Sport | Hākinakina

Sport Tasman may have solution to the issue of inactive rangatahi

Active NZ says the rate of rangatahi taking part in active recreation has fallen by 6 per cent since Covid-19 and is trending down.

However, Sport Tasman in the South Island is hoping to turn those numbers around with a targeted approach aimed at using whakaaro Māori to encourage rangatahi away from the comfort of online gaming.

“It’s a community approach where we look to advocate for active, recreation and well-being,” Sport Tasman chief executive Lesley McIntosh says.

“If you think of the model Te Whare Tapawhā, which are the five pillars of well-being to an individual. We base our activity around that, where active recreation isn’t the, be all and end all but adds added value to existing organisations or products that are out there for rangatahi.”

Active NZ statistics show rangatahi are more likely to be drawn to playing video games over playing outside. However, the ethos of Sport Tasman is to take the values and interests of rangatahi and link that with recreational activities for rangatahi across the South Island.

“So what we do is we don’t just offer active recreation in isolation. Some sports might offer their product in isolation. What we do is we aim to link it with the youth values, whether that be around the enviornment or the Māori culture. When you bring in those values with rangatahi you’re starting to break down some of those barriers to enable them to participate.”

Māori activities

Waka ama, paddle boarding and many other activities are offered by Sport Tasman, and it is those Māori forms of activity that are returning rangatahi to the outdoors, no matter if they’re Māori or not.

Kehm Pyakurel, a rangatahi originally from Nepal, says he is grateful to be participating in recreational activity as it sees him enjoying life outside.

“I’m glad to be here getting this opportunity to play sports and recreational activities as well. It gives us a chance to go out and not just stay home, sleeping, going on social media. Phones, playing games, watching TV. This is going outside and living.”

Working alongside the Rātā Foundation Sport Tasman wants to work with rangatahi to engage them on a level they understand and will be drawn to.

Rātā Foundation chief executive Leighton Evans says there is strong alignment between the RARA Project and Rātā Foundation’s focus on removing barriers to participation.

“We want more people to be active, particularly our young people,” Leighton says. “The work Sport Tasman is doing to support equitable opportunities for rangatahi and provide learning opportunities in other regions is important.

“We want to advocate for the importance and the place of active recreation within programmes throughout our community organisations, and we also want to influence community organisations to make a change in the way they deal with rangatahi or consider that active recreation is a very powerful tool and one important piece to the puzzle to engage rangatahi well-being,” McIntosh says.