Good Sports builds momentum across the country

6 May 2022, 8:45AM

A further 15 national and regional sport organisations have signed up to Good Sports®, an initiative developed by Aktive, which is being expanded nationally with Sport NZ to create positive sporting experiences for children by educating and supporting parents and other adult influencers in youth sport.

Nine National Sports Organisations (Badminton NZ, Basketball NZ, Gymnastics NZ, Hockey NZ, Netball NZ, NZ Cricket, NZ Football, Snow Sports NZ, Surf Lifesaving NZ) and six Regional Sports Trusts (Active Southland, Sport Bay of Plenty, Sport Manawatu, Sport Northland, Sport Waikato and Sport Whanganui) have joined the initial cohort of eight organisations on board with Good Sports.

Aktive and Sport NZ will work closely with these organisations to implement Good Sports and develop strategies to better engage and support parents. Good Sports is well aligned with Sport NZ’s Balance is Better philosophy and is being used as part of Sport NZ’s national parent approach.

Aktive Chief Executive Jennah Wootten says Balance is Better and Good Sports are complementary and the growing momentum will benefit tamariki, rangatahi and whānau around the country.

"With a number of challenges in children’s sport stemming from adult involvement, Good Sports focuses on raising adults’ awareness about their behaviours and how these impact youth sport. It examines what parents can do differently to ensure children and young people are enjoying sporting experiences.

"Together with Sport NZ, we are proud to work with sport organisations to implement Good Sports in their communities. It is fantastic to see the enthusiastic response and the important difference this is making for our tamariki and rangatahi in developing a lifelong love of sport."

Sport NZ Chief Executive Raelene Castle says it’s encouraging to see the ongoing commitment from national and regional bodies to adopt the Good Sports initiative as part of the wider Balance is Better philosophy.

"Good Sports plays an important role in supporting national and regional bodies to create environments where parents and whānau can learn and understand the benefits of ensuring their tamariki and rangatahi have positive sporting experiences. It’s great to see more organisations signing up to the Good Sports initiative."

Andy Boyens, Technical Director at New Zealand Football, is excited to join Good Sports and provide even better experiences on and off the pitch.

"NZF are excited to join the Good Sports journey because we know the significant value that our football parents and volunteers give to the development journey of our young people playing the beautiful game across Aotearoa. We want to make sure that those people are well informed and have the knowledge, skill and confidence necessary to support young footballers to enjoy a life long love and enjoyment in our game."

Feedback from the inaugural cohort of organisations has been positive and has led to better experiences in a number of areas.

Dale Johnson, Head of Participation & Events, Swimming New Zealand says: "Being involved in the Good Sports project has been a crucial part of our desire and strategic direction to provide positive sporting experiences to our swimming community. Education of administrators and governance throughout the swimming community has been the first priority, with the next step to be education for the wider community - coaches, parents and swimmers."

He adds: "As an organisation, we are stoked to be part of the nationwide Good Sports movement focusing on supporting parents to provide positive sporting experiences."

The incoming group of organisations will engage in the first of two residentials this year in Hamilton from 30 May to 1 June where they will start in a 12-month accelerated learning environment designed around creating more targeted engagements with parents.

"Good Sports is the perfect initiative to help Sport Waikato reach key influencers (like parents) in youth sport who will help to bring about a change of attitudes and behaviours," says Matthew Cooper, CEO, Sport Waikato.

"To provide enjoyable, inclusive experiences and promote long term participation, the needs of the participant - the quality of their experience should be at the heart of all our decision making when it comes to youth sport. We want to support and empower our parents, coaches, teachers and sport administrators to create those positive environments."

Sport NZ’s national parent approach focuses on supporting national and regional organisations to engage more effectively, support and deliver initiatives to parents and whānau through the provision of tools, resources and research. 

Additionally, Sport NZ utilises digital platforms such as the Balance is Better website and Sport NZ social media channels to provide information to help parents grow their understanding of the important role they play in youth sport. For more information on Good Sports, visit