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Get out, get active, meet friends

Two young people exercising at the gym

Getting active and participating in sports or other recreational activities is not only good for your body, it’s also good for your mental wellbeing too — and it can be a great way of meeting new friends who share similar interests.

Sport and exercise

There are lots of ways to get involved in sports – as a player, referee, coach or spectator.

If you’d like to participate in sports, visit Halberg Active and search the sports club finder tool to find local opportunities that match your ability. You can also find out more about the Activity Fund which provides grants to physically disabled young people to help them take part in sport.

You can find more opportunities to get involved with sports at Sport New Zealand.

Parafed promote sport and recreation for people with physical disabilities and visual impairments. Find your regional Parafed organisation to see what sporting opportunities are available.

Special Olympics New Zealand offers a year-round programme of sports training and competition for children and adults with an intellectual disability.

Sailing is a sport that allows everybody, regardless of ability or disability to take part on a level playing field. There are many opportunities to get on the water in boats that can be adapted to suit anybody. Visit Yachting New Zealand to find accessible sailing opportunities in your region.

New Zealand Riding for the Disabled Association (NZRDA) is a charitable organisation that provides opportunities for anyone with a disability to enjoy safe, healthy, stimulating, therapeutic horse riding and horse-related activities in New Zealand.

Adaptive Snow Sports encourages people of all abilities to get involved in snow sports and works to remove barriers by running special adaptive programmes. Read our story about how to get involved.

Many community houses host exercise and dance classes. Use the Family Services Directory to find a community house near you. You could also get in contact with your local Age Concern to find free or low-cost exercise sessions such as tai chi and dance, or to join a walking group.

There are lots of beautiful walking tracks across New Zealand. If you want to find an accessible track near you, visit the Department of Conservation website and search for walking tracks suitable for wheelchairs and buggies.

Learn about Life Fit – a fitness, exercise and health programme run by Life Unlimited (now known as
Your Way | Kia Roha) in Hamilton.

Lifestyle and the Arts

Joining your local film society, or taking part in a book group (you can visit the book group noticeboard on the New Zealand Book Council website) is a great way to meet people who share your interests. Here are some other options:

Adult Community Education (ACE) courses are an opportunity to learn new skills and meet people, and there are lots of things you can learn from art, music and dance, to computing, cooking and gardening. Find ACE providers throughout New Zealand.

Arts Access Aotearoa supports creative spaces where people can make art or participate in artistic activities such as theatre, dance, music, film and creative writing.

Star Jam provides an opportunity for young people with disability to explore their talents, meet friends and build confidence through music and performance workshops.

And don’t forget to check out what’s happening at your local library.

Community events and activities

There are lots of opportunities to get out and about in your community. Here are some websites where you can find out what events are happening in your town:

You can search Eventfinda to find events by date, type, location and entry price.

You might be interested in joining Neighbourly, an online community made up of people in your neighbourhood. You’ll be able to see what’s happening in the area where you live.

i-site is a national network providing visitor information about regional attractions and events  — but you don’t have to be a tourist to use it.  Find your local i-site.

Your local council’s website usually has information about parks and reserves, public amenities like swimming pools and libraries, and local events.

You can find a list of upcoming events, workshops and support groups, especially for disabled people and their carers on the Firstport website.

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