Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Sport NZ survey shows significant drop in activity participation among teenagers

Sport NZ survey shows significant drop in activity participation among teenagers
June 28, 2018

Sport New Zealand’s first report from its new Active NZ participation survey shows a significant drop in weekly activity participation among youth between the ages  15 and 17, when the number of sports and activities and time spent participating also decline.

The new survey, the first time Sport NZ, has combined adults and young people in one report, with data collected from 6,000 young people and 27,000 adults, provides a point-in-time snapshot of participation in sport and active recreation explored through the lenses of age, gender, ethnicity and deprivation.

Introducing the report, Sport NZ Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin stated “sport is a key part of our national identity and way of life, and Active NZ tells us that 95% of young people and 73% of adults are taking part in sport and active recreation in any given week.

“That’s important given the benefits of physical activity in terms of health and wellbeing, and bringing our communities together, but Active NZ also shows we have challenges to address based on the changing nature of participation in sport and active recreation, and of New Zealand society.”

The key findings of Active NZ include:

• Participation peaks between 12 and 14 years before dropping off significantly between ages 15 and 17.
• On average, there is no difference in the percentage of males and females who are active, however males spend more time participating and females are more likely to want to participate more.
• Māori and Pacific adults have lower than average weekly participation, however, young Māori spend the most time participating in any given week.
• People living in high deprivation areas have below average levels of participation, and also spend less time participating.

Miskimmin says these and other findings from Active NZ make it a powerful tool for Sport NZ and other bodies working to improve the level and quality of physical activity, adding “this is intelligence we can use to better understand how the way our society is changing is shaping the nature of participation in sport and active recreation. 

Active NZ has been redeveloped since our last report in 2014. It’s now based on ongoing data collection and provides much stronger insights into regions, ethnic communities and the barriers that prevent people from participating.

“This information will enable sport and recreation bodies, councils and many others to make better informed decisions about what is offered and how they target different groups and communities.”

The New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) has welcomed the publication of the Survey and how it shows that recreation is a top priority for New Zealanders.

Highlighting that the top five participation activities - including walking, jogging or playing at a local park - are ‘recreational’, NZRA Chief Executive Andrew Leslie advised “the Active NZ survey has given us a great insight into the activities that New Zealanders are currently participating in, and we’re encouraged that recreation features so highly in each section.

“We are particularly interested in the locations that adults and young people are recreating in; a huge number are using facilities such as pools, playgrounds, parks and fields every week. We also noted that 63% of young people and 62% of adults are only participating in non-competitive activities. This is really encouraging for us as an organisation, as we are constantly encouraging the sector to provide a wide range of quality places and spaces for recreation”.

“Our quality programmes such as Poolsafe and Green Flag exist to ensure that locations such as these are always available and of a high standard, and our recent advocacy work on the long-term plans of councils across the country has ensured that many local authorities have made fantastic provisions for recreation in their 10-year plan”.

“One of the key points is that 42% of adult participants are choosing to do their recreation on roads and footpaths; making it the highest-ranked location. This clearly highlights a need for integrated planning, ensuring that recreation is well considered and provided for in the development and design of land use in urban environments.”

Click here to view the Active NZ survey (2017).

Related Articles

22nd June 2018 - New Zealand high performance sport model ‘not fit for purpose’

19th March 2018 - Study shows New Zealanders appreciate the Value of Sport

27th February 2018 - Sport NZ announces Future Leaders Scholarship

1st March 2017 - Keynote speakers announced for National Sports Convention

31st May 2016 - New Zealand’s major sports commit to diversity and inclusion

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Intelligenz provides Leisure Management Software for managing all your Program Registrations, Facility Bookings, Membership Sales and POS Transactions; including detailed Reporting, automated…

read more

Access / Billing / Finance / Marketing / Technology



Technogym is the leading company in the Wellness and Fitness field all over the world. With 2,200 employees, 14 branches in Europe, U.S., South America, Asia  and Australia, Technogym exports its…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness


@leisure Planners

@leisure is a team of experienced leisure, aquatic and sports facility managers and planners, with market modelling, sports management, recreation planning, business and GIS qualifications. We have…

read more



Anti Wave International

Anti Wave International is the original suppliers of top performance swim, aquatic sports, leisure and pool programming equipment. Founded in 1971, Anti Wave International is proud of its…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Sport


TPEC Pool Enclosures

TPEC Pool Enclosures provide a large range of premium commercial and residential retractable swimming pool, spa and terrace enclosures throughout Australia, servicing residential, local government…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Recreation / Venues


State Wide Pool Services

Known as Hydrilla since September 2020 - see

read more



Aflex Inflatables

Aflex Inflatables are the leaders for obstacle courses, pool toys, waterparks and land-based watersides and fitness runs. They are industry leaders offering the widest range of pool, lake and beach…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Waterparks



Hidroplay welcomes you to the exciting world of children's Playscapes, waterslide's and Water Attractions. Appealing to families, Hidroplay increases patronage in your facility during those…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Recreation


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business