Sport was facing a serious crisis, clubs and regional organisation were facing financial ruin, with no guarantees of recovery - they're not completely out of the woods yet - but it has been so good having sport back.

Thankfully, we are a remote island on the bottom of the world, or the top depending on how you hold a globe, and we have managed to get some control over Covid.

For most of the rest of the world there is no clear light at the end of the tunnel, and no prospect of community sport coming back any time soon. In the great words of Fred Dagg - we don't know how lucky we are.

With all the massive financial implications from the Covid disaster, it's easy for many to view sport as a trivial side-line, and to sweep it under the carpet, but the impact of no sport on the Kiwi way of life, could have profound and unpredicted long-term ramifications.


The financial support from the government and Sport NZ was crucial, enough to keep codes afloat, and thankfully restrictions within New Zealand lifted enough to get sport going again, and ensure the survival of codes for the time being at least.

With sponsors having to pull the plug on funding almost overnight, and a loss of membership affiliation fees, the crisis was real. And of course many of the expenses to the sports didn't stop, with rent and ground curation an ongoing issue.

If we hadn't got winter sport running, and kids went a whole year without their code, the potential for permanent dropout was another fear for the sports. Even as it is, some schools and sports have reduced numbers, with a risk some kids may never return.

Sadly for many kids the Covid lockdown period meant they had all the free time to get hooked on their devices and gaming, and now some will opt for lying around at home, rather than getting out among the community, fresh air, and into sport with their mates.

Yes money talks, and the financial impact for us all is front of mind, but sport can't be underestimated for its social and wellbeing impact, so we need to keep pushing it along.

Sport of course can have plenty of financial clout too, and the Super Rugby Aotearoa has been a vital lifeline for the game here in NZ. And if New Zealand can establish itself long-term as clear of Covid, and the rest of the world remains in turmoil, then perhaps more sporting opportunities will come our way, and with them financial opportunities.

In time our clean green image may make us the sought-after destination for professional sporting events, with few other options around the world.

Imagine if it meant more opportunities to host the Indian or England cricket teams, with all the commercial opportunities around broadcasters and sponsors that would bring.


Even some of our mates over the ditch are struggling to restart their beloved sport, with some states easing their way into it, with others still having no confirmed start. Who knows what unforeseen impacts may have arisen, if New Zealand went through a whole year with no winter sport. Hopefully we keep the virus at bay, and we'll never have to find out.

For now though, thanks to all the sports clubs and codes, Sport NZ, and all their regional teams around the country, sport is back.

• Marcus Agnew is the health and sport development manager at Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust and a lecturer in sports science at EIT.