Elderly 'denied sporting chance'

A Tararua councillor has criticised Sport Manawatu for failing to implement its mission statement in the district.

The Sport Manawatu website trumpets its goals of getting people of all ages achieving full potential through participation in sport and physical activity.

But Tararua District councillor Peter Johns, who first raised his concerns at a council meeting last week, said the organisation was not doing this.

He said Sport Manawatu was instead focusing on youth activities in Tararua to the detriment of the older generations.

"More effort should be placed on providing and encouraging sporting opportunities for the older age groups," he told the Manawatu Standard.

"I don't think there has been any consideration to promoting sport to the older generation in the district at all, and there needs to be."

Cr Johns said he liked to keep active through playing golf, tennis and bowls, so had seen firsthand the dwindling participant numbers in the region.

He said over-65s should be encouraged to be active and use nearby sports facilities, which were struggling for membership.

"With encouragement from Sport Manawatu, it might get more older people out playing sport and living healthy lives as a consequence and to the benefit of various clubs around the district," he said.

Sport Manawatu chief executive Mike Daisley said there were problems with engaging the older generations in Tararua because of a demographic shift.

"We've been looking at some models and developing and testing some tactics around activities that we believe will engage the ageing population better."

Initiatives tailored for elderly exercise and health existed in Tararua, such as the green prescription programme,

However, only a small number were participating in them, Mr Daisley said.

Sport Manawatu was working with Tararua District Council to find a solution, he said.

Manawatu Standard