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Planning for NZ's Recreation Future and Identity

Media Release - for immediate release.

25 July 2006

Planning for New Zealand's Recreation Future and Identity

What will New Zealanders do when petrol reaches $5 a litre?

When most of the country has to cycle or walk to nearly everything they do, what is needed to help New Zealanders make that change?

Are we poised to become the most active nation in the world, and be one of the healthiest and fun countries to live in on this planet?

Is our future going to be a miserable hell of captivity spent eating deep fried food while watching television, where the people on TV are in turn eating deep fried food?

Auckland's transport worries are a concern, but what about Auckland's approach to new leisure infrastructure which is already underway?

What about Auckland's plans for greater physical activity to get 37% of the population mobile?

What is the rest of New Zealand doing?

These are some of the questions that recreation planners and policy makers from around New Zealand will be debating on Thursday and Friday when they converge on Tauranga for the New Zealand Recreation Association "Thinking Recreation!" seminar.

This NZRA national seminar has attracted influential decision makers, recreation planners and policy makers from around New Zealand. "Thinking Recreation!" will feature international speakers and workshops to share solutions for how to help more people in New Zealand communities to be more physically active, more often. It will also record some of the best things that communities do to ensure New Zealanders' non-work time is really achieving a "work-life" balance.

The link between recreation and physical activity, and people using the car less is a strong one, says NZRA Chief Executive Brendon Ward.

"People incorporating half an hour to an hour of physical activity per day around their regular travel is becoming more common, but communities must find ways to support the increasing amount of people who are looking to do this" says Ward.

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby feels that this is exactly the kind of planning that Tauranga City Council has been working toward for some time and is very supportive of Thinking Recreation!

"Tauranga City Council's support for the NZRA seminar being held in Tauranga is just one example of how we have played a leadership role in creating an excellent place to live, work, and play and our community will benefit from some of the shared success stories at the seminar that will be attended by Council's key planning staff, and Sport Bay of Plenty" says Mayor Crosby.

Tauranga City Council and the Western Bay of Plenty District Council have both sponsored a tour of local facilities for the seminar participants.

Sponsored by SPARC and Opus International Consultants, Thinking Recreation will hear from key note presenter Roger Boulter who will explain how New Zealand communities are successfully planning and building cycleways across towns and cities, as an alternative to car transport. In many cases this is being funded through multiple mechanisms and not just rates.

Michael Saunders, of Opus International Consultants will present his paper via an audio link to Greece, assisted by his local Opus colleagues, Tauranga Branch manager, Nick Gurr, and Nathan Austin.

Michael's presentation shows what is likely to happen to New Zealand communities as petrol prices increase, and his earlier petrol price predictions have proven to be correct. Michael's modeling depicts a New Zealand that will rely on recreation and transport planners to work together to improve our parks and open space as important connections for cyclists and walkers, as well as many other needs other transport modes will have to take into consideration.

The New Zealand Recreation Association Thinking Recreation! Seminar will be held on Thursday 27-Friday 28 July at Tauranga's Hotel on Devonport, and between 70-100 delegates will attend from all around New Zealand. All participants will be starting each day by jogging and walking around Tauranga's CBD, so if you see them on your way to work, join in and give them a big welcome!

.Ends.

For more information or to arrange an interview with any of the key note presenters contact:

NZRA is the professional organisation for the recreation industry and provides people who work within the recreation sector with leadership, training, resources and support.


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