It’s Official – Kiwis Love Cricket

SPARC’s 2007/08 Active New Zealand Survey is good news for the future of cricket – and for the health of New Zealanders.

The recently-released survey from the national sports funding agency showed that cricket was the most popular team sport participated in by New Zealanders aged 16 and over, during the 12 months to March 2008.

The figures showed 7.3% of the population – that’s around 238,000 people – were estimated to have played some form of cricket during the survey period.  Popularity was higher among men, with a participation rate of 11.7%.

Overall, activities such as walking (64%), gardening (43%) and swimming (35%) topped the participation rates across the whole population.

“It’s great to see that cricket is the most popular team-based activity in the country,” said New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive Officer Justin Vaughan.  “Playing cricket has a special place in the lives of many kiwis – whether it’s a game on the beach or backyard during the summer, or the serious competition of weekend regulars.”

The SPARC survey confirms NZC figures which put formal participation in cricket in a healthy position.  More than 100,000 cricketers are currently registered in New Zealand, with about half that number playing cricket in primary, intermediate or secondary school teams.  The national schools’ competitions cater for 804 school teams with nearly 10,000 players.

“Add in the parents and volunteers that help keep the game alive and it’s clear there is a huge grassroots passion for our summer game,” Vaughan said.

SPARC’s data shows that overall activity participation levels have remained steady since the previous comparable survey in 2001.  In any given week, 80 percent of New Zealanders aged 16 and above participate in a sport or recreation activity – that’s 2.6 million Kiwis having a go every week.

SPARC Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin said the survey results were highly encouraging.
“The survey shows that despite perceptions we’re becoming a nation of couch potatoes, we’re actually out having fun, playing and participating in our millions.”

Other major results in the survey are:

  • Walking, gardening and swimming are the top three activities participated in per year;
  • Volunteers continue to be the backbone of sport and recreation with one in four adults involved as volunteers;
  • Clubs and centres play a major role in sport and recreation participation. Per month, one-third of adults utilise clubs/centres for sport and recreation;
  • We love to compete - 37 percent of adults are involved in events and organised competitions.

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