Research with older New Zealanders to inform the Sport New Zealand Community Sport

Research with older New Zealanders to inform the S…
04 May 2016

Sport New Zealand is developing a Community Sport – Older People Plan (‘the Plan’) to increase participation by older people in community sport. To inform the development of the Plan, Connect undertook exploratory research involving focus groups and in-depth interviews with older New Zealanders in October and November 2015.


The key objective of this research was to provide an in-depth, rich understanding of older New Zealanders’ views and experiences in relation to community sport, in order to:

▪ Ensure that the ‘participant voice’ is at the heart of the Plan, bringing to life older people’s needs and expectations in relation to community sport

▪ Provide an understanding of older people’s community sport choices, including drivers and barriers to participation

▪ Identify optimum ways to communicate with older New Zealanders about community sport, by exploring how older people currently define and classify their experiences

▪ Underpin future initiatives and strategies for maintaining and growing older people’s participation in community sport

▪ Inform future investigation / data collection in relation to older people (e.g. ensuring appropriate parameters, lines of questioning and language for the Active NZ survey questionnaire).


The research approach was developed in consultation with Sport BOP and Sport NZ. A qualitative methodology was used, involving a combination of 4 mini-groups (17 participants) and 16 in-depth interviews.

A range of projective and enabling techniques were employed, to facilitate discussion and help people express deep-seated feelings and beliefs about community sport. For example, participants drew pictures and created collages.

To provide consistent parameters for discussions, research participants were provided with Sport NZ’s 2015 definition of community sport. Participants were told to focus on active and 8

outdoor recreation, sport and competitive sport, and to exclude passive recreation (gardening) and elite sport.

Fieldwork was conducted in October and November 2015.

Fieldwork was conducted by Barbara Young (Director of Connect, a senior qualitative researcher with 20 years’ experience). Sonia Lynds (Sport BOP) observed a Bay of Plenty mini-group and accompanied Barbara to an in-depth interview. Janette Brocklesby (Sport NZ) observed the Wellington mini-groups.

A semi-structured discussion guide was used to guide interviews and mini-groups

Mini-groups lasted 2 hours and included 4-5 participants. One mini-group was undertaken at Sport BOP premises, one at a meeting room at Kiwi 360 (Te Puke), and two in the Newtown Community Centre in Wellington.

Interviews lasted around 1 hour, and were conducted in participants’ homes.

Participants received a koha of $40 in recognition of their time and contribution

Participants were recruited by a professional recruitment company, Consumer Link.

Page last modified: 15 Mar 2018