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Physical education and health congress

Press Release
20 September 2006

Fuse the flavours: New Zealanders join world leaders in first physical education, physical activity and health congress

A first-time event merging physical education, health, recreation, sport and dance sectors has attracted 140 nationally and internationally acclaimed speakers to Wellington next month.

The 1st ICHPER-SD Oceania Congress 2006, 1-4 October, includes world class presenters from New Zealand, Turkey, Sweden, Australia, Asia, Fiji, USA, Canada, Japan and Ireland. (ICHPER-SD is the International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance.)

The event, organised by Physical Education New Zealand and supported by Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC), and the Ministries of Health and Education, is being held at the Wellington Convention Centre. Other major sponsors include the Southern Trust and Wellington City Council.

The theme, Fusion Down-Under: Recipes for Movement, aims to challenge traditional conference themes and structures by offering a fresh approach that questions traditional ways of grouping presentations in sub-disciplines which can in turn, restrict how ideas and issues may be examined and change encouraged. Each presenter has been asked to fit their presentation into one of 18 themes to encourage them to seek a fresh approach to how aspects of movement can be broadened and advanced.

“Traditionally the sectors of health, physical education, recreation, sport and dance work in isolation. The aim of the congress is to merge research, practice, ideas and interests and, perhaps most importantly, cultures and nations,” says Physical Education New Zealand President Lorna Gillespie.

“Sharing ideas can only lead to positive work in the future – greater understanding of the place of movement in education and in peoples lives, and support for physically active communities in New Zealand and around the world.”

Around 500 people from around the world are attending the congress. This includes primary, secondary and tertiary educators and academics, sports coordinators, coaches, health workers and representatives from Sports Trusts and Local Government.

The presenters hold high level positions in their respective field, having dedicated their careers to researching, and/or contributing to the physical education, health, recreation, sport or dance sectors.

“The speakers have a list of awards, research and published work, as long as your arm. It’s amazing to have these world leaders in one place – people attending will take away invaluable knowledge,” says Lorna Gillespie.

One topic expected to attract a lot of interest is 'Pork bones, Puha and Pavlova’ where New Zealand speakers will highlight our country’s contributions to the fields of health, physical education, recreation, sport and dance.

“In traveling to meet potential presenters we realised how highly regarded New Zealand physical education is. New Zealand is considered a world leader. Our different curriculum and perspective is a main draw card for the international visitors – no one approached to present turned down the offer,” she says.

Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast and Minister of Education Steve Maharey kick off the congress, followed by a memorial lecture from University of Waikato’s Dr Clive Pope in memory of Philip Smithells (Otago University) – who made a huge contribution to physical education in New Zealand.


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