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SPARC Facts 1997-2001

Key Facts

How active are we?2

  • 68% or 505,000 young people (5-17 year olds) and 68% of 1,851,000 adults are active (they do at least 2.5 hours or more of sport and active leisure per week).
  • 32% or 233,000 young people and 32% or 878,000 adults are inactive (they either do no physical activity or less than 2.5 hours per week).
  • More girls (36%) are inactive than boys (27%) and more women (34%) are inactive than men (31%).
  • Adults were more active in 2000/01 (70%) than they were in 1997/98 (67%) resulting in around 150,000 more adults being active.
  • Indications are that activity levels for young people may be declining overall, with the change from 69% in 1997/98 to 66% in 2000/01.
  • The proportion of young people that are sedentary (no activity in the last two weeks) has increased from eight percent in 1997/98 to 13% in 2000/01.

Young people

  • Young Māori and young European people are the most active (71% and 70% respectively) compared to 52% of young Pacific people or young people from other ethnic groups (59%)3 .
  • Māori girls are more active than European and Pacific girls and girls from other ethnic groups (70%, 64%, 52% and 55% respectively). European and Māori boys (76% and 72%) are more active than boys from other ethnic groups or Pacific boys (63% and 53%).


  • Māori and European adults are the most active (67% and 69% respectively). 63% of Pacific adults are active. Adults from other ethnic groups are the least active with only 54% being active.
  • Activity levels for Māori, European and Pacific men are similar (between 68% and 71% are active), but men from other ethnic groups are the least active (57%).
  • European and Māori women are the most active (68% and 65%) compared to Pacific women (58%) and women from other ethnic groups (51%).
  • 39% of adults are active for 30 minutes a day on five or more days per week (these people most closely meet the physical activity guidelines in terms of being regularly active).

2 Important note on interpretation of results: These results are provided from combined data from the 1997/98, 1998/99 & 2000/01 New Zealand Sport and Physical Activity surveys, unless specific reference is made to trends across the three surveys (for example; in bullet points 4, 5 and 6).

3 Definitions of ethnicity: The ethnicity question in the sport and physical activity survey is based on self-identification with an ethnic group. The four categories were: a New Zealander of Māori or part-Māori descent, a New Zealander of European descent/other European, A person of Pacific Island descent, or another ethnic group. Please note that for ease of readability reference to ethnicity will generally be abbreviated as follows: Māori, European, Pacific, other ethnic group.