Since the launch of this regional strategy in 2016, we have seen some outstanding successes as part of Horizon One, along with clear evidence that a partnered approach that grows capability within our communities is the correct one.
Highlights such as the development of the country’s first Waikato Regional Facilities Plan, endorsed and now one hundred percent funded by the region’s territorial authorities, is one clear example - as is the creation of This is ME®, a women and girls initiative which is community led and has produced a number of ‘outside of the box’ solutions to improve the quality of experience for this target demographic.
As noted in the Chair and Chief Executive’s overview, we are now three years into the strategy and so it has been an appropriate time for us to stop, review and begin the planning for Horizon Two.
A lot has changed in the last three years - both nationally and within our region - which also justifies the need for a review of a plan that has worked well for us so far. We have seen a change of government which has a focus on driving wellbeing outcomes. Sport New Zealand, a key partner of Sport Waikato, have launched their own long term strategy which has a focus on play, active recreation and sport.
Within our region we have seen the needs of our communities begin to change, reflecting a global trend where physical activity doesn’t just mean organised sport. All of these insights plus many more have been captured by a comprehensive review process led by Sport Waikato throughout the second half of the year. Supporting the review has been the establishment of a Moving Waikato Advisory Group made up of representation from the same key partners that have been involved in the strategy for the last three years – health, education, local government, Iwi and key funders.
The review is due to be completed by early 2020 and while the overall shape and objectives of the ten year plan are unlikely to change, the focus areas for the next three to four years may be adjusted to reflect the changing needs of our region. Remembering that Moving Waikato 2025 is a partnered plan, Sport Waikato as an organisation will be reviewing its own role to ensure that we are positioned well to continue to lead, enable and facilitate change wherever it is required in order to achieve the Moving Waikato 2025 vision – ‘A healthy, vibrant, physically active and successful sporting region’.
In 2019, Sport Waikato continued to focus delivery of insights to support decision making in the play, physical activity, active recreation and sport sectors. The importance of insights to help inform and lead decision making in the region is imperative to ensure our partners are meeting the needs of our communities.
Initiatives lead and partnered by Sport Waikato are now more equipped with targeted insights. This enables Sport Waikato and the sector to leverage decision making and Sport Waikato is increasingly being sought as a valued partner and leader in the sector, making the organisation central to the conversation in sport, recreation, health and education settings.
Sport Waikato has improved provider capability through the following:
Regional and District Strategies
During 2019, in partnership with our Local Authorities, we have explored and delivered Sports Plans for the Hauraki, Taupo, Otorohanga, Thames Coromandel and Waitomo districts. These plans link Moving Waikato 2025 to support local level facility planning and service delivery support. The Hauraki District Sport Plan was adopted by Hauraki District Council in August and in collaboration with Sport Waikato’s teams, Council are already actioning recommendations from the plan.
Sport Waikato has developed two regional strategic plans, strengthening partnerships with agencies (both national and local) to create coordinated and collaborative approaches to delivery across the region. The Waikato Regional Cycling Education Plan was developed through 2018 and 2019 with partners from local and regional government, Sport Waikato, Cycling New Zealand, The Home of Cycling Trust and New Zealand Transport Agency.
The Waikato Regional Water Safety Strategy began development in late 2018 in partnership between Sport Waikato and Water Safety New Zealand, and with input from community, Iwi, youth and key partner agencies. The purpose of the Waikato Regional Water Safety Strategy is to use a locally led approach, developing collaborative approaches with key local partners that focus on the local context and utilise local knowledge to create solutions.
This is ME® is an initiative that supports, encourages and celebrates women and girls of all ages getting out there and being active THEIR way. Incorporating a ‘top down and bottom up’ approach, This is ME® facilitates a national conversation that puts females and physical activity at its centre, while also working with local communities to co-design and co-deliver strategies to help break down barriers for females to get moving. 2019 was a big year for This is ME®, with a number of key highlights and achievements:
The past 12 months has seen the expansion of This is ME® outside of the initial pilot sites of the Hauraki and Waitomo districts to include the Waipa, Taupo and Matamata/Piako districts and some activity in Hamilton City. Led by passionate working groups of local volunteers, This is ME® has gone from strength to strength in the communities of the Waikato region, whereby a number of unique and community-led activations have been designed and delivered to support females to engage in activity opportunities that work for them.
In 2019 we have continued our work in the secondary school space with leadership development among young women and initiating policy and delivery change have been key focuses. This year has seen the This is ME® Secondary School Programme expand delivery to Paeroa College and Piopio College in addition to Waihi College and Te Kuiti High School, who continue the programme for a second year. Following great successes in these schools, including increases in participation, This is ME® has been successful in securing Sport New Zealand Young Women Activation funding, which will see the programme expand regionally over the next three years.
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 Sports Organisations and local providers to effect change in delivery to ensure it meets the needs of females. Our work has included a partnership with Northern Districts Cricket Association which saw the launch of women’s backyard cricket – 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), partnered delivery of Quick Rip rugby (a hybrid version of Ripper, 15s and 7s) in Secondary Schools with NZ Rugby, and the delivery of guided Bike Rides on Hamilton City’s Te Awa Cycleway in partnership with the Hamilton City Council.
This is ME® made the National news…Twice! We were extremely excited to have our landmark video featured on NewsHub and an awesome article about the work we are doing in, with and for our communities featured in the New Zealand Herald at the beginning of the year.
This is ME® and Sport Waikato were also excited to be announced as a finalist in the 2019 New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards in the ‘Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion Award’ category. This is ME® is committed to challenging the systems and structures that prevent women and girls from being as active as they would like to be, so this nomination was received gratefully for the work we have done over the past year.
The Waikato Regional Sports Facilities Plan continued to provide valued leadership and direction towards the development of sports facilities across the Waikato region. A key priority has been on initiatives that optimise the current facilities network and improve the process of sports facility provision such as Community Hubs. The plan continues to focus on core planning principles and decision-making criteria to guide stakeholder investment and decision making.
A key principle of the plan, collaboration has been shown in further community partnerships established or in development such as the Te Kuiti High School Indoor Court project and more recently investigation into indoor court provision in partnership with the University of Waikato, Hamilton City Council and neighboring Local Authorities. Seven of the eleven priority projects included in the current plan have been completed, are currently in development or are included in the forward commitments and financial plans contained in the 2018-2028 Long Term Plans of the Waikato Region’s Local Authorities.
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, Places and Spaces across the Waikato region.
Through funding received from KiwiSport, Waikato Badminton were able deliver the Shuttle Time programme. Shuttle Time is the Badminton World Federation's school/club badminton programme which is very successful at grassroots (primary to intermediate school) level because it is designed to provide children many opportunities to have fun, engage with others and experience success in developing basic badminton skills.
Over 6100 students have experienced Shuttle Time sessions. Waikato Badminton made good increases in the intermediate schools competition as a result, compared to 2018 (from 18 teams to 25 teams), which was one of their goals. School visitations in Taupo were successful in August and further work is being completed on upskilling and enabling a local club to deliver programmes in the future.
In order to support volunteer growth and retention, Sport Waikato created a Volunteer Plan which includes initiatives to celebrate and support our often unsung sporting and recreational heroes. Sport Waikato recognises the need to support volunteers in our region to ensure the sustainability of sport and recreation for future generations.
During this year’s National Volunteer Week in June, Sport Waikato launched a Facebook campaign to ‘thank a volunteer’. This campaign resonated with our local communities across the whole region resulting in 225 volunteers being celebrated. Momentum continued throughout the year with many well-deserving volunteers recognised and rewarded with “We care so we Volunteer” coffee keep cups, umbrellas and sports bags.
During Student Volunteer Week, an additional digital campaign was launched by Sport Waikato, where four outstanding student volunteers who had all amassed over 400 volunteer hours each were rewarded for their support within their sport and recreation communities by being profiled in celebration on our Facebook page.
District Coordinators around the region work closely with councils, sporting groups and community organisations to support and guide new initiatives in the districts.
One such initiative is the Hugh Hayward Domain walk/cycle trail, developing a Walk/Cycle Trail around the perimeter of the Ngatea Domain as a resource for school and community, and with the potential of further developments. Sport Waikato worked alongside the Ngatea Domain User Group, made up from representatives of ten sporting and community clubs/organisations using the Ngatea Domain.
The Hauraki District Coordinator took on the role of ‘coordinator’. This ensured the group met regularly, were well informed, kept momentum and established relationships with other stakeholders as needed.
Within 12 months, stage one is complete. The look of the 1.5km track is aesthetically pleasing and has been described as a flowing ‘white ribbon’ around the domain. Using established trees to add variation into the track has worked well and been favourably commented on.
Both the Ngatea Primary School (cycling, walking and running) and Hauraki Plains College (cycling) are regular users. It has been the public use that has been the most surprising with very good numbers of regular and casual use – both cycling and walking. In terms of health and wellness benefits, it is being very well patronised. Stage 2 will potentially include fitness stations and a cycle skills course.
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.
An example of the impact our coaching services are having on our region’s coaches is exemplified in our work with Kim Hunt, Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty Coaching Lead. Kim’s role is all about building the capability and capacity of the Waikato/Bay of Plenty netball centres’ coaches based on their needs and the Netball New Zealand framework.
Since joining the Coach Lead programme Kim has become Netball New Zealand Coach Developer of the year, was selected onto the Sport New Zealand Trainer Programme, International Coach Development throughout the Pacific Islands and has led the first locally-led Netball Coach Developer workshop bringing Netball New Zealand to partner with Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty and Sport Waikato in a learning event built on the needs our people.
Kim’s story of impact on the coaching culture of Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty is testament to the power of locally led approaches to grow coach capacity. In 2016, there were only two coaching staff and no Coach Developers in the Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty Zone and now in 2019 there are more than 35 active Coach Developers within netball centres around the region.
Over the last 12 months, Sport Waikato has focused on the development of an Internal Cultural Capability Strategy, which aims to build a strong foundation of cultural capabilities for Sport Waikato and its staff as we work towards engaging Maaori communities with the goal of growing participation in play, active recreation and sport. The strategy incorporates a number of key elements including internal education, policy, procedure and practice review, and relationship development.
The Sport Waikato Internal Cultural Capability Strategy will endeavour to help staff with training in Te Ao Maaori (Maaori world view) to better understand the language, culture and its protocols.
Sport Waikato progress against the strategy has included the introduction of a whakatau (formal welcome) for all new staff to welcome them into our organisational whaanau (family) and engage in whanaungatanga (process of establishing relationships) to support the transition of new staff from their previous place of work to their new one; incorporation of karakia (prayer) in meeting spaces, and a number of staff learning their pepeha (tribal connections).
The Sport Waikato Roopu Kaimahi Maaori have also composed an original waiata (song) for the organisation, ‘Hei painga mo te Iwi - For the betterment of our people’, which celebrates who we are and the work that we do in the communities of the Waikato region. These developments have been embraced positively and reflect significant change in the ways Sport Waikato practices our commitment to engaging Te Ao Maaori.
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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