A dozen Chinese children went sailing for the first time today as part of an initiative to introduce Asian kids to some “Kiwi style”.
The 12 children from Auckland’s North Shore took part in a Volvo Sailing… Have a Go! day on Lake Pupuke after an approach by Harbour Sport to Yachting New Zealand.
Harbour Sport have introduced an ActivAsian programme in an effort to encourage the Asian community to become more involved in sport and recreation. They introduced 50 Korean children to touch rugby last month and are also planning to run sessions in golf and archery.
“We encourage people to participate in sport and recreation, to be more physically active, and one of those sports is sailing,” Harbour Sport’s ActivAsian community co-ordinator David Zhu said.
“We’re keen for them to experience a Kiwi-style sport, bringing the right atmosphere and vibe to the Chinese community, and sailing is a Kiwi sport. This is a great way to introduce them to the mainstream community and share some hobbies.”
Today’s initiative also represents the start of the new Volvo Sailing… Have a Go! season. The three Yachting New Zealand instructors were out on the water today as part of their training and next week will head off around the country to kick off the 12th summer of the programme.
The collaboration with ActiveAsian is the first time Volvo Sailing… Have a Go! has worked with ethnic groups and Yachting New Zealand programmes and services co-ordinator Danika Mowlem said they were keen to offer sailing to other ethnic groups.
“I’m working with a Korean group at the moment for a Have a Go! day in January.
“We just want as many people to go sailing as possible, regardless of ethnicity. The more people we can get out there the better as far as we are concerned.”
Zhu said he was blown away by the interest in the sailing day, with the 12 slots filled within half a day of it being advertised.
“One of the sayings on the sports field is that once people touch it they like it,” he said. “Some of the children have already asked me how to keep going so some might be encouraged to become a member of a yacht club.
“I see the excitement in the Chinese community. A lot of children are strangers to yachts and once they get involved their parents and grandparents are more likely to do it, too. This is a very fresh experience for the kids and their families.”
Zhu said he hopes at least one Volvo Sailing… Have a Go! day will become a regular feature each year.
Volvo Sailing... Have a Go! is a one-day introduction to sailing, designed to give kids the opportunity to experience the thrills and spills of sailing in a safe and well-managed environment. And, most importantly, have fun.
It's open to children aged 8-12 and no prior sailing experience is required. All clothing and equipment is provided.