Wellington Scoop

Getting a chance to ‘have-a-go’ with sport, locally

Press Release – Sport Wellington
After 14 years, the annual Sport Wellington Stadium Sports Festival, aimed at providing primary aged children with quality ‘have-a-go’ experiences in sports, is evolving from the fixed Wellington location of the Westpac Stadium to a locally led approach of a number of events held in the regions by local organisations.

Due to the limit on numbers that could participate, every year more schools would register interest in attending than what the event could cater for. A total of 549 year 5 and 6 students from 20 schools took part in the 2017 event, but 54 schools applied.

“We believe that we can increase the reach of the festival ‘have-a-go’ experience by encouraging and assisting the development of locally-led events, and therefore reach a greater number of students,” Patrick Simpson, Community Sport Manager, Sport Wellington said.

“If festival events are held locally, this will allow local sports organisations to form relationships with schools in areas they are capable of reaching and engaging in, meaning there is more likelihood of children being able to continue their participation. Local events will also use local sporting facilities – and we know that getting involved locally with a sport increases the chance of the child continuing their participation.”

Although the 2017 festival was the last centralised event to be organised by Sport Wellington, it isn’t the end of the festivals. Lower Hutt, through Hutt City Council already hold their own local event and Regional Public Health has held discussions with Sport Wellington about holding a 2018 event in Porirua. Sport Wellington encourages other areas within the region to do the same.

The Sports Festival gives sporting organisations an opportunity to showcase a range of sports to primary school children while creating a relationship with the participating schools to facilitate ongoing participation opportunities. Children often get the chance to try sports that they may not have experienced previously, but which they might want to play regularly either through school, KiwiSport programmes, or local sports clubs and other local organisations.

Since the Festival was introduced in 2004, more than 7,000 children and 140 primary schools (out of 180) have been involved. “We have the model, the templates and the processes, and will assist new providers with the hand-over so that we can create the opportunity for local festivals to be held,” Simpson said.

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