19 February 2013
On January 11th 2013 I was lucky enough to travel across to the other side of the world, New Zealand. The flight out there was a very long one, 30hours including a 6hour stop off in China! Fortunately for me I avoided jet lag and was able to start the trip straight away. During my time out there I was able to celebrate my 21st birthday, experience the Maori culture, participate in adrenaline fueled activities and see England lift the cup in the Hertz 7s tournament.
Upon arriving we went straight into the travelling, I was able to share this experience with Libby Barnett and 3other girls from University. We began by driving up to the most northern point of the North Island, Cape Rienga. From there we worked our way down the East coast, stopping off in various places. One place we stopped off at was the bay of islands, where we all did a 16500ft skydive. This involved 70seconds of freefall! The whole experience felt surreal, I was nervous at first but that all changed in the air – incredible feeling! I would definitely do one again! Whilst in the North Island we also went white water rafting, watched rugby at the Wellington 7s Hertz tournament, went on a Maori experience, visited sulphur pools/hot springs in Rotorua, kayaked in Lake Taupo and a variety of other different things! After a few weeks in the North we caught the ferry over to Picton and traveled around the South island, all the way down the west coast ending the trip in Queenstown. In the South I was able to see glaciers, mountains, volcano’s, lakes and even had the chance to jump the highest bungee in Australasia!
Whilst in New Zealand I was also able to find out how Libbys placement was going. I went along with her to watch her coach and found out what she does. Despite my poor camera skills and low battery I was able to get a little footage! The video isn’t particularly clear so I have briefly written the mini interview out below!
Interview (Video to be uploaded)
I have been lucky enough to travel across to the other side of the world to visit Libby Barnett. For those of you that don’t know, Libby did a lot of work with the foundation last year. She is currently on her placement with a trust in the South of Auckland!
Libbys really loving the New Zealand life, the kiwis are very chilled which made it easy for her to settle in. The weather is a bonus, always lots of sunshine!
Libbys placement involves working in the Primary school sports division within South Auckland, they have responsibility for a cluster of 34Primary schools from 4 different regions within the South Auckland area. They go into the schools before, during and after to help deliver PE lessons, coach different sports and do whatever the schools require to improve school sport. There main aim is to help assist Primary schools, especially teachers and offer them guidance in delivering appropriate sessions for the pupils and providing different opportunities to participate in sport.
When comparing community sport in the UK to community sport in New Zealand Libby has found the kiwi culture to be very laid back. Everyone has different views on being involved in sport and being active, she has noticed that the Maori people aren’t as involved with sport as they are more focused on family and tradition.
Regarding opportunities for girls in sport in New Zealand there are many. She mentions that if you ask any young boy what they want to be when they are when they are older 9/10 they will say they want to be an All Black and they girls will say an Fern. New Zealand is mainly dominated by Rugby and Netball, at the moment girls football isn’t very big but they are trying to improve it. If a young girl wanted to be a professional footballer they would begin by playing for a local club, they can then move onto a development center which is accessible in Auckland. Coaches nominate players to go to trials for the federation talent center, where they can develop skills and progress onto the national talent center. This pathway is relatively new and still developing. At the moment there isn’t a substantial flow. New Zealand, in terms of development is behind England as structure, team management and the pathways are still becoming more established, in terms of professional football the structure is there however it isn’t as big as it is in England.
Libbys has learnt a lot about the culture and how NZ works. She went into the job preparing herself to not have much involvement in sport. If she could pick one thing she has learnt from working in NZ and put it into coaching in the UK she would revolve the sessions more around what the kids want to play, if they turn up wanting to play cricket, then she would adapt the session and make it more cricket oriented. As she thinks it’s better for the kids to be more active and play a different sport, rather than playing a sport they put minimal effort into.
University football in NZ
Asides rugby and netball, sport isn’t huge in University. The sporting culture at this level in Education is poor. Sport at university doesn’t really exist, if you don’t play for a club outside of Uni you won’t really get the chance to play. You can represent in rugby, netball and swimming if you’re really good, but apart from that they don’t cater for any recreational sport.