It's certainly been an intense time for everyone in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Apart from individual circumstances, most people are part of an organisation of some sort and there will be no organisations that are untouched by what is occurring.

Things are moving so fast that by the time this goes to print, more information and direction from the Government will have been provided and new challenges will have surfaced.

At Sport Northland, all events have been cancelled for the next four weeks, including the first ever cancellation of the annual Conbrio Northland Sports Awards. Instead of the usual function, we will use technology to stage a 'virtual' awards on the original date - Friday, April 3.

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg says she has coronavirus, taking to social media to share with fans that she was feeling unwell after travelling across central Europe, revealing that her father shares her symptoms. Video / The Telegraph / NBC News

Each award will be announced on the Sport Northland Facebook page through scheduled posts five minutes apart, starting at 6pm. We will then look at other ways of acknowledging the winners, who are all so deserving after their performances in 2019.

The active recreation and sport sector itself now faces a very uncertain future – all organised sport in our communities has been cancelled or postponed. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

National and regional organisations who the guardians of each individual sport (e.g. Hockey Northland, Golf Northland etc) are assessing revenue streams and cost structures so that decisions can be made on what services they can provide to Northlanders once we all get through the other end of this pandemic.

And life for all of us may change forever – 'social distancing', or more aptly 'physical distancing', may become the norm going forward and large gatherings may be a thing of the past.

But I don't think it's all doom and gloom – we will recover from it and even with job losses, the vast majority of us still have our health and our whānau which, for me, are the two most important things.

With physical distancing taking hold, it's the ongoing connection with friends and the community which we will need to work hard at, because for me, after your health and your whānau, connection with other humans is at the heart of our happiness.

Maybe that's where play, active recreation and sport has a big role in our recovery. The need to be active has never been so important.


We can do that through spontaneous play, through active recreation by yourself or with others (after the next four weeks of course), and once Covid-19 is under control, through that social connection of organised sport.

Until that time, play and active recreation do become important. Isolation does not mean being holed up at all times in your home. It's a fantastic time to get outside and utilise the amazing natural environment that Northland has to offer.

We have some incredible trails and tracks right across the region and walking or running is a great way to get your daily exercise.

There are also big benefits for your mental health, as it is likely all our stress levels have increased to some degree with what is going on around us. Just keep your two-metre separation from people outside your household.

But if venturing out is not your thing, there are also lots of ways of staying active inside.

Use technology through virtual fitness classes, and there are many home workouts you can access online that do not need specialist equipment.

Most of all, we need to stay optimistic and be kind to each other, as we are all in this together. We will get through it.