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Can outdoor recreation cater for New Zealand’s record population growth?

Can outdoor recreation cater for New Zealand’s record population growth?
October 20, 2015

Record population growth and changes in the activities people enjoy in the outdoors will be among the hot topics discussed at the New Zealand Recreation Association’s 2015 Outdoors Forum, being held in Wellington this week.

At the present time the number of people migrating to live in New Zealand is at its highest level since 1840.

New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) Chief Executive Andrew Leslie sees that this growth, an aging population, and increasing ethnic diversity mean the outdoors sector needs to adapt to ensure it is continuing to provide high quality and relevant experiences.

There were 114,000 permanent and long term arrivals in New Zealand in the 12 months to March 2015. That represents a net gain of 56,000 people.

Leslie explained "we need to be thinking about the types of services we provide.

“While some outdoor activities like walking, swimming and jogging/running are common across all ethnic groups, some are more specific.”

Citing some of the findings of Sport New Zealand’s Active New Zealand survey for 2013/14, Leslie stated “Asian groups, for example, favour badminton and cricket over, say, tramping, which is more popular with New Zealand European groups.”

Other survey findings of note for the outdoors sector included higher levels of participation in canoeing/kayaking among people living in areas of low socio-economic deprivation, when compared to those living in area of medium- or high-deprivation. Hunting was among the top 10 most popular activities for people in small towns and rural communities, but did not make the top 10 for those in major- or secondary-urban areas.

Leslie stated “it’s important that we understand the demographic changes, and anticipate what people’s changing needs are, so that we can respond with the right type of services.”

A key speaker at the event will be Massey University’s Paul Spoonley, who will talk about trends in population growth.

Other speakers include adventurer Kevin Biggar, champion adventure racer Nathan Fa’avae and Outward Bound director Rob MacLean.

Biggar will discuss how outdoor experiences can equip people to overcome business and personal challenges, Fa’avae will focus on leadership, while MacLean will explore how outdoor providers can influence decision makers and increase participation.

Leslie said NZRA’s efforts to help the outdoors sector adapt to change is consistent with its objective of championing recreation for the benefit of New Zealand.

He added “our view is that investing in recreation means investing in healthier people, connected communities and a strong economy.

“Being active in the outdoors is one important way in which migrants can connect with others and build their new lives here in a positive way.”

The Outdoors Forum is being held at the Abel Tasman Hotel in Wellington from 22nd to 23rd October, with the theme Embracing Change Together.

The event is New Zealand’s premier outdoors sector conference, bringing together outdoor providers, educators, volunteer organisations, advocates and researchers to discuss trends and innovative approaches to overcoming challenges faced by the sector.

It also features the Outdoor Awards, on 22nd October, celebrating individuals and organisations that have been successful in significantly improving outcomes for the outdoors sector.

Images: Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park (top) and Active Auckland (below).

3rd September 2015 - SPORT NZ SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS THE VALUE OF OUTDOOR RECREATION

29th Aprul 2015 - NZRA ESTABLISHES COMMITTEE TO REPRESENT OUTDOOR RECREATION INTERESTS

16th March 2015 - SPORT AND RECREATION STILL A BIG PART OF KIWI LIVES

17th November 2014 - OUTDOOR SECTOR A KEY PART OF NEW ZEALAND’S TOURISM BRANDING

11th November 2014 - OUTDOORS NEW ZEALAND HONOURS INDUSTRY ACHIEVEMENTS AND MEMORIES

30th October 2014 - NZRA TO PLAY GREATER ROLE IN OUTDOOR RECREATION


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