Opening Waikato Polytechnic’s Sport And Exercise Science ComplexTertiary Education
It is a pleasure to be here to help celebrate the arrival of a new sporting facility in New Zealand.
The statement that sport is important to New Zealanders is nothing new. Sport has an important hold on us as a people. Most of us play a sport of some sort and almost all of us are avid sport watchers.
The Massey University Values study, that has been running for nearly a decade, measures the things that are important to us. No matter which way you look at the evidence, it is clear that we are a sports mad nation.
This region certainly has that reputation!
On a campus like this one, the sports facilities play a major role. This is clear from the tremendous growth in the number of students studying the Sport and Exercise Science degree.
Providing quality facilities for students is an important for a polytechnic, university or any tertiary provider.
I congratulate the Waikato Polytechnic in providing this impressive complex to the more than 250 full-time students who will have access to it.
Recently, the Government launched the Bright Future package which is an action plan for the country so we can meet the challenges of the knowledge age.
The world is changing into a global market place as we go through a revolution in information and communications technology. Things we used to dream of are becoming possible at an amazing rate.
Increasingly, what's in our heads is becoming as valuable as what is in our paddocks, our forests and oceans. In this environment, New Zealand needs to step up a gear to ensure it continues to prosper.
Tertiary education is first and foremost about developing the mind. That is why the Bright Future package invests $30 million a year in new scholarships, $7.25 million per annum for post-doctoral fellowships; $36 million New Economy Research Fund; and sets up two taskforces to take an indepth look at the tertiary sector.
These initiatives will encourage people to focus on the science and technology area of study but this does not mean that other areas of tertiary education are not important.
If we only focused on the fiscal importance of tertiary education we would be a very boring country.
Sport is a very important part of life that lifts the spirits and physical being of everybody.
Sport is also a very positive force in our society, and good news for the economy.
Overall, the sports business employs nearly 30,000 people, and contributes $350 million each year to our GDP.
The All Blacks and Team New Zealand are but two examples of sports people reaching the pinnacle of sport.
New Zealand also has a proud history of applying an innovative approach to the use of science and technology within the realm of sport.
The Britten motorcycle was one of the most advanced racing motorcycles in the world.
New Zealand expertise in hydrodynamics, boat design and construction and weather technologies enabled Team New Zealand to win the prized America's Cup in 1996.
Bright Future is about giving New Zealanders the skills to excel in the knowledge era, building the capability of our workforce and generating and funding good ideas.
It is about excellence. This means excellence in everything we do and the creation of Centres of Excellence, be it in boat building in Auckland, technologies in Christchurch, or training in sport and exercise at Waikato Polytechnic.
It is also about saying well done to those who deserve it. Too often New Zealanders enjoy putting successful people down rather than congratulating those who succeed.
Generally, we look up to our sports heroes, but sometimes even they endure our scorn.
There is no room for the Tall Poppy syndrome in a small country taking on the sports world. Negativity spells defeat.
This new Sports complex is al about encouraging success.
Students at this polytech are going to make an impact with the education they acquire here. Now, thanks to this investment in sport, they will be fitter and better sportspeople as well.