Wahine Tū, Wahine Toa - that's the call from Sport Bay of Plenty and local physical activity providers as they encourage women to get active.

The call to action is in response to Sport New Zealand research that shows women spend 12 per cent less time participating in physical activities in any given week than men.

To address the gap, Sport Bay of Plenty has teamed up with 18 activity providers across the Bay of Plenty to run the Spring Starter Series for women in September and October.

This series offers low-cost and beginner-level recreation activities - which in Rotorua includes netball, swimming lessons, Indian dancing, a Waikite Gym JTK Boxing four week challenge, aqua zumba, and waka ama.

Recreation team leader Sonia Lynds says the series is all about breaking down barriers to participation, and encouraging women to get active and try something new in a fun, non-competitive environment.

"We know that time, family commitments and knowledge about who to connect with or where to find a suitable activity are significant barriers to female participation.

"We therefore need to find ways to help women overcome those barriers and meet the national activity guidelines that recommend adults do at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate or 1.25 hours of vigorous physical activity spread throughout the week."

Sonia says women want activities that are fun, social, safe and non-judgemental, and they value activities that fit around their other commitments.

Indian dance classes are an option for this year's Spring Starter Series in Rotorua. Photo / Supplied
Indian dance classes are an option for this year's Spring Starter Series in Rotorua. Photo / Supplied

"Women can also have a really positive ripple effect on those around them as they are great at encouraging friends and family to also get involved."

Armed with those insights, Sport Bay of Plenty has been working with local community activity providers to pull together a range of non-competitive and social activities for the Spring Starter Series.


Women of all ages and abilities can join in and feel comfortable with trying something new while meeting new friends and getting active.

Give It A Go Swimming is one of the activities on offer in Rotorua, and the classes will help women learn new swimming and water safety skills.

Instructor Maxine Parker says the lessons will include learning skills that help with being in deep or open water.

"It's about helping to take away any barriers women perceive as not enabling them to enjoy the water... helping people achieve what they want in the water."

The classes are aimed at people who are unable to swim or do not have the confidence to continue their swimming, she says.

Maxine says for some people it has been years since they have been swimming.

She says there has also been growth in the triathlon industry so learning to swim may help open up this option to those who already run or bike.

Registration for Spring Starter Series activities are open until Wednesday, August 28. Go to sportbop.co.nz/springstarter to find out more.