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More than a question of stadiums

Media Release
5 October 2012
- for immediate release

More than a question of stadiums

It’s “not so much about a rugby stadium.” That’s according to Geoff Barry of Sport Canterbury who was a guest panellist at the Future of Sport of Recreation in Canterbury forum organised and hosted by Lincoln University on Wednesday 3 October.

The forum was arranged in association with the New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) to discuss just what shape the industry should take as the rebuild gets underway, and just what opportunities can or ought to exist for those seeking employment in the sector.

The employment issue is a serious one. Like many industries within the Canterbury region, damaged infrastructure post-earthquakes meant that both employment and work experience opportunities were seriously compromised in the sport and recreation industry.

“After the earthquakes, students suddenly found that the venue for their practicum didn’t exist anymore,” says Lincoln University lecturer, Chris Hutchinson.

On the question of sport and recreation development for an earthquake damaged Christchurch a similar sentiment was shared among the panellists. While the requirements for elite sports – including stadiums and the like – is important, it’s far from the full picture, and care needs to be taken to ensure a substantial part of the dialogue is on the wider societal needs and value of sport and recreation.

“Sport and recreation enhances community and a sense of community,” said Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Māori and Pacifica) Professor Hirini Matunga as part of his welcoming speech. “Strong communities have facilities that solidify their community. Sport and recreation facilities play a big part in this.”

In exploring just what these opportunities to reconnect with community may be, Geoff Barry noted that the goal is to try to get the balance right between all parties, but that there is “no shortage of ideas” when it comes to the potential of the Eastern suburbs for a wide range of recreational pursuits.

The question was raised as to just what infrastructure and facilities should be provided in light of where Christchurch’s competitive advantage may lie, with Andrew Leslie of the NZRA remarking that “If the question is ‘what can this region be best at?,’ it can be best at quality of life.”

Of interest, Lincoln University’s Dean of the Faculty of Environment, Society and Design, Associate Professor Greg Ryan, made the point that, in planning for the future of sport and recreation in Canterbury, it’s important not to be informed by an overly nostalgic view of the pre-earthquake past. That is, the challenges posed now are in many respects the same challenges that existed previously. The city “hadn’t necessarily come to grips with sport and recreation prior to the earthquake,” he said.

Panellists for the forum were:

• Associate Professor Greg Ryan (Dean of the Faculty of Environment, Society and Design, Lincoln University)
• Andrew Leslie (NZRA)
• Richard Lindsay (Sport NZ)
• Geoff Barry (Sport Canterbury)
• Tony Hall (Pro-Chancellor, Lincoln University Council)

Ends

About the Department of Social Science, Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sport, Faculty of Environment, Society and Design, Lincoln University
The Department of Social Science, Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sport is the most diverse of Lincoln University’s academic departments. The disciplinary backgrounds and fields of study within the Department range from national parks management and outdoor recreation to history, sociology, and geography, to urban recreation, sport management, and tourism in all its forms.

The courses of study which the Department oversees are likewise diverse. Bachelor degrees in Sport and Recreation Management, Social Science, and Tourism Management – that can be taken with specialised major and minor options from across the University – offer challenging programmes of study which combine academic rigour with an excellent preparation for students’ chosen careers.

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