After nine years writing this column for the Whangārei Report, it is fantastic to be given the opportunity to now write it for Northern Advocate readers. For those who have not been regular readers, I try to give a mix of content that focused on some of the work that Sport Northland undertakes, wider recreation and sport sector issues/topics, and some personal opinion. Here's hoping this first one brings you back for more reads!

Branding is often said to be everything in terms of how people see an organisation.

So, the question I ask you as you read this is, do you think Sport Northland is about more than just sport?

The short answer is yes, we are about more than just what most people think of when they hear the word "sport".


I am sure most people think of sport as a traditional, structured, organised and competitive sporting activity, which is held at a time dictated by the provider running it. While running "sport" is the domain of the 45 Northland regional sports organisations (as well as their clubs), Sport Northland certainly does support these organisations and promotes them as much as possible.

But sport is certainly not for everyone. The world around us has changed from what it was back in "the good ol' days", and many Northlanders now like to get active in ways and at times that suit them, instead of what suits the providers. Sometimes, that is totally unstructured, not organised and certainly not competitive.

Consequently, Sport Northland is about more than just "sport", and a recent change to our vision and core purpose reflects that. Our vision for the region now reads: "All Northlanders leading better lives through involvement in play, active recreation and sport."

We have added "play and active recreation" to "sport", as we believe this better reflects what we do and what we support and promote. "Play" because we have a big focus on young people (and adults can play too!), and "active recreation" because, as I have already mentioned, many Northlanders get physically active in ways other than through organised sport.

Similarly, our core purpose (or why we exist as an organisation) now reads: "Enriching lives through play, active recreation and sport."

The Sport Northland board did not want to change our name, primarily given the big brand presence which has been built up over 28 years of operation.

However, they believed that changing our key strategic phrases would lead to a better understanding from the public and stakeholders on what we do and what we want to achieve for the benefit of Northlanders.

In upcoming columns, I will take you through the three strategic objectives we have in place to achieve our vision and what each entails in terms of our work.


In the meantime, enjoy your own play, active recreation or sport!