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A big thanks to half million sports volunteers

15 June 2008 Media Statement

A big thanks to the half million kiwi sports volunteers

Sport and Recreation Minister Clayton Cosgrove today thanked the estimated half a million kiwis who volunteer in sport and recreation, saying without them the sector could not survive.

Mr Cosgrove spoke at a special event for volunteers held at Westpac Arena in Christchurch today as part of the launch of National Volunteer Awareness Week (15-21 June).

Mr Cosgrove said there are 1.1 million New Zealanders who volunteer in some capacity, and around half of these are sport and recreation volunteers.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of sport in New Zealand. The reality is, without the dedication of the school coaches, the mums and dads that drive children to games, the club administrators and the referees and officials, the sports events and activities that occur throughout New Zealand simply wouldn’t happen.”

Recent research commissioned by government agency Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC), found that the main reasons people volunteer are because they want to give something back to their club or sport, they have a huge passion for their sport, or a family member is involved in sport. The research also showed that kiwis are generous with their time. A third of all sports volunteers contribute a minimum of six hours a week to support sport and recreation activities.

“If we are to retain volunteers we need to give them all the support we can. The government has produced various resources, including Club Kit, which is an online resource that saves volunteers time by providing templates, resources, tools and ideas to help volunteers run a club,” said Mr Cosgrove.

Mr Cosgrove said Volunteer Awareness Week is a great opportunity for people to thank the hundreds of thousands of selfless kiwis so vital to sport in this country. “Whether you are an elite athlete or simply play sport at your local club – it’s a great chance to give volunteers a pat on the back and let them know that they are making a real difference.”

SPARC is the government agency charged with promoting, encouraging and supporting sport and physical recreation in New Zealand. Go to to:

- Send your volunteers a thank-you E-card
- Read the full copy of the Volunteers: Heart of Sport research
- Check out Club Kit and the online training module for officials


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