of each of the three pillars has been updated and will see the next four-year horizon focussing on the 0-18 age group, Maaori, women and girls and the disadvantaged within our communities.
The last significant update is that as lead partner in this regional strategy, Sport Waikato has also adopted Moving Waikato as its own organisational strategy to guide its mahi (work) under our newly revised way of working. The vision and ten-year goal of both Moving Waikato and Sport Waikato now align – ‘Everyone out there and active’ with an aspirational growth target of 75% of the region regularly being active.
Through Sport Waikato’s women and girls initiative, This is ME®, we have continued to support, encourage and celebrate women and girls of all ages getting out there and being active THEIR way. In 2020, there were a number of key highlights and achievements:
SUPPORTING DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
Over the past 12 month we have been working with Sport NZ and the University of Waikato to conduct research into the barriers, motivations and experiences of Muslim women and girls in sport and recreation. The project included the voices and stories of 38 Muslim females and 14 sports managers (e.g. coaches, administrators, programme leads), with the aim to uncover both the challenges Muslim women face in sport and recreation and strategies to support increases in inclusive delivery practices.
From the research, two academic journal articles have been published, a national report has been created and a local workshop delivered with attendance from over 60 sport and recreation leaders in the Waikato region and beyond.
Sport Waikato are now building further on this important work alongside a local group of young Muslim women with the aim of increasing sporting opportunities.
WORKING WITH YOUNG WOMEN
In 2020 we have continued our work in the secondary school space with leadership development among young women and initiating policy and delivery change. This year has seen the This is ME® Secondary School Programme delivered into Waihi College, Paeroa College and Piopio College as well as discussions underway with Cambridge High School, Forest View High School and Putaruru College for 2021 delivery.
Covid-19 presented a number of challenges in the secondary school space this year, but overall, there remains appetite to work together to increase sport and physical activity participation among young women.
PARTNERED ACTIVATIONS AND DELIVERY CHANGE
With the aim of increasing the quality and quantity of opportunities for women and girls to be active, This is ME® has partnered with a number of National and Regional Sporting Organisations and local providers to effect change in delivery to ensure it meets the needs of females.
Our work in 2020 has included a continued partnership with Northern Districts Cricket Association which saw planning for the second year of the Backyard Smash – a modified version of the sport that eliminates many of the barriers to female participation (e.g. hard balls, fast bowlers, long days in the field). In 2020, 200 women registered to participate (up from 120 in 2019) but the event was unfortunately, postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic.
A capability building workshop was delivered to New Zealand Volleyball with the aim of increasing understandings of the needs of women and girls and we are currently in the process of creating an online learning portal to share further the insights we have gleaned about supporting women and girls to be active.
Other partnered activations have included have-a-go golf sessions, Pink Walks for Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Boxing and Squash sessions for young women.
As longstanding Waikato District Health Board funded programme Project Energize and Ministry of Health funded Under 5 Energize draw to a close, the final year of delivery continued to embed philosophies of increased physical activity and healthy eating within educational institutions throughout the region.
Throughout Covid-19 lockdown and with schools closed, the Energize and Under 5 Energize teams worked to deliver their healthy messages in innovative ways using digital platforms. Videos were developed to encourage easy, low cost options for children to be active with their whaanau at home.
During this time, several members of the Energize as well as Under 5 Energize and Active & Well teams were seconded to assist Waikato DHB in the delivery of PPE to pharmacies across the Waikato region, and also as part of the Daily Case Monitoring Team charged with making daily health checks with active Covid-19 cases. Sport Waikato were grateful to be given the opportunity to assist in our community at this time.
Our pilot Healthy Active Learning initiative, Taakaro Ora, continued to work alongside schools in the north east of Hamilton within Te Pae Here Kahui Ako (Community of Learning) to build sustainable school philosophies with regard to physically active environments including building teacher capability to deliver the Health and Physical Education Curriculum to ultimately impact child wellbeing. Alongside Project Energize, a particular success this year included work undertaken within Pukete Primary School.
Senior syndicate teachers at Pukete wanted to explore a more holistic approach to the way they plan and deliver Health & Physical Education to their Year 4/5/6 students. Teachers were asked to reflect on what Health and Physical Education looked like for them and how this connected back to the key competencies, values and principles of the New Zealand Curriculum. The teachers wanted to be more inclusive, with emphasis placed on the core virtues and wellbeing of their tamariki. The approach needed to encompass personal goal setting, nutrition, mental wellbeing, resilience and physical fitness.
What this work initiated was a shift from a ‘performance focus’ to renaming their Physical Education, ‘Active Wellbeing’. Teachers recognised the importance of the language used when planning and delivering physical education. In changing the title of their PE programme, teachers and students began to recognise the breadth of this learning area and how it naturally integrates with so many other areas of learning.
Moving forward, the philosophies behind Taakaro Ora will be used to inform the development of Healthy Active Learning across further areas of the region for early childhood centres and primary schools, building upon the baseline learnings which will remain in these institutions through years of Under 5 Energize and Project Energize delivery.
Our Secondary Schools team was kept busy during the Covid-19 lockdown and beyond through alert levels helping the Waikato Secondary School Sports Association and member schools navigate their way through the various sporting regulations and restrictions imposed both locally and nationally. This challenging time for Rangatahi and their participation in sport and physical activity was made easier through clear communication and informed decision making.
The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent national lockdown presented an array of challenges for both regional and local sporting organisations. Sport Waikato maintained regular contact with our region’s sporting organisations during the lockdown, providing support and collecting information to help inform the government’s response. We became a facilitator of rescue and recovery support for the sport and recreation sector through resilience funding, but also planning for the resumption of sport.
Not only did the beginnings of Covid-19 in New Zealand disrupt sport participation, but it also created a strategic moment for change as people relished the regaining of time to spend with their families and as they found a renewed passion for outdoor recreation (e.g., cycling, walking, running).
In the wake of the pandemic, Sport Waikato have been working with our region’s sporting organisations and councils to better align sport delivery with the needs of our region’s people, and this includes through the season transition plan that aims to realign sport participation to summer and winter seasons. The Plan sees a slightly shorter summer and winter season, but importantly, a gap between the seasons for both field and facility maintenance as well as participant wellbeing.
Despite the disruptions, Sport Waikato continued to drive a Sport and Recreation Leadership Programme that saw 18 sector leaders f rom across the region come together for leadership development opportunities. The sessions included a range of learning focuses that targeted key areas of leadership including leading self and others, whilst also creating space for attendees to make connections across the sector to encourage more cross-collaboration between sport and recreation organisations, local authorities and facility managers.
The Waikato Regional Sports Facilities Plan continued to provide valued leadership and direction to the planning and development of sports facilities across the Waikato region. 2020 has seen the development of the third iteration of the Plan in consultation with the Plan Advisory Group and Plan stakeholders (e.g. regional sports organisations, Mayors, Council CEs and technical staff, recreation providers). The 2020 iteration of the Plan will see an expanded scope beyond just a focus on sport to include play (infrastructure such as playgrounds and skateparks) and recreation (walking and cycling tracks and trails).
The Plan continues to focus on supporting sound investment and decision-making about new facilities developments, whilst also maintaining a focus on optimising existing spaces, places and facilities in ways that make possible the increased sustainability of the network.
A key principle of the plan - collaboration - has been shown through projects such as the Te Kuiti High School Indoor Court project, the Matamata College indoor court development, and more recent conversations between Hamilton City Council, Waipa and Waikato District Councils, Waikato Tainui and the University of Waikato about facilities developments in the Northern Growth Corridor.
The 2020 iteration of the Plan, which will feature a name change to the Waikato Regional Active Spaces Plan, will be presented to the CE forum for endorsement in December, in time for upcoming LTP discussions.
Alongside the regional plan, Sport Waikato have also either completed, or are in the process of developing local district plans with eight of the region’s ten Territorial Local Authorities. These plans sit underneath the regional plan, providing guidance to local facilities projects and priorities.
Sport Waikato continue to acknowledge and thank the Waikato Mayoral Forum, Local Authority Partners and Sport New Zealand for their continued support and advocacy of facilities, spaces and places planning across the Waikato region.
The Active & Well team has continued to service clients and whaanau across the region who require advice and support in achieving a healthier lifestyle to enhance their wellbeing outcomes.
Covid-19 and the resulting lockdown made it diff icult to maintain client contact and virtual consults became usual practice as the team tried to encourage clients to maintain healthy lifestyle gains using the positive aspects of the lockdown period including car-f ree streets and extra time in the local neighbourhood for exercising.
The 2020 financial year saw Sport Waikato involved in administering several funding initiatives through our partnership with Sport NZ. We said farewell to the old KiwiSport fund with our last distributions being made in June.
KiwiSport has now been replaced with a new fund, Tu Manawa, which for the Waikato region, is twice the size and targets the participant directly by supporting delivery providers across play, active recreation and sport. The fund has a strong emphasis on supporting Tamariki and Rangatahi, Maaori providers and deprivation with the first tranche of funds due to be distributed by the end of November 2020.
In addition to KiwiSport and Tu Manawa, Sport Waikato were pleased to be able to support Sport NZ with the distribution of their Community Resilience Fund, a direct response to the hardship caused by Covid-19 on the sport and recreation sector. Between June and September, we were able to distribute a total of $1.63M to impacted organisations across the region and are proud to have been involved in the Government response to Covid-19 in our sector.
2020 threw up a number of challenges for the sport and recreation sector, and when sport was ready to return, Sport Waikato reacted to the need for volunteers with a new video campaign called ‘Support Local Sport’, featuring local and national sporting celebrities encouraging communities to get in behind sport and do their bit.
Launched during National Volunteer Week, the ‘pass it on’ type campaign featured celebrities such as former Olympic cyclist Sarah Ulmer, rugby league legend Tawera Nikau, boxer David Nyika, All Black captain Sam Cane and The Crowd Goes Wild’s James McOnie, among others.
The video campaign not only raised awareness of the need for volunteers, but also linked both to a registration form and to Volunteering Waikato who were providing f ree registration for clubs to register their volunteer roles.
This year in conjunction with Exult, Sport Waikato also ran an online workshop series ‘Growing Your Volunteer Teams’ aimed at guiding and supporting clubs and other sporting or active recreation organisations to build their volunteer base and capability. Participants were taught how to evaluate, grow and provide a quality volunteer experience for new volunteers. The workshop series was well received.
In late 2018 we began introducing the Good Sports Philosophy into our region. The Good Sports conversation has taken place through attendance of Good Sports Forums, supporting a deeper understanding and awareness of how their actions and behaviours or those of others could be positively or negatively impacting on the experience of the child.
Through these forums six groups have committed to embedding the Good Sports Philosophy into their youth sports contexts, including parent and coach education, structure of teams, game formats available and living by the philosophy through the environment they create.
In August 2019 we developed a Good Sports video to share stories from local Good Sports champions to create a better understanding of what is happening in our backyard to further support the conversatin of adults’ attitudes and behaviours towards youth sport. We launched the video on Facebook and the messaging has been well received, being organically viewed over 85,500 times.
Sport Waikato worked to implement the Regional Cycle Safety Education Plan alongside partners f rom all local authorities, Waikato Regional Council, NZTA, Cycling NZ and the Home of Cycling. The vision of the plan is a community that has opportunities to safely ride a bike, with a goal of a collaborated approach to the delivery of cycling skills and Bikes in Schools projects across the region.
Selected target schools had full support f rom Sport Waikato’s Lead Advisor in order to complete their Bikes in Schools project, with priority going to those schools with a commitment to cycling skill delivery, numbers of students and where there will be wider benefits to the community as well as where students have a limited access to bikes and cycling skills education.
In total, seven new projects have been completed and a further nine schools have their project underway as a result of this intervention. Effectively, the implementation of this part of the plan has resulted in the Waikato region having equitable distribution of Bikes in Schools projects across all districts, enabling access and safe student cycle safety to occur.
BikeReady is the New Zealand national education cycling system developed by NZTA. The benefits of BikeReady is an increase in those developing safe road skills early on, empathetic road users, cycling as viable transport as well as more active and healthy communities.
Bike Ready focuses on providing more opportunities for all to engage in cycling skills to be lifelong learners. The system speaks to quality, consistent delivery and sustainability by enabling students and stakeholders to extend learning around bike riding or sharing the road.
Through implementation of the Plan by Sport Waikato’s Lead Advisor, a pilot delivery of BikeReady within high need areas of the Waikato region has been funded for Term 1 of 2021, and Youthtown have been identified and are mobilising as the preferred delivery partner of this.
The disruption of Covid-19 and the resulting lockdown meant that this year’s planned nine District Sports Awards November events had to be cancelled, along with the Brian Perry Waikato Regional Sports Awards to be held in January 2021.
With the lack of sport being played and the inability to fairly judge winners who may not have been able to compete internationally or nationally, as well as the financial pressure on our sponsors who play a big part in funding the events, Sport Waikato made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 awards season.
The cancellation of our traditional awards season gave us the opportunity to think differently and celebrate and acknowledge the good things that were happening in the community, just in a different way.
The 2020 Waikato Sport & Active Recreation Awards were launched on 28 August 2020. Sport Waikato wanted to take the opportunity to look beyond just winning and celebrate and acknowledge the sporting moments, the partnerships, the initiatives, the outside the box thinkers, and those who do amazing things in our communities to keep us all active.
Seven categories were developed: Community Connection, Sport & Active Recreation Partnerships, Outstanding Active Space Initiative, Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion, Service to Sport (traditional), and two People’s Choice awards – Sportsperson and Sporting or Active Recreation Moment.
For such a new and different target audience, we were impressed with the 85 entries to this awards format, run on a dedicated website with even the judging happening online this year.
Entries were judged by local sport and recreation advocates Honey Hireme-Smiler (athlete, Halberg Inclusion), Glyn Wooller (GM Waikato River Trails Trust) and Graeme ‘Mintie’ Mead (radio announcer, JP, celebrant).
Finalists will be announced in January 2021, with winners publicised at a special online event Thursday 28 January 2021.
This year has seen the Sport Waikato Kaiwhakahaere o Maniapoto working closely with Te Kuiti High School to strengthen their Waka Ama programme. Interest in participating in the sport was expressed by over 60 students, which highlighted a community need for provision of this traditional Maaori sport in the school.
In partnership with Te Kuiti High School, our Kaiwhakahaere worked with 24 students who were put through a training programme with experienced world paddlers to form two crews to compete at the Waka Ama Nationals. Training included work on paddling techniques, safety and fitness programmes to grow the students’ capability and capacity to be out on the water. The teams travel to the Waikato river for trainings three times a week, and if able, use the Te Kuiti Aquatic Centre for a pool-based training.
Te Kuiti High School carried 16 paddlers to the Waka Ama Nationals where they qualified for the semi-finals, only to be narrowly beaten in their two divisions by some of the best secondary schools in New Zealand – a great achievement for this school, whose Waka Ama programme is continuing to grow!
Sport Waikato led the development of the Regional Cycle Safety Education Plan alongside partners from all local authorities, Waikato Regional Council, NZTA, Cycling NZ and the Home of Cycling. The vision of the plan is a community that has opportunities to safely ride a bike, with a goal of a collaborated approach to the delivery of cycling skills and Bikes in Schools projects across the region.
Effectively, Bikes in Schools is a project in a school where helmets and bikes are stored and used on a track on school grounds. Independent research demonstrates the benefits of Bikes in Schools goes beyond increasing participation in cycling to an increase in fitness, health and wellbeing outcomes including self-esteem, confidence and resilience.
The Waikato region currently has 10 Bikes in Schools across the region, with a further 20 underway. Five schools will be targeted in Hamilton, Otorohanga, Waitomo and Taupo in order to get an even distribution across the region. These five schools will have the full support from Sport Waikato’s Lead Advisor in order to complete their project, with priority going to those schools with a commitment to cycling skill delivery, numbers of students and where there will be wider benefits to the community as well as where students have a limited access to bikes and cycling skills education.
Bike Ready is the New Zealand national education cycling system developed by NZTA. The benefits of Bike Ready is an increase in those developing safe road skills early on, empathetic road users, cycling as viable transport as well as more active and healthy communities. Bike Ready focuses on providing more opportunities for all to engage in cycling skills to be lifelong learners. The system speaks to quality, consistent delivery and sustainability by enabling students and stakeholders to extend learning around bike riding or sharing the road.
Through a variety of methods and the provision of specialist skills, the Under 5 Energize team supports and educates Early Childhood Educators in four districts, to enable behavioural changes that positively influence young children’s overall health and wellness. These methods include promotion, education and facilitation of workshops and learning displays. Essentially, we lead and enable parents and educators to increase physical activity and improve nutrition for children under five years of age as they begin their physical literacy pathway.
Over the past six years, Under 5 Energize has worked alongside 121 Early Childhood centres and we are delighted that forty percent of the original centres who started with Under 5 Energize six years ago have implemented policy and practice changes, and have been identified as now being ready for maintenance phase. These centres are ‘walking the talk’, with positive changes to both their physical activity environment and healthy eating messages.
Due to these centres now being on maintenance, we are able to invite new centres to become a part of the Under 5 Energize whaanau, increasing the Under 5 Energize centres to 136. As at 2019, the reach through centres and into homes is in excess of 5500 tamariki and 4750 whaanau.
In March 2019, an official Memorandum of Agreement was signed by principals and Boards of Trustees, to recognise a three-year partnership between Te Pae Here Kaahui Ako (community of learning in the North East of Hamilton) schools and Sport Waikato through the creation of the Taakaro-Ora initiative. This agreement reflects a co-design process, where Sport Waikato has acknowledged the goals and achievement challenges within Te Pae Here and the emphasis this Kaahui Ako places on holistic wellbeing - the whole child.
Planning into 2020 sees the opportunity for resourcing to support schools unpack and revitalise the Health and Physical Education Curriculum and the value this can add to all learning areas, deepening the understanding teachers currently have of hauora and its potential as an underlying concept of education, adding to the kete for teachers with exciting and stimulating games, activities, pedagogy for Physical Education and how to incorporate this into other learning areas.
Taakaro Ora also sees an opportunity to draw together outside providers and community groups working within the north-eastern area of Hamilton that encompasses Te Pae Here Kaahui Ako. Learning from each other, exploring challenges and working together to achieve the common goal of providing better opportunities for tamariki is the key driver behind the collaborative nature of this forum and as these connections are explored further, the intended outcome would see more collaborative events and projects take place.
Project Energize has been focusing on ensuring effective delivery of nutrition messages to junior syndicates within schools. While past delivery of these messages into schools has been via nutritional ‘tipsheets’ that are sent home to parents to put on their fridge, we wanted to provide a different solution to deliver these key messages, in a fun way, to the junior school.
Following a brainstorming session with the Energize team, the concept of developing a picture book with our key messages around sugary drinks was developed.
‘Race to the Finish’ will be read to each class to Year 0-2s. The students will then get a colouring book version of the story which also has the key messages within it about our programme and Sport Waikato. The idea is that they will take the book home, with the key messages being spread to the wider family. Like all of our Energize resources, the book has also been translated into Te Reo.
A Hamilton school has become a shining example of how to motivate students and their families to make healthier food choices. With support from Sport Waikato’s Project Energize staff, Melville Primary School has successfully integrated gardening, meal planning, cooking, nutrition and knowledge of the seasons into their curriculum, all while growing their own produce.
The students’ learnings culminated in Melville Primary School’s annual Kai Festival where the wider community turned out to trial a selection of home-made creations. There were a variety of healthy alternatives to food traditionally sold at the festival on offer, including healthy hamburgers, watermelon pizza, rainbow salad and waffles with a healthy twist. The challenge was overcoming expectations about traditional event food, yet the fundraising event attracted record numbers and sales.
Melville Primary School Deputy Principal, Bronwyn Haitana, says the spin-off from the initiative has been far reaching. “In the 25 years I’ve been teaching, this is by far the most rewarding piece of teaching and learning I have been involved in,” she says.
This year we launched the first ever Waikato Secondary Schools website, www.wsss.org.nz which acts as a consolidated communication portal that is available for students, school sports staff, parents and regional sports bodies as a one stop shop for school sport information. This portal gives greater visibility to school sport which will be further supported in the near future with increased online live streaming of school sport.
The Active & Well team has had an exciting year co-designing a new approach to the traditional Green Prescription model alongside Waikato District Health Board. This change has been driven by a desire to offer a more responsive and equitable service, with particular focus on Maaori and those with high need.
With over 660 nominations, and 150 nominations for the Waipa Networks District Sports Awards alone, the 2019 sports awards season celebrates the successes and achievements of sportspeople, secondary school students, sport supporters and innovative sport or recreation initiatives around the Waikato region.
Nominees and their supporters from around the region gathered at nine district sports awards in Otorohanga, Hamilton, Taupo, South Waikato, Matamata Piako, Waipa, Waikato district, Waitomo and Hauraki/Thames Coromandel.
During 2019 we recognised a number of staff members’ achievements. Staff who have been with us over five years receive loyalty awards every five years they reach.
With a history of longevity in the organisation, this year saw six people celebrate five year anniversary milestones, while two people reached the impressive ten year mark and three people the fifteen year mark. And to top off a great year, we had a twenty year milestone for one of our district coordinators as well.
All anniversaries were celebrated with a loyalty award, gift and morning/afternoon tea with staff. Congratulations to all those who achieved these incredible milestone this year!
Through our ‘Good Sorts for Sport’ initiative, Sport Waikato helps organisations and projects around the Waikato region for one day a year. The past years have seen Sport Waikato work on projects with schools, clubs and community groups such as helping build a school bike track and gardens, cleaning of squash courts and clearing scrub on the Waikato River Trails in South Waikato.
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