As I See It : Raelene Castle

How would you describe the New Zealand identity?
We’re all about No 8 wire. New Zealanders have global reputation as people prepared to roll up their sleeves and work hard, who are really passionate and proud of who we are as country and what we stand for, and proud of our achievements – in sport, in culture and on the political stage. We’re also renowned for being able to fix anything with piece of No 8 wire. Metaphorically, I think I use it in my job every day.

What will be the country’s next major challenge?
Obesity is our next big challenge. The issue is twofold. First, political correctness has meant our kids don’t get out and play rough and tumble like they used to, and they don’t learn that you can only eat whatever you want if you have healthy lifestyle to back that up. Second is the fact that physical education is not always compulsory in schools today. Kids aren’t growing up in that environment of 20-30 years ago, where we had three or four PE sessions week. They need to be exposed to whole range of sports to discover what they like, so they can give it go, and hopefully go on to have lifelong love affair with that sport. The implications of being overweight and obese are not only on our health, but also on the social and economic welfare of New Zealand.

What do we need to do to prepare for this?
We need to make sure that PE is compulsory in the school curriculum, with ball or skipping rope in hand. We need to make sure that sport is affordable for our children, so every Kiwi kid can play team or individual sport and develop love of outdoor activities, learn team work, problem solving, leadership skills and respect for elders… all the things that go hand-in-hand with playing sport. love of physical activity will live with you for lifetime. That’s one of the great things about netball, we strive to make it affordable for kids to play. I believe it’s fundamental for the future of New Zealand. M

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