Issue 72 : 10 January 2021

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. We also extend our best wishes to you for the "New Year", with the hope that this year amateur sport will not experience the significant disruptions which occurred in 2020.

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. An archive of earlier editions of the e-zine can be found here. For those who follow Twitter, you can also follow the Association, @AmateurSportNZ.

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

Viewpoint : “Kids In Sport, Stay Out Of Court” ...

According to figures released by New Zealand Police and recently reported in the media (read more here), at least 900 people joined gangs in 2020, a 13 per cent year-on-year increase. It was reported that the majority of recruits are young men, with Canterbury University sociologist, Jarrod Gilbert noting that, “there were a number of reasons why young people joined gangs, but the main factors were they wanted a sense of family or brotherhood”.

(Gangs offer a missing sense of "family" and "brotherhood" to some young Kiwi men)

Sport clubs can (and should) provide a positive alternative. Joining a sport club can provide a sense of belonging for youth, “learning they need to be somewhere at a certain time, how to share, how to listen, how to make friends, how to be in a team and take turns and how to win and lose” – in other words, how to become part of the social give-and-take that is a general requirement to be a fully-functioning member of New Zealand society.

One of the reasons why teenagers may be reluctant to join sport clubs today is the lack of a meaningful incentive to do so. The more that many sport clubs have become focused on being a launch-pad for elite athlete development, the less many teenagers feel incentivised to be involved, particularly if their sporting talents and aspirations do not conform to the elite-model, with (as a result) club coaching and development resources being unavailable, or inadequate for their needs. By adjusting their focus, sport clubs are ideally placed to provide both a sense of "family" and "brotherhood", within and across communities.

(To what degree have sport clubs become overly focused on being academies for the talented?)

In his 2020 book “The Tyranny of Merit – What’s Become of the Common Good?”, Harvard University’s Michael J. Sandel addresses the “rhetoric of rising”, a side-effect of which is the growing divide between “those who make it”, and “those who don’t”.

This ideology is clearly having a negative impact on New Zealand community sport, with inequality between local community clubs increasing as they actively compete for scarce coaching and financial resources, and talented players. Any supporter of any sport in any part of New Zealand will be able to point to community clubs that are “blooming” and those that are “withering”, often as a result of this unhealthy competition.

(U.K. research indicates sport participation reduces incidences of property and violent crime)

Government has an opportunity to address this inequality, particularly by focusing on increasing youth membership and participation in all clubs, across all communities. This Association has already pointed out how this could occur (click here to read more), which would have the direct benefit of keeping more kids in sport, (and well-away from court).

2021 Colgate Games Hosted By Inglewood And Stoke ...

The North Island leg of the Colgate Games concluded today in Inglewood, Taranaki. Featuring around 1,100 competitors in 2021, Taranaki was the first host province when this annual athletics competition for children first began in 1978, with Colgate’s sponsorship of the competition (around $25,000 annually) conceivably the longest of its type in New Zealand sport. As Mohamed Elemam from the 2021 Organising Committee in Inglewood observes, the event focuses on participation and friendship, as much as skills. The South Island leg of the annual event takes place next weekend, in Stoke.

(The Colgate Games, an annual athletics event for children, was first held in 1978)

Until two years ago, the New Zealand Children's Athletics Association (NZCAA), formed in 1995, was responsible for the hosting of the North Island and South Island Colgate Games and the grade 12 and 13 New Zealand inter-provincial competitions. Following its dissolution by the Registrar of Incorporated Societies in 2016, in 2018 all activities of the NZCAA were merged into Athletics New Zealand, who have administered the Colgate Games since 2019.

Five Awarded Queens Service Medal For Community Sport ...

The Queen's Service Medal is awarded by the government to recognise and reward volunteer service to the community. It is an extremely important award in New Zealand’s Honours System, given voluntary community service is essential to our social well-being and the well-being of amateur sport. The Association was therefore delighted to note that in the 2021 New Year Honours List, five women were recognised for their service to sport in the community.

(Robin Boldarin, Angela Keenan, Dr Judith Lowes, Martha Taru and Nive Venning)

Robin Boldarin has been an integral part of Catholic Netball Wellington City Area for decades and she is currently Secretary of the Wellington Primary School Sports Association, involved in running the Wellington-wide competition.

Angela Keenan has contributed to netball in Hokitika in a variety of roles, including as President, Secretary and Coaching Co-ordinator for Hokitika Netball Centre since 1984. She has coordinated coaching programmes for coaches, players and umpires for 20 years, attended the New Zealand netball championships as a Senior Coach and U15 Coach and was the Centre’s Secretary for five years.

Dr Judith Lowes is a member of the New Zealand Federation of Roller Sports and Skate New Zealand. She has been an International Calculator for Artistic Roller Skating and is currently Chief Calculator for New Zealand. She is a roller sports moderator for  Australasia.

Marthalina (Martha) Taru has been President of the Pacific Islands Church (PIC) Netball Club since 2009 and oversaw the Club winning the Wellington Premier 1, 2 and 3 grades in 2019. She has been involved with the Club since 1977 and has been involved in coaching and selection of representative teams for more than 30 years.

Nive Venning Ahelemo has been involved with the Tokelau Hutt Valley Sports and Culture Association for more than 40 years. In 2007, she was elected as the National Netball Coordinator for Mafutaga Tupulaga Tokelau Niu Hila, the national Tokelau youth body. She was part of the group who helped establish Tokelau Netball in 2006.

The Association extends its congratulations to Robin, Angela, Judith, Martha and Nive.

Tenth Successive "Unity Shield" Title For South Canterbury ...

The South Canterbury Roller Sports Club (based in Timaru), gained the most points in all speed events at the New Zealand Championships held earlier this month in Whanganui, winning the "Unity Shield" for the tenth consecutive year. While the total number of entries were reported to be down by around 20 per cent this year, South Canterbury had a 24-strong team of skaters competing at the championships, (only one team member fewer than last year).

Bill Begg resurrected the champion club in 2007 and with his wife Cheryl has been instrumental in promoting and coaching the sport of speed-skating over the past 14 years. Having coached 10 skaters to 18 world titles, and many others to a combined 130 world medals, in 2015 Bill received the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM), for his services to speed-skating.

(Bill Begg ONMZ – photo courtesy of South Canterbury Museum)

Tuatapere New Year Sports Day Turns 112 ...

The "Tuatapere Axemen’s Athletic Society" first held their annual sports day on Easter Monday 1910, thereafter moving to holding the sports on Boxing Day every year, carefully avoiding any conflict with the annual New Year's Day community sports meeting hosted in Invercargill by the Southland Caledonian Society.

(Competition for axemen has been a regular feature of Southland life for over a century)

The first New Year’s Day event was held in Tuatapere (now known as New Zealand’s “sausage capital”), in 1919. In 2021, the event (now hosted under the auspices of the Southland Otago Axemen’s Centre Inc.), featured highland dancing, wood chopping and children’s athletics.

(Riverton Mayor, Gary Tong, presents Peter Templeton with his Community Service Award)

In 2018, the Tuatapere Axemen’s Athletic Society’s former President, Peter Templeton, received a Southland District Council Community Service Award in Riverton. "An official commentator for the southern timber-sports circuit for 30 years, as well as organising many events, many community groups have benefited from Peter’s tireless fundraising."

You can read more about this year’s event, by clicking here.

"For The Love Of The Game" ...

13 years ago, Leon Kass from the University of Chicago and Eric Cohen from the United States’ Ethics and Public Policy Centre, co-wrote an insightful essay in “The New Republic” on what they described as the “adulteration of sport” in the United States.

They noted that this phenomonen “is owed, of course, partly to the fact that spectator sports are, quite literally, a serious business - a multi-billion-dollar serious business. All these profit-driven activities help to shape the tastes and judgments of the fans, whose tastes and judgments in turn transform the shape of the game and the way it is played and appreciated.”

In New Zealand in 2021, the challenges of the same phenomenon in a post-COVID world have been brought into sharp focus, from the financial expectations of professional sportspeople and the impact this is having on the financial viability of many national sporting organisations to the grassroots levels, through to “the way that we play the game”, (whatever that game may be). You can read the full article from "The New Republic", here.

(Leon Kass and Eric Cohen discuss the meaning of sport to society)

From The Archives ...


“Three fine workers for amateur athletics in New Zealand for approximately 50 years each were honoured in the King’s Birthday awards. To J. W. Heenan a former member of the Wellington Centre, a past delegate of the New Zealand Amateur Athletic Association, and a prominent Rugby football administrator went a knighthood. To T. W. (“Dorrie”) Leslie, veteran starter and Olympic Games official, went the award of M.B.E., and to W. Morton, one of those who kept amateur athletics alive in Auckland during a difficult period, went also an M.B.E. award.”

(Theodore Wright Leslie – one of the first recipients of a Royal Honour for service to sport)

The first royal awards for sportspeople in New Zealand were made in June 1949, as noted above, with amateur athletics to the focus of the awards then made by King George VI. In the period following the end of World War Two, there was a concerted push to cultivate a renewed popularity for amateur sport, with amateur athletics taking a prominent role.

As one club in Whakatane noted in early 1946, “amateur athletics have an appeal all their own for the endeavour behind them is to reinstate the running of sports for sport’s sake. Winners of all events compete merely for the pleasure of winning and are judged completely on their merits as exponents of running, cycling, jumping, hurdling or chopping as the case may be.”

(Leslie was one of two Official Starters at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles)

Awards for prowess in, or contribution to, sport are now a common feature of New Zealand’s royal orders, decorations and medals. Of passing interest, this Association’s Patron, Andy Leslie received the “Dorrie Leslie Medal for Sport" (Dorrie was no relation), while attending Petone Technical College in the late 1950’s, early 1960’s.

You can read more about Dorrie Leslie's contribution to sport, by clicking here.

The Final Word ...

“We have lost an understanding of what makes sport truly admirable.”

(Leon R. Kass and Eric Cohen)

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

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P O Box 582, Wellington, 6140

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