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Providing a place for sport

Sport New Zealand was eager to work with Gisborne to provide the facilities needed, including areas where there was deprivation, chief executive Peter Miskimmin told Gisborne District Council.

He congratulated the council for developing a recreational plan and committing to it.

One of the things Sport NZ wanted to get right was green spaces and facilities, and he complimented the council on theirs. It was critical that Sport NZ, through its regional sports trusts, worked to ensure this did happen.

“We acknowledge your region, the remoteness, the lack of infrastructure and that you have a young community and some areas of deprivation.

“We aim to help through Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti to work with you and ensure that we can provide well-being for your ratepayers.

Sport was an important part of New Zealand communities and Sport NZ wanted to support communities that were missing out.

Deprivation affected Maori, Pasifika and some Asian communities.

Sport NZ were also aware that teenage women had less involvement in sport.

Shannon Dowsing said there was an irony in that sporting bodies received a lot of funding from groups like the NZ Community Trust.

How could sport affect that area of problem gambling?

Mr Miskimmin said they put about $45 million into community sport.

“We are a very, very small player in a $2 billion business.

“Our job is not to solve some of the problems you are talking about — ours is to ensure that we partner with the likes of the Eastland Community Trust and the gaming trusts to ensure that they invest that money into the community where it is making the greatest impact possible.

“We work with quite a number of those gaming societies, to align strategies and investment to ensure the maximum benefit.

They were working with the Ministry of Education to see how its property portfolio could be used to provide facilities for communities in places like the East Coast.

Meredith Akuhata Brown congratulated Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti on the work that had been done, particularly in Kaiti which was a significant area of deprivation.

Kaiti did not have key infrastructure, although it had put in a softball diamond.

Mr Miskimmin said the best people to decide what should happen in their communities were those who lived in them. Softball here was an example now being used nationally.

“We are using what you do here in other parts of the country, which is a compliment to this region.

Mayor Meng Foon said councils in New Zealand spent hundreds of millions on providing and maintaining sporting infrastructure.

Mr Miskimmin said Gisborne was a very special place. Waka ama was one of the fastest-growing sports in New Zealand.

Waka ama was one of the fastest-growing sports in New Zealand. File picture