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Nuku Ora Honoured As Finalist For COVID-19 Response Award

Nuku Ora, formerly Sport Wellington, has recently been named as a finalist in the COVID-19 response category at the New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards 2021.

“We know that Lockdown had a huge effect on people’s ability to get active,” said Nuku Ora CEO Phil Gibbons. “We also know that for many, finding ways to get active was an important part of their lockdown routine.”

To help people stay active during lockdown, Nuku Ora adjusted the delivery of their Green Prescription and other health and wellbeing programmes, making use of innovative and creative ways to keep people active and moving; and distributed over $2.6m of Government response and recovery funding to more than 340 community organisations across the region.

“We’re really proud of the work we did to ensure as many people as possible were able to not only stay active during lockdown, but could return to their usual sport, recreation and play activities once we moved down levels,” Gibbons said.

“That was possible because of the work we did as a collective to support the regional network of physical activity providers and facilities.”

Led by Nuku Ora, in March last year 19 organisations came together to form a COVID-19 Regional Response Group to support a connected and co-ordinated response to the pandemic and initial lockdown.

The first of its kind, this group consisted of eight Councils, three District Health Boards, five regional sport and community organisations, Regional Public Health, one funder, Sport NZ and was facilitated by Nuku Ora.

“One of the unpredicted outcomes of lockdown was the strength of connection and partnerships that were developed across the physical activity sector as organisations and communities united in the face of COVID-19,” Gibbons said.

Through this mass collaboration, this group co-ordinated 11 “group projects” that focused on supporting the mental, physical, and social wellbeing of people and communities across our region.

“The impact of COVID-19 on our sector and communities was immense, and the financial, emotional, mental, and physical burden of this continues to be felt,” Gibbons said. “This award is an opportunity for us to celebrate the incredible amount of hard work, dedication, and resilience displayed from volunteers, coaches, clubs, administrators, families, and individuals across our region last year.”

The COVID-19 Response Award is to celebrate the extraordinary and innovative achievements of organisations in the play, active recreation, and sport sector, in response to the significant disruption and hardship caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Nuku ora is one of four finalists in the away, which will be decided by public vote. The other nominees include Basketball New Zealand for their Sal’s NBL Showdown, Sport Waikato for their COVID-19 Community Sport Awards and AgeFIT for their online strength and balance programme.

Voting is open now and closes at 11:59pm on Wednesday 16 June. The winner will be announced at the New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards on Monday 21 June.

To find out more and submit your vote go to –

Nuku Ora is the independent body for physical activity in the greater Wellington region. Established in 1990 with charitable status under the Charities Act, Nuku Ora is a Regional Sports Trust dedicated to improving the wellbeing of communities through physical activity across the Wellington region.

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