Game Plan AKL launches to empower young people through sport and recreation

by Aktive
Published on Friday 10 November, 2023
TS831689 L

A new initiative Game Plan AKL will give select young people living in Auckland the opportunity to engage in sport and recreation. Launched on 9 November, the initiative is led by Aktive but made possible with support from generous donors.

Game Plan AKL aims to break down barriers and enable 100 Year 9 students from 10 selected schools/kura across Auckland to take part in sport and recreation activities of their choice. Each young person will receive up to $1,000 per year for five years, allowing them to pursue their passion and give them access to sport and recreation previously not possible.

Aktive Chief Executive Jennah Wootten says the ongoing impact of the cost-of-living crisis in Auckland has seen many families sacrifice participation in sport and recreation for more immediate priorities, like putting food on the table, paying rent, or staying warm.

“Evidence tells us that cost is one of the greatest barriers to access sport and recreation for young people in Auckland. Game Plan AKL aims to tackle this challenge, so less young people are missing out on the benefits of being involved in physical activity. 

"We want young people to have the opportunity to choose what they want to do – it might be playing hockey, hip-hop dancing, or having a 12-month membership at a nearby gym. We don't mind what they choose, but we do care that they are supported, included, and given every chance possible to succeed," says Ms Wootten.

Championing the initiative are some of Aotearoa’s greatest sportspeople and personalities: Dame Valerie Adams DNZM OLY, Olympic shot putter; Keven Mealamu MNZM, Rugby Union legend; Ruben Wiki ONZM, Rugby League icon; and Laura McGoldrick. Auckland’s Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson is also lending her support to this worthy cause.

“I am proud to be a part of this initiative. Physical activity has so many benefits including building confidence and creating lifelong habits. An active Auckland is a healthy thriving Auckland. Participating in a sport shouldn’t be financially prohibitive so taking the pressure away from their families and giving these young people the ability to continue keeping active throughout their high school years can only have positive outcomes,” says Deputy Mayor Simpson.

“We believe in the power of giving and making a difference in the lives of young people. We know the health and wellbeing benefits that come from being active regularly. It doesn’t just help young Aucklanders; it also helps their family, friends, and the wider community,” says Ambassador Dame Valerie Adams.

Game Plan AKL is made possible through the generous support of donors, with Aktive responsible for the fund and covering all operational costs. With $500,000 already secured to support the first cohort of 100 young people who will commence their five year opportunity in 2024, Aktive is now calling on the giving Kiwi spirit for continued donations to support the next cohort of 100 young people. By growing the donor family, Game Plan AKL can extend its impactful reach.  

“We are incredibly grateful to the generous donors who have helped to make this vision a reality. Together, we will make a lasting impact on the lives of Auckland's young people through the power of sport and recreation,” says Ms Wootten.

For the next week (until 11.59am Thursday 16 November 2023), New Zealanders can contribute to Game Plan AKL via Give a Little This will help to build a further $500,000 fund which will enable the next 100 young people to be supported by Game Plan AKL from 2025 for five years.

To find out more, visit