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Sport NZ survey highlights the value of outdoor recreation
The Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of New Zealand (CORANZ) believes that the latest Active New Zealand survey underlines the importance of outdoor sports and the need for Government to show greater respect to the outdoor environment.
CORANZ co-Chairman Andi Cockroft said Sport NZ’s Active NZ Survey 2013/14 clearly indicated outdoor recreation activities like fishing, walking, tramping, canoeing and hunting were on the rise in terms of participation levels.
Highlighting that sports like rugby and cricket, which tended to receive comparatively greater funding from the New Zealand Government, had shown declines in participation, Cockroft stated “Governments should be duty bound to show respect for the outdoor environment and its associated recreation.”
CORANZ also highlights that in recent years the poor state of many rivers, with some 60% of those assessed rated unfit for swimming, showed that development such as corporate dairying seemed to command greater consideration by politicians.
Here Cockroft stated “Governments cannot afford to sweep such situations such as dirty rivers or foreign ownership restricting outdoor access, under the carpet.
“It’s the public’s outdoors recreation field ... (and) outdoor recreation improves the physical health and mental well being of people, a long term saving in health services and other costs.”
Cockcroft said the value of outdoor recreation to young people was obvious with both self esteem and physical benefits resulting, invaluable to combating rising obesity rates.
CORANZ points out that the Active NZ Survey shows the high rate of participation in outdoor recreation and sporting activities with walking ranked top in terms of participation with both men and women (47% and 72% respectively) while fishing (saltwater and freshwater), ranked fifth with men at 29%. Other outdoor recreation sports that featured prominently were tramping, hunting and canoeing.
In addition those outdoor recreation pursuits showed increased levels of participation in contrast to the decreases of ‘glamour’ funded sports like golf, tennis, football, cricket and basketball.
Fishing also ranked as the third most popular activity with those of Maori ancestry, with Cockcroft adding that it was also pleasing to see women featuring in outdoor sports like fishing.
The outdoors featured strongly in all age groups in sports such as walking, cycling, fishing and tramping.
By virtue of the high outdoor recreation participation rates, the Active NZ Survey underlined the public nature of the country’s outdoors.
Cockroft add “it all reflects the wisdom of the European settlers who seeking to escape the class structure of the UK - where the best salmon and trout rivers and deerstalking is tied up in private estates where only the upper class can by wealth access it - made sure New Zealanders can enjoy reasonable free access.
“That egalitarian ethos is embodied in many laws particularly around freshwater fish and waterfowl and game bird shooting, commonly known as fish and game.”
Economically outdoor recreation attracted both domestic (New Zealanders) and international tourists and injected economic activity into regions outside of the four major urban centres.
Cockroft concluded “Government backing and investing in outdoor recreation is a sin for New Zealand on several fronts such as social, health, tourism, environmental and economic.”
Images: The Old Ghost Road cycle trail (top) and the Waikato River (below).
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
30th October 2014 - NZRA TO PLAY GREATER ROLE IN OUTDOOR RECREATION
20th September 2013 - OUTDOOR GROUP URGES MORE HONESTY IN GOVERNMENT
25th May 2010 - SAFETY IN NEW ZEALAND ADVENTURE TOURISM
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