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Sport NZ Invests $7m In New Plan For Māori Wellbeing

Sport NZ Ihi Aotearoa has announced $7m of new investment over the next four years to improve wellbeing outcomes for Māori. This new plan will see the government agency invest in new organisations who contribute to Māori physical activity outcomes. It is part of the $265m sport recovery package and recognition of the adverse effect COVID-19 has had on Māori wellbeing and levels of physical activity.

The new plan is a unique Te Ao Māori approach that focuses on culturally distinctive pathways to enable Māori to succeed as Māori through play, active recreation and sport. It will see Sport NZ invest in a number of new organisations that contribute to wellbeing outcomes that are for, by and with Māori.

“This is an important and significant milestone. This is the first time Sport NZ will simultaneously advance a number of mechanisms to engage whānau, hapū, iwi, Māori and build meaningful relationships in these communities,” says Sport NZ Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin.

“Māori are over-represented in obesity, cardiovascular, and diabetes statistics and have a lower life expectancy compared with non-Māori. Being physically active assists in addressing all of these conditions, we know however that every week, 31-percent of Māori do not participate in sport or recreational activities.”

“We are seeking to enable and empower Māori communities to improve physical activity levels through Te Ao Māori and Mātauranga Māori approaches, and we believe this will make a significant difference."

The plan will focus on four specific initiatives:

  • Māori National Sport Organisations - enabling the network to continue their valued contribution to our sector. The intention of the fund is to support the re-engagement of their respective memberships, remove some of the barriers to participation, enable their unique way of being, survive the current social and economic conditions and acknowledge their contribution to the sport and recreation sector for over 100 years.
  • He Oranga Poutama Programme – supporting Māori wellbeing by improving participation and increasing leadership through physical activity. Increased funding will enable a nationwide approach and focus on Māori communities that need it the most.
  • MaraeFit Aotearoa – this is a new Marae-centric digital tool designed to increase Māori participation and create more opportunities for whānau to connect with their marae and community through physical activity.
  • Te Ihi Fund - an activation fund to increase Māori participation by supporting existing culturally distinctive organisations and channels.

Investment decisions for Māori NSOs and Te Ihi Fund will be announced in late 2020. MaraeFit Aotearoa and He Oranga Poutama investment will be announced in early 2021.

“Sport NZ is on a journey to honour our commitment to Te Tiriti and are working hard to live up to our commitment to a bi-cultural future. Today’s announcement is just one example," says Peter Miskimmin.

“We are excited to be taking the first step on this journey through these kaupapa Maori initiatives that enable Maori to participate as Māori."

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