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National Institute boon for elite athletes

17 February 2005

National Institute boon for elite athletes

World champion kayaker Ben Fouhy will join other top New Zealand sporting talent, including AUT student and international hockey representative Jaimee Provan, and members of the New Zealand Breakers basketball and New Zealand Warriors rugby league teams, to celebrate the opening of the New Zealand Institute of Sport and Recreation Research (NZISRR) next week at Auckland University of Technology.

Minister for Sport and Recreation the Hon Trevor Mallard will officially open the Institute on the 24th of February at the AUT Sport and Fitness Centre, 2:30-4pm.

The Hon Trevor Mallard says it's fantastic to see organisations like AUT establish a research centre that provides a comprehensive range of research, from high performance to participation in physical activity for health.

"By working collaboratively with other research institutions throughout the country, NZIRSS will play a pivotal role in discovering evidence-based solutions that will enhance the sport and recreation experience of every New Zealander."

Located at AUT’s Akoranga campus on the North Shore, the NZISRR brings together researchers spread across AUT’s Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences. NZISRR Director Associate Professor Patria Hume says the benefits to New Zealanders – from those wanting to be physically active to elite sportspeople – will be considerable.

“By bringing research staff, postgraduates, research associates, coaches, athletes and health professionals into an incubator type environment we intend to enhance the competitiveness of New Zealand athletes on the world stage and help increase the physical activity levels of New Zealanders.”

Many of the country’s top athletes have already taken advantage of the expertise available through the NZISRR. Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell used video training goggles developed at the NZISRR to help them hone their technique before their gold medal winning performance in Athens last year.

National rowing coach Dick Tonks took the revolutionary system, which allows rowers to see video footage of their technique in real-time, to Athens and the NZISRR has sold the system to the US Olympic Committee and other overseas sports institutes.

Institute Director Associate Professor Patria Hume says the development of the goggles, which was in collaboration with Rowing New Zealand and Sport and Exercise Science New Zealand, is a good example of the practice informed research being undertaken at the NZISRR.

“By marrying the skills of the country’s top sports science researchers with top athletes in an environment where practice informs research, we believe most of the country’s top athletes will be able to benefit from working with the NZISRR at one time or another.”

A multi-disciplinary institute, the NZISRR acts as a training ground for sport and recreation practitioners and conducts research into the physical well-being of New Zealanders.

Researchers, practitioners and teachers from disciplines as varied as exercise science, physical conditioning, human movement, exercise physiology, physical activity, nutrition and health, spa and massage therapy, dance and drama, coaching, sport and recreation management and professional practice will all be part of the NZISRR. The NZISRR is currently is home to 31 academic staff, 18 management and support staff (academic and stadium), and 36 postgraduate students (19 PhD and 17 Masters).

One of the NZISRR’s PhD students is Darrell Bonetti, world champion kayaker Ben Fouhy’s new coach. Darrell and Ben will give a demonstration of a kayak ergometer physiology testing session in the Exercise Physiology laboratory, in the Sport and Fitness Stadium between 3:30-4:00pm. Dr Andrew Kilding will provide a commentary during the ergometer test display.

Other demonstrations include the Goggles Training System in the Golf Swing Clinic, the muscle vibration machine and bench press machine in the Strength Lab, the assessment of resting metabolism in the J E Lindsay Carter Anthropometry Lab, and the Never Too Old exercise programme in the Weights Centre.

ENDS

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