The 2017 AIMs Games has hit the Bay of Plenty - with more than 10,300 schoolchildren aged 11-13 taking part.

Sportsfields and arenas across Tauranga have been taken over, as sports including football and tennis are attempted by young sportspeople.

"The AIMs Games is really important because it gives children the chance to be competitive, but also celebrates sport, and being able to represent their school and family with pride," says tournament director, Vicki Semple. "It also shows them that there is a pathway, if they did want to continue on down the competitive route. But ultimately we just want kids to foster the love of sport, so they carry on loving being part of a team for the rest of their lives. We want them to enjoy physical activity."

Now in its fourteenth year, there are also international representatives from Indonesia, the Cook Islands, Tonga and Australia.

Advertisement

Ms Semple says a particular highlight of the current games, is the inclusion of disabled sportspeople, who are doing things they never thought they would be able to do.

Chairperson Brian Diver says the tournament supports a school curriculum that aims to develop physical education in young New Zealanders.

"Really we are trying to drive one message here. That is, engage in sport, we don't care what sport it is - we are not trying to compartmentalise kids into a specific sport at this age - we just say play sport. That's for two reasons, to have a lifelong love of sport, and to be able to make good friends."

The event has managed to attract olympians, national personalities, and even a politician. ACC Minister Michael Woodhouse travelled to Tauranga to referee a couple of rugby matches.

"To be able to get out and clear the head, have a good run around is lovely. I must confess that the exercise regime has been a bit neglected in the last few weeks. That's really important actually, and that we eat well and sleep well. So being a part of this has actually been a bit therapeutic for me too. "

Mr Woodhouse says having ACC on board is going to help prevent injury in young sportspeople, by teaching them skills now.

The tournament will unfold in the coming days, with the final games scheduled for play this Friday.

Made with funding from