Message from the CEO

Tene koutou e nga ma ta waka

It has been a busy and exciting year for NZRA and I wanted to take this opportunity to not only look back at what we have achieved, but to look forward at where we are heading.

Our purpose is to champion high-quality recreation for the benefit of New Zealand. Our vision is that in 2020 New Zealand has a strong recreation industry that meets the needs of current and future participants, so that through recreation, New Zealanders are active, healthy, and connected.

Next year we look forward to building on our strong event programme and continuing to work towards the goals we set out in our strategic plan. By 2020, NZRA will have:

  • Established strong and constructive relationships with a wide range of strategic partners at the national level and made key connections internationally, so that the profile of recreation (its value and importance) is well understood by key stakeholders, and advice on issues regarding recreation is actively sought and proactively given.
  • Ensured the industry has robust information that reflects the current and future needs of the changing ‘participant’, with high quality insights and data at its fingertips to effectively highlight the value and importance of the industry and influence decisions.
  • Facilitated and strengthened connections between people working within the recreation industry, including between different sectors, at local, regional, and national levels, that supports on-going sharing, learning, and collaboration.
  • Contributed to the ongoing development and delivery of needs-based professional development opportunities that are formally recognised.
  • Overseen and guided the development and implementation of a flexible quality assurance framework for the recreation industry.
  • Significantly grown the membership, so NZRA is a truly representative body for the recreation industry.
  • Changed our business and operating model to be more efficient and effective in our delivery, diversified our funding streams, and increased our resilience to unforeseen changes.

We’re pleased to confirm that our partnership with Sport NZ was renewed in July for the next 3 years through to 30 June 2020. Sport NZ will be investing across all NZRA’s strategic outcomes which helps us to strengthen our services to members.

A skilled, connected, and future focussed recreation industry

  • One of the highlights was the quality of NZRA events and webinars. The 2017 NZRA Recreation Conference, the premier event on NZRA’s professional development calendar, was incredibly popular and Green Pavlova 2017 was one of our best attended yet.
  • It’s important that we remember the people throughout the recreation and sport workforce whose passion and dedication is so critical to providing high quality recreation in New Zealand, and we have done that through the Aquatics Awards, Outdoors Awards and NZRA Awards.
  • We are currently developing two knowledge hubs. One will be a one-stop-shop for insights into engaging people and communities that are not participating highly in recreation, and the other will provide a deep understanding of what the ‘good’ in good practice looks like for the delivery of recreation places and spaces. The hubs will build over the next 3 years and we’ll make sure the information sharing is varied and accessible so all our members can benefit.

Recreation is well managed and delivered across NZ

  • The Quality Assurance programme is expanding in 2017-18 to provide more tools in the toolkit to manage and deliver quality recreation experiences. Existing services such as PoolSafe, Yardstick and the National Facilities Benchmarking Tool, will be complemented with Quality Pools (for accommodation and education sector pools), Green Flag and Parks Categories & Specifications for parks and open space, and PlaySafe for play spaces. The toolkit for facilities and parks will be accessible through an overarching Quality Framework which will give all of us a measure for how we are tracking on the journey to meeting standards, good practice, and participant needs.
  • For outdoor recreation we will be ramping up our involvement in the SupportAdventure initiative in and begin developing good practice guidelines for outdoor activities not covered by the Adventure Activity Regulations.

Recreation is well considered in policy and decision making

  • At the Outdoors Forum in 2016, our Advocacy Manager challenged delegates to publish a press release on behalf of their organisation at some point over the next 12 months. It is all about incrementally elevating the profile of and wider appreciation of the Outdoor Recreation Sector and we further supported this by broadcasting a webinar in 2017 that helped them work more successfully with the media.
  • Parks Week 2017 enabled us to strengthen partnerships by teaming up with Parks and Leisure Australia and GEO AR Games to create 200 Magical Parks across New Zealand and Australia, providing families of all backgrounds the opportunity to enjoy their local parks in a fun and unique way.

This last year has been a period of growth for the New Zealand Recreation Association. We have grown our small team and welcomed new people and new ideas to the group. I am incredibly proud of our passionate and dedicated staff who continue to work hard and champion high-quality recreation in New Zealand.

Additionally, NZRA’s regional committees continue to play an active part in delivering professional development opportunities for recreation professionals, and more top quality regional events can be expected as time goes on.

We ended last year on a high note as Australasian Leisure Management introduced their Inaugural Leisure Industry Communication and Marketing Awards and we were the first ever recipient of the Industry Association/Peak Body Award.

As always, NZRA depends on the relationships with our partners, and on the enthusiasm and dedication of all those who are involved in recreation. It is the energy that our members, staff and partners bring to the table day after day, and their unwavering belief in the value of our work, that continues to inspire us to deliver.

Ngā mihi nui,

Andrew Leslie, CEO NZRA

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