To find out more about the Hillary Commission and the sport sector in New Zealand phone (04) 472 8058.
Brian Lochore OBE
By Sir Wilson Whineray
Hillary Commission Chairman in 1997/1998
New Zealand is a sporting nation. The Hillary Commission is the government body responsible for supporting sport and encouraging New Zealanders to lead active lives. This is a broad role. We have set three priorities - young people, coaching at all levels including high performance sport, and active living - for the funds we manage and our own programmes.
Young People First
Sport plays a major part in young people's lives. All sport activity is a combination of two sets of skills. Physical skills are needed to master the technical elements of a game. Running, throwing and catching are skills that can be coached from the earliest age. They are the building blocks of skills that young people develop as they become more involved in sport.
But sport But sport is more than just a physical thing. Attitude skills are also needed for sport: skills such as leadership, being part of a team, discipline, fair play and striving for success. Good coaches and parents teach these skills, and everyone agrees that young people need them. Because sport is so important for young people and they are the future of sport, the Hillary Commission puts young people first in its priorities.
Sport is something you learn. Everyone who plays sport needs coaching, whether they are just starting out or preparing for an Olympic final. The Hillary Commission supports coaching at every level, beginning with KiwiSport in primary schools through to high-performance coaching academies. The recent Coaches Count campaign has raised the profile of coaching in the community and it is good to see that coaches are starting to get the credit they deserve. Some of the most important coaches in New Zealand are teachers - last year over 13,700 volunteered for KiwiSport training to give their students a better sporting chance. In 1998 we celebrated 10 great years of KiwiSport and said 'Thanks Teach' for the work teachers do in sport.
Coaching is important at every level and, at the highest level, good coaching makes all the difference. The Hillary Commission invested nearly $12 million in high- performance sport in 1997/98 - we are committed to helping New Zealand coaches give their athletes the best possible preparation. The Commission has a contract with the New Zealand Sports Foundation to help sports produce champions. The majority of these funds are dedicated to the coaches who make it happen.
Two thirds of New Zealand adults lead active lives. This means that on most days of the week they are physically active for at least 30 minutes - in their leisure time. This is the level of activity that medical researchers now prescribe for a healthier life. Many of these adults are involved in sporting activities - overall a third of us are members of sports clubs. But aside from organised sport, New Zealanders have a multitude of active leisure options to take advantage of. Walking, gardening, swimming and tramping are all popular activities, and in some cases their popularity is growing. Promoting opportunities for people to lead active lives is a priority for the Commission, but has proven to be a difficult task.
There is a need for effective action in this area. Hundreds of adults die prematurely each year from medical conditions that physical activity could minimise or prevent. There is no shortage of evidence to support the need for more work in this area - the National Health Committee has recently called on Government to treat physical inactivity as a health policy priority.
For its part the Hillary Commission has contracts with its delivery partners - the sports trusts - to enable them to create and promote opportunities to encourage more people to be more active. The Green Prescriptions promotion is starting to show results and more Maori are being reached through He Oranga Poutama in much of the country. But we are looking for an attitude and lifestyle change in at least 180,000 adults by 2000, and this will take continued effort by our partners. A major taskforce chaired by my Commission colleague Dr David Gerrard has also recommended that a communications campaign is needed to make physical activity a personal issue for people who are not active for 30 minutes a day. Work on this has started, for a 1999 launch.
Value for Money
With funding from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board and some direct contribution from Government, the Hillary Commission was able to invest $37 million into sport and active living activities in 1997/98. Because sport is largely a volunteer sector, these funds make an enormous difference to the way many organisations are contributing to their community. With good management the funds have achieved our targeted results in almost every area, which reflects the growing skills of our partners and the organisations we support.
Sport makes a major contribution to the communities we all live in. The three priorities of the Commission will enable us to enhance that contribution and improve the quality of life that New Zealanders enjoy. As Chairman for five years I am proud to have worked with my fellow Commissioners, who are each enormously committed to bettering our communities and our national profile through sport.
Wilson Whineray OBE
The Hillary Commission says farewell to Sir Wilson Whineray as Chairman and welcomes Brian Lochore OBE to this role.