Quarter of young people spend no time doing organised sport and rates for teenage girls particularly low.
The importance of well established and team sports to young people is a key finding in an Auckland survey of 8000 school-age boys and girls which found half of them spend three hours or more a week in organised sport.
However, a quarter of the people in the survey, all aged 15 to 18, spend no time doing organised sport in a normal week and participation is particularly low among teenage girls.
The findings challenge the Auckland Plan aims to put children and young people as top priority and provide equal opportunities to take part in sport and active recreation.
Auckland Council today released the findings in a report, Sport and Recreation in the Lives of Young Aucklanders.
The survey took in 195 schools and supplements information from Sport New Zealand's national 2011 survey and report.
Council manager recreation, planning and programming Lisa Tocker said it was the first regional glimpse of a young person's view of sport and activity.
The snapshot would guide the sport and recreation strategic action plan and the children and young person's strategic action plan which are in draft form.
The council also held a youth summit attended by 140 students to hear views on the information and give their ideas.
Their recommendations included a recreation mall, which had space for a variety of activities such as basketball and ice skating.
Sport Waitakere chief executive Lynette Adams said the survey showed organised and informal settings were equally important but children were still playing a lot of the well-established sports regularly.
Schools also played an important role and it was crucial that teachers were skilled in providing a quality experience to encourage their students to keep playing.
She said fewer girls took part in sport with nationally one out of three girls aged 15 to 18 doing less than three hours a week.
"We are concerned as there is a risk that girls will not participate as adults as we know that being regularly active is a major contributor to good health as well as an important social connector."
Council sport and recreation adviser Joanne Macmillan reported that more than six out of 10 boys, or 64.9 per cent, and more than five out of 10 girls (55.6 per cent) aged 7 to 8 spend three or more hours a week in organised sport.
Boys were more likely than girls to do this.
Participation by girls dropped off as they aged.
Youngsters keeping active
* Survey of 8000 school-age boys and girls found half of them spend three hours or more a week in organised sport.
* Soccer, netball and rugby are most regularly played.
* Team sports basketball, hockey and touch also favourites.
* Clubs and schools play important role.