Kia Kaha, Kia Ora | Be Active, Be Well



Play is vitally important for New Zealand's children and young people; however more and more is it being taken for granted that play will always be a part of New Zealand childhoods.

Levels of play are in decline due to shifting cultural values, increasingly sedentary behaviours, lack of parent knowledge, and denser urbanisation resulting in fears about children’s safety.  

Through play we determined where in the world we were, and who and what else we shared it with – it was where we practised our future life. With this came an understanding of the value of the relationship we have with our physical environment, and this has directly and indirectly shaped the physical literacy of our children to be active for life. We were socially connected at a young age, playing across whole neighbourhoods. Limited adult involvement meant we learned to make our own decisions, including measuring risk – we learned through trial and error.

Play allows children to experience fun, joy and laughter in a way that is important to them. It’s also where they develop and practice life skills. 

The positive benefits of play include: 

  • Being physically active in a fun way that develops fundamental movement skills 
  • Encouraging self-directed creativity and innovation 
  • Improving social and emotional connection 
  • Improving a young person’s understanding of their relationship with the physical environment 
  • Improving resilience, independence and leadership by determining their own outcomes 
  • Aiding better decision-making based around elements of challenge and risk. 

What will play be like in New Zealand in 2032?

Will it still be valued? What do we need to do to ensure future young New Zealanders have play experiences and opportunities that support their growth and development? At Sport Hawke's Bay, we are committed to promoting quality experiences so that New Zealanders value play now and into the future. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Check out the five phases of regional PLAY here

Play Aotearoa Website here 

For any questions regarding PLAY please contact:

Pia Bradshaw I Play Lead