Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson is championing participation and inclusion as part of the coalition government's plans to change the sporting landscape.
Robertson spoke to NZME about his desire to get a better deal for those - such as women and people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds - who can be marginalised.
As a gay man who played rugby at community level, Robertson was encouraged by the public's reaction to Instagram comments from Wallabies fullback Israel Folau that homosexuals will go to hell "unless they repent of their sins and turn to God".
All Blacks Brad Weber and TJ Perenara condemned the comments in April.
"I give credit to Brad and TJ," Robertson said.
"From those negative comments I think, at least in New Zealand, a more inclusive approach has emerged."
Robertson also acknowledged sports clubs can galvanise communities because of the relationships they forge when people commit to exercise.
"We all know there have been drop off rates. Clubs struggle to get people to join but, if we want elite sportspeople, we've got to start at community level.
"For some there are too many barriers in place. We want to build better partnerships, which means making better connections with schools about their facilities, and ensuring they're available more often for people to use.
"My focus is more on the community level. The No.1 priority I've given to Sport New Zealand is getting women and girls in sport."
Robertson said it was about setting out values and aspirations, like New Zealand Football achieving pay parity.
He considered rugby another success story through the Black Ferns' new contracts.
Robertson said the fact past players would be capped this Saturday ahead of the All Blacks-France test at Eden Park was "a recognition of women's rugby that's probably a decade overdue".
"Rather than saying we can't do it because of [a lack of] advertising revenue, let's work on what we can do. [New Zealand Rugby chief executive] Steve Tew and I have had meetings and we're making progress.
"The next step would be some form of professional or Super Rugby competition for women. We probably have to start small and build a competition that would attract interest and the revenue the rugby union want."
Robertson was conscious of extending that inclusive approach into the community.
"For instance, Aktive [the Auckland Sport and Recreation charitable trust] is doing good work growing participation by the Asian and Pacific Island communities.
"That way we get good outcomes for lifestyle reasons, and we might discover the next Dame Valerie Adams, too. That's the only way you'll create opportunities for elite sportspeople."
The culture of First XV rugby with its television coverage, and the recent involvement of Drug Free Sport New Zealand, had raised a red flag.
"I have concerns at a personal level with pressure coming on those athletes. They love the fact they're on TV, but it does up the ante.
"We've got to get a balance in that and learn lessons from other jurisdictions, like the US. There is also a huge role for players associations because most young sportspeople need other jobs and careers as they go on in life.
"Don't do something in your teenage years to be the fittest, fastest and strongest that will destroy your future down the line."