The Economic and Social Value of Sport and Recreation to New Zealand (JOURNAL ARTICLE) Research Completed


The Economic and Social Value of Sport and Recreation to New Zealand (JOURNAL ARTICLE)

Lead Author

Paul Dalziel


Sport New Zealand, Lincoln University

Publication Year



Australasian Parks and Leisure; Volume 14, No. 4 Summer 2011


Overview of the value of sport and recreation research programme
commissioned by SPARC to update and expand on earlier work a decade ago by BERL on the value of sport to New Zealand. The new value of sport and recreation work includes to key strands: a comprehensive economic and social analysis (by Professor Paul Dalziel, Lincoln University) and a detailed case study of a community sports club (Research New Zealand).

There are a vast range of sport and recreation events that attract New Zealanders every week as participants, administrators, supporters and spectators. Over 15,000 sports and recreation clubs exist at a local level in New Zealand, supported by approximately 776,000 volunteers. It is clear that sport and recreation are highly valued in New Zealand, indicated by the time and financial resources that individuals and communities devote to activities related to sport and recreation. The size of New Zealand’s investment in providing sport and recreation opportunities, both organised and non-organised, is significant.

Thirty per cent of New Zealand’s land area, for example, is managed by the Department of Conservation ‘for conservation, scientific and recreational purposes’. Local governments invest billions of dollars in providing indoor and outdoor sporting facilities that aim to cater for everyone, from youngsters first learning to chase after a ball to professional athletes competing in front of a television audience of millions. Community clubs and private businesses complement these public facilities by providing their own goods and services to New Zealanders engaged in sport and recreation. There are a number of public programmes that aim to support participation in sport and recreation. In August 2009, for example, the Government launched its Kiwisport initiative to increase its support for children playing sport in primary and secondary schools.

This programme is implemented through a partnership between the Ministry of Education and SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand). SPARC is a Crown agency set up to “promote, encourage and support physical recreation and sport in New Zealand”. It has 14 statutory functions which it performs by working in partnership with a large number of national, regional and local sport and recreation organisations. Given this high level of public and private investment, it is important that stakeholders have some shared understanding of the benefits, and the value of those benefits, that are produced by people’s participation in sport and recreation.

Consequently, the purpose of this report is to work towards achieving a shared understanding by:

  • presenting a comprehensive framework for measuring the net benefits produced from sport and recreation in New Zealand;
  • and offering estimates of the value of these benefits where relevant data are available.


Value, Economic, Social, Case study

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January 17, 2012

Last Modified

March 14, 2016