Issue 58 : 28 June 2020

Talofa Lava, Kia Orana, Malo E Leilei, Tena Koutou, Hello ...

... and welcome to the latest issue of “For The Love Of The Game”, the official e-zine of the New Zealand Amateur Sport Association Inc. We hope you enjoy reading the articles below.

If you have any feedback on this issue, ideas for future articles, or would like to contact the Editor, please click here. And, you are invited to forward the e-zine to others you know, who may be interested in reading it.

If you are interested in applying for membership of the Association, please click here

Association Meets With Sport New Zealand ...

Last week, Association Vice-President John Morrison and John Dow met with Sport NZ CEO Peter Miskimmin and the team responsible for overseeing "community sport", at Sport NZ's Wellington office. Sport NZ acknowledged the excellent media profiling the Association had achieved recently and were generally supportive of the views expressed by the Association, believing this work had contributed positively to the current debate around addressing immediate issues and the future of organising and resourcing sport in New Zealand.

Acknowledging the Association's on-going research and stakeholder advocacy, Sport NZ suggested the Association could be invited to participate in their forthcoming process for determining how the Government's $265 million investment could be best applied to sport in New Zealand. It was agreed that the Association's commitment to any programme supporting community clubs could be worthy of Government support and noted this would be of interest to the Minister at his forthcoming meeting with the Association next month.

Interim Chief Executive Appointed ...

The Board of the Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Will Caccia-Birch on an honorarium basis as the Association’s interim CEO, as part of its national growth strategy. Formerly Head of Community Rugby at the Wellington Rugby Football Union and an Association Board Member since 2018, over two decades Will has led the growth of community-based rugby in the Wellington region, with a deep understanding of the factors contributing to successful community-based sporting organisations. Will can be contacted by clicking here.

(Will Caccia-Birch is the Association’s new interim-CEO)

Money For Mouthguards ...

While New Zealand’s national sport administrators grapple with complexity of what to do with $265 million of government funding to support community sport, youth wanting to play the game are struggling to pay for basic sporting equipment.

Earlier this week, Wellington City Mission was approached by the Principal of one Wellington High School, urgently needing mouthguards. A large number of students had enrolled to play sports where mouthguards are a critical piece of protective equipment, but their families were unable to afford the cost of supply. Their school’s Sports Day was very close to being cancelled.

Family poverty will be a growing concern as post COVID-19 secondary school sports gathers momentum nationally. Wellington City Mission have supplied over 2,500 items of sports equipment, including 1,000 mouthguards to sportspeople so far this year.

This Association believes that “grand gestures” of financial support must also provide “practical solutions” which deliver resources to where they are needed most, with the grass-roots of community sport needing to be an immediate priority.

When the cost of a pair of rugby boots forces a choice between playing sport or a week of family meals, or when the cost of a single bus ticket to get to a local sports ground is too great to pay, it’s time to ask if current sport funding strategies are solving real-world issues.

Basketball Deserves Better ...

Last week, New Zealand’s Sport and Recreation Minister, Grant Robertson indicated that Basketball New Zealand is likely to receive more funding in the “next COVID package”, to be announced on Wednesday next week. The Minister’s statement comes on the heels of sharp criticism from basketball’s national body that one of New Zealand’s fastest growing community sports has been largely overlooked in recent relief-funding decisions.

(Iain Potter suggests a historical and institutional bias in terms of national sport funding)

Harbour Basketball CEO John Hunt recently was reported as saying that “I think Sport NZ and to a degree High Performance Sport New Zealand are living in the past, they are funding a sporting landscape that existed a generation ago”.

Meanwhile, Basketball New Zealand CEO Iain Potter has observed that Sport NZ has demonstrated “historical and institutional bias” over its most recent relief-funding decision which ignored basketball, noting that it was a “kick in the guts” for everyone associated with the code.

New Tasman Region Branch Chair ...

Marty Davis is the Director of Sports and Wanderers Sports Club in Nelson, responsible for improving participation and performance and raising the quality of coaching in all sports codes offered by the Club, which include rugby, cricket, netball, squash, and tennis.

In 2015, Marty returned to New Zealand to become CEO of the Poverty Bay Rugby Football Union following 15 years working in Europe in professional sporting environments, including 12 years as National Coach and Development Officer the "Federation de Rugby Luxembourgeoise". He is passionate about the role that sport plays in creating and sustaining healthy New Zealand communities and the Association is delighted to have Marty as a member of its regional development team.

(Marty Davis coached the Luxembourg National Rugby team to 65th in the world, from 95th)

Dynasty Sport Back On Board for National Sport Club Survey ...

The Association warmly welcomes-back Dynasty Sport as a key sponsor of its National Sport Club Survey in 2020. Dynasty provides distinctive and bespoke sporting apparel to community clubs throughout the country, enabling teams and supporters to represent their local communities with pride, both on and off the field.

The 2020 NSCS will be open from mid-August. This year, the themes of the NSCS are the aftermath of initial COVID-19 lockdown, as well as sport club innovation and resilience. Every sport club in New Zealand is invited to participate. As in 2019, Dynasty Sport will be offering a $500 credit toward the purchase of sporting apparel to a survey participant selected in the survey's "Prize Draw" for participants.

If you would like to ensure that your club is invited to participate, please click here.

National Volunteer Week ...

This past week has been New Zealand’s “National Volunteer Week”, with the theme of “Te Hua o te Mahi Tahi”, or “the benefit of working together”. For many New Zealanders, community sport is where they are most likely to experience the benefits of, or participate in, volunteering.

A study undertaken by Sport England, explored the motivations of volunteers in community sport and found that, of those who volunteered in sport, only 9.4% volunteered “informally” (i.e. outside an organisation), accounting for just 5.1% of the volunteer hours contributed to sport.

(Most sport volunteers do so as part of a community sport club they have an affinity with)

The study concluded that “sport volunteering is therefore a highly embedded activity, structured to a greater or lesser extent through clubs, teams and other sporting and educational organisations.” In other words, the motivation for sport volunteering is intrinsic and strongly aligned to a tribal sporting affiliation, as opposed to extrinsic where there is no obvious community, club or other emotional connection.

Viewpoint : Creating Bonds & Building Bridges ...

In his book “Bowling Alone”, political scientist Robert Putnam observed that in the United States people “have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbours, and democratic structures.” He suggests this is leading to the collapse of American communities, (while also offering suggestions for their revival).

Putnam notes that we “sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organisations that meet, know our neighbours less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialise with our families less often.” He emphasises the importance of social capital, arising from social networks which create bonds, (such as those created by community sport clubs).

(Being physically active while socially disconnected is increasingly common in society)

In New Zealand, sports clubs provide the glue binding many communities together, which is why in the post COVID-19 world, the importance of these organisations must be supported.

Putnam observes that the social capital created by local community associations is important in creating “value for the people who are connected and – at least sometimes – for bystanders as well.” With community sports clubs, bridges are built across communities, providing an opportunity for social interaction between diverse community groups.

(Following its earlier amalgamation, Western Suburbs RFC now has only one senior team)

But sport is also tribal. The growing clamour by sports administrators for club closures and amalgamations should be treated with extreme caution. The Randwick Rugby League Club in Naenae is an example of a club which has fiercely asserted its community independence.

This year, Randwick celebrates its 90th anniversary following its formation in 1930 based around the Moera Railway Workshops. In 2018, the Club was encouraged to join the new sport hub at Fraser Park, with the press noting that “the state of neighbouring Naenae Park has been in the spotlight with the Randwick Rugby League Club struggling to field a team and being forced to use showers in shipping containers.” However, the Club has preferred to stay close to its community roots on Gibson Crescent in Naenae.

(The Randwick Kingfishers are a proud local community club, based in Naenae)

From The Archives ...


“Bowls as a game is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you may exhaust yourself but not your subject. It is a contest, a duel, a melee, calling for courage, skill, strategy and self-control. It is a test of temper, a trial of honour, a revealer of character.

It affords the chance to play the man and act as a gentleman. It means going into God’s out-of-doors, getting close to Nature, fresh air, exercise – a sweeping away of mental cobwebs and genuine recreation for tired tissues.

It is a cure for care, an antidote for worry and ensures companionship with friends, social intercourse, opportunity of courtesy, kindliness and generosity to an opponent. It promotes not only physical health but moral force. So play up, be up and play the game.”

(Bowls in New Zealand has been characterised by many smaller community-focused clubs)

In 1937, the Annual Meeting of the New Zealand Bowling Association held in Dunedin reported 602 more members of Bowling Clubs nationally compared to the previous year, with more than 2,000 club members in Dunedin alone. Nationally, it was reported that there were 17,000 members of Bowling Clubs around the country, spread across approximately 400 clubs, with Auckland having 45 clubs. With around 40 members per club, it needs to be remembered that bowls was (and still largely is) a local community game built around clusters of associated families and community relationships, (with some towns having more than one club).

The Final Word ...

“In our leisure, we reveal what kind of people we are.”

(Publius Ovidius Naso – 43BC – 17AD)

© New Zealand Amateur Sport Association Inc. (2669211), 2017

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P O Box 582, Wellington, 6140

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