Today will be bit of a sad day for me, but exciting too, today ends a 3-year chapter at Sport Canterbury, but the start of a whole new adventure as well. I’m leaving to take on a new role in Wellington with Sport New Zealand.
When I arrived in Christchurch, having just completed my degree in PE degree at Otago University, I must admit I didn’t know too much about what a Regional Sports Trust did or was, but over the last few years I’ve not only gotten to know it, I’ve been able to be at the forefront of shaping the way they work.
My assigned area of work within the Community Sport Team was Aranui, New Brighton and Parklands, part of Christchurch that has its fair share of challenges, not to mention the on going affects of the earthquake, but its also one with so much promise and one supported by such an amazing bunch of passionate people.
Working in that community has helped strengthen my view and understanding of the importance of sport in a community. Not just the ball skills or what we refer to as physical literacy, but the collectiveness as well as the mental and physical wellbeing.
It’s been awesome to play my part alongside the hordes of committed people at ACTIS, The Pukeko Centre and Eastern Sport and Recreation Trust… the work they’re doing out in the community has been a real eye-opener.
I’ve enjoyed seeing what local champions who organise, coordinate, advocate for sport and recreation in their communities, are capable of achieving.
What’s happening out there, like other parts of the city is bigger than just sport itself. It creates a safe environment for people to participate and a sense of belonging.
I think that’s especially important in the east after the earthquakes, given all the change that’s happening in our communities.
Having completed stage one of The Pukeko Centre and having had a full season of bowls and rugby with their new facility is a really cool milestone. Being part of their journey of the three organisations working together has been extremely rewarding.
With Aranui Community Trust, I’ve seen the integration of the local schools into one big superschool – witnessing the work they’ve invested into engaging with the students and what they offer both inside and out of school time. The belief they instil in the kids as well is amazing.
Recently, through a conversation with the Waimari School PTA we were able to support them in delivering a “Balance is Better: How to Raise a Champion” message in a way that we have never been able to before. The PTA set about holding a night where a number of international athletes and support staff shared insights in to how they became successful sports people to the parents of kids at the school. This type of content completely aligns with the evidence-based studies that are currently being delivered and will hopefully help support future sports people better than we ever have.
I though this was a really innovative way to connect the message to the intended audience in an engaging way.
Having arrived not knowing too much about Sport Canterbury I leave excited about its future and its role in the community. The Community Sports team is an amazing and passionate crew who care deeply about their community.
The opportunities I’ve had here have been exceptional, they’ve invested in me and developed me into the person I am today.
I leave Christchurch excited about its future too. I think with all the new amazing developments that are going on post-earthquake, there are a lot of opportunities for the community to engage. Now more than ever, we’re starting to see the benefits of the rebuild and seeing people thrive and engage at those facilities and in that environment.
Peace Christchurch and thanks for everything you’ve done for me.
Image: Zara Taylor right, with the team from ACTIS