Surfer chicks at the WBOP Primary Schools Surfing Competition at Waihi Beach in May 2023.
Regular and enjoyable physical activity benefits everyone. It contributes significantly to our health and wellbeing and should be a part of daily life for all tamariki and rangatahi.
The Western Bay of Plenty Principals Association (WBOPPA) understands the importance of children moving now for lifelong benefits.
A formal membership group made up of 63 Western Bay principals, the WBOPPA acts to sanction events on behalf of Western Bay of Plenty primary and intermediate schools. This enables quality inter-school sport and recreation experiences to be delivered to Year 0-8 students during school time.
Overseeing and delivering the events on the WBOP School Sports Calendar is Sarah Hull, recently employed by WBOPPA as a full-time Sports Director.
“This role is essential in order to make the primary school sporting calendar possible,” says Sarah. “A huge number of sports rely on volunteers already, so without this role, the responsibility of organising the events would fall on teachers and parents, which wouldn’t be sustainable.”
The 45 events on the 2023 calendar are predominately active recreation-based activities (i.e., non-competitive, participation-style events) with some traditional sport and play opportunities.
Approximately 12,000 participants were reached in 2022, with numbers expected to increase this year.
The full-time Sports Director role and events are funded by Sport BOP, TECT, Western Bay Energy for Education Trust, and the WBOPPA.
TECT trustee Kate Barry-Piceno says the Trust is pleased to grant $40,000 in funding to support the Sports Director role for 2023.
“It’s fantastic to be able to remove the pressure from individual schools, who likely wouldn’t have the time or manpower to deliver these events. So, by securing this role, it secures a full calendar of exciting and enriching experiences that will benefit our tamariki.”
Changes were made to the events in 2022 to enable schools to bring multiple teams to events and include more sporting codes, such as hockey, netball, football, touch rugby and mountain biking. Further activities and options were also added to make events more accessible to students with disabilities.
Sarah says she is “really enjoying” her new role and seeing the many benefits the inter-school opportunities deliver.
“It is awesome that we have the ability to provide tamariki across the Western Bay of Plenty with quality opportunities to compete in a wide range of sports events focused on both participation and development. When children have the chance to participate in inter-school competitions, it has a massive benefit on their overall hauora. Seeing how much they enjoy getting out and about it is why I love this job.
“And thanks to the ongoing support from TECT, we are looking to add new events to the calendar, such as Ki-o-Rahi and Waka Ama, as well as grow our current events, which is awesome!”