21 April 2021
Rugby League has joined nine other national sporting bodies alongside NZ Cricket, NZ Football, Hockey NZ, Netball NZ and NZ Rugby in backing the Sport NZ Balance is Better Statement of Intent first announced in September 2019.
NZRL joins the collective and individual action underway to keep young people in sport by putting a stronger focus on fun and development, reviewing existing competition structures and encouraging youth to play multiple sports rather than specialising too early.
The nine new sports to onboard the collective alongside rugby league are Athletics NZ, Badminton NZ, Basketball NZ, Golf NZ, Gymnastics NZ, Softball NZ, Touch NZ, Volleyball NZ and Waka Ama NZ.
Sport NZ Chief Executive Raelene Castle says it is great to see these sports formally commit to these important changes.
“We need to change what is offered and how we engage with young people. There needs to be quality opportunities for all participants, not just the best players.”
“Sport is a huge part of our society and important for the wellbeing of so many New Zealanders, however the way sport is delivered has not kept up with what young people are looking for. We know that because they’re telling us and many are also walking away.”
“The original five sports have done some excellent work and we now have ten more making this important commitment. This is another encouraging day for youth sport in New Zealand,” says Raelene Castle.
NZRL CEO Greg Peters says NZRL has long supported this initiative.
“It is hugely important Rugby league is an enjoyable and safe place for our communities to flourish, so there’s no questioning our support for the Balance is Better initiative. It’s great we can formally commit to this kaupapa and continue to work alongside other codes in providing positive sporting opportunities for youth across Aotearoa.”
The commitments outlined in the Statement of Intent are:
To join the collective stand, national sports organisations must commit at executive and board level, and put resources behind making changes to how they deliver youth sport.
“This is an important step, but it is not their first. They’ve all been on a journey to get to this point, as are many other national sporting bodies,” says Raelene Castle.
“There is real momentum behind these changes – a widespread recognition that we need to work hard and work differently to create quality and fun experiences that will keep kids in sport. This is great for participants, future talent and for our sector.”
19 April 2021
New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) has been given a once in a generation opportunity to improve and transform the code as part of the Government’s COVID-19 Sport Recovery Package.
Of this recovery package, Sport NZ’s ‘Strengthen and Adapt’ phase aims to help sector organisations make changes necessary to ensure they are future-proofed in order to operate successfully in the post-pandemic environment.
NZRL completed an in-depth research process involving key rugby league stakeholder groups to determine the code’s current positioning, gaps and pressure points.
Using the feedback and insights gained, NZRL created its ‘Strengthen and Adapt’ response plan, ‘Ngā Ringa Āwhina’ – an initiative designed to support increased capability across the rugby league network at all levels in New Zealand.
Sport NZ will contribute $750,000 towards NZRL’s Ngā Ringa Āwhina project over 18 months (April 2021 – June 2022). NZRL will be supplementing this amount to ensure the programme is sustainable and also can continue to exist past the initial Sport NZ funding period.
The kaupapa of Ngā Ringa Āwhina is ‘the helping or supportive hands’ and encapsulates the concept of working alongside Zones, Districts, Clubs and communities, as a partner, in a mana enhancing way.
In short, Ngā Ringa Āwhina aims to establish initiatives of trained (and externally supported) specialists deployed into regions as agreed with Zones, Districts and Clubs following an analysis of needs, to support their existing personnel in making improvements, and leave resources in place for long term sustainability.
The four main components of Ngā Ringa Āwhina are as follows:
NZRL CEO Greg Peters says this is a massive opportunity for rugby league.
“The desired outcome of Ngā Ringa Āwhina is a rugby league network that is consistent, confident, credible, and professional. A safe, supportive environment reflective of and integral to our communities. This has the potential to have a significant long-term impact on the game in New Zealand.”
Sport New Zealand CEO, Raelene Castle says, “We have worked alongside Greg and the NZRL team in the development of Ngā Ringa Āwhina and we are excited about the opportunity this represents for the Rugby League community.
“Sport New Zealand’s strengthen and adapt programme aims to support our National Partners to rebuild post-Covid-19 and make changes to operate successfully post-pandemic, strengthening their capability and capacity and creating a better future for the communities they serve. We look forward to seeing the programme hit the ground.”
Primary focus on clubs and regional organisations with $15m Community Resilience Fund
Sport NZ has created a $25 million package to provide further short-term relief for organisations at all levels of sport and active recreation. The funds have been made available through savings achieved from the reprioritisation of Sport NZ’s work programme in the wake of COVID-19, as well as the drawing down on cash reserves.
Today’s announcement follows an initial package of support for Sport NZ and High-Performance Sport NZ partners announced in early April. This provided financial certainty for National Sport and Recreation Organisations, Regional Sport Trusts others, with funding commitments totalling $70 million per annum. Partners were provided with flexibility on how these funds could be used to reflect the challenging circumstances resulting from COVID-19 through until 30 June 2021.
The second tranche of support announced today has a focus on providing relief for struggling local and regional sport and recreation organisations. This relief will be provided via a $15m Community Resilience Fund.
“Play, active recreation and sport have a key role in maintaining individual health and wellbeing, bringing our communities together and keeping these communities strong,” says Sport NZ CEO Peter Miskimmin.
“It is vital that organisations at all levels of our sector remain viable and are there when play, active recreation and sport can fully resume, and we believe we have structured this relief package in a way that will maximise its benefit at all levels of the sector for the greatest possible good.”
“Clubs and regional organisations are the heartbeat of our sector but have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19, particularly through the loss of Class 4 gaming revenue and membership fees and they need support now more than ever,” says Peter Miskimmin.
The Sport NZ Community Resilience Fund opens on Monday 11 May and will be administered through New Zealand’s 14 regional sports trusts due to the strength of their networks deep into their local sport and recreation communities. Eligible organisations can apply for a maximum of $1,000 for clubs and $40,000 for regional bodies.
Also included in Sport NZ’s $25 million relief package are:
Further details on these three funds will be announced over the coming weeks.
Sport NZ also continues to provide expert business capability support to its partners in areas such as finance, human resources and technology, as well as providing free employee wellbeing services and support in accessing the Government’s COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.
More information on new $25 million short-term relief package and Sport NZ’s wider response to COVID-19 is available at sportnz.org.nz.
Community Resilience Fund Factsheet