NZWAC recognises Sport Bay of Plenty for two walking initiatives

SportBoP

08/12/2015 2:40pm

Sport Bay of Plenty has been recognised by the New Zealand Walking Access Commission for its outstanding Virtually on Track and City on its Feet programmes.

These programmes aim to bring people closer to nature and to spend more time walking.

“These two initiatives promote walking in the Bay of Plenty region, as a great way to connect with the outdoors and with other people, and be healthy,” said New Zealand Walking Access Commission chief executive Mark Neeson.

“Both projects are well aligned with the New Zealand Walking Access Commission’s ongoing efforts to promote walking access for its health and social benefits.”

The City on its Feet programme was launched in 2005 as a joint initiative between Sport Bay of Plenty, Tauranga City Council, Sport New Zealand, ACC and the Bay of Plenty District Health Board. Its aim is to get more people walking, more often. Currently, 28 walking groups walk on a weekly basis. Sport Bay of Plenty has attributed the programme’s success in part to the group captains whose task it is to provide support and motivation.

The Virtually on Track project, which started two years ago, is a partnership between Sport Bay of Plenty, Sport New Zealand and the regional Department of Conservation (DOC) office, with support from local councils.

It encourages people to connect with natural resources such as parks, reserves and spaces. One way it does this is through its website, where eight significant recreational locations known as ‘gem sites’ are showcased, with a catalogue of walking and running opportunities. There are also challenges people can take part in that can be tracked via the use of technology, such as geo-teering, which is a combination of treasure hunting, orienteering and geocaching.

Sport Bay of Plenty Community Manager Catherine McCulloch said the organisation was “delighted” to receive the award.

“At Sport Bay of Plenty, we have a vision of getting more people more active, more often; the two programmes being recognised today contribute to this by getting more people in our community walking and knowing about the local resources, tracks and reserves.”

An award recognising the projects was presented this morning during a meeting of the Sport Bay of Plenty board at the organisation’s head office in Tauranga.

Photo caption: The Sport Bay of Plenty team receiving the award. From left, Steve Brightwell (Department of Conservation), Nicki Scott (Sport Bay of Plenty), Ric Cullinane (New Zealand Walking Access Commission) and Heidi Lichtwark (Sport Bay of Plenty).

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