Organisation ‘more than just sport’

Active Southland chief executive Brendon McDermott stands alongside the new logo for the organisation formerly known as Sport Southland.

THE rebranding of Sports Southland to Active Southland Ora o Murihiku better reflects what the organisation’s objectives are, its chief executive says.

Brendon McDermott announced the new name and logo at a launch at ILT Stadium Southland on Tuesday, which included Active Southland staff, stakeholders, funders and Murihiku representatives.

Mr McDermott said the name change came about after extensive consultation with the community.

“I think it’s really important that we now believe that we’ve got a brand that’s fully inclusive for the whole community.”

The previous use of Sport Southland had been perceived as only pertaining to a small section of society who played sports.

Yet the organisation delivered many services throughout the community including Healthy Families and Green Prescriptions and other programmes working with children and their families as well as in schools, he said.

While sport was still an important part of the organisation, the new name captured all it delivered.

“It’s more than just about sport. For people that don’t know that, they might not look at the organisation for the help they need.”

Mr McDermott described how Sport Southland was the brainchild of well-known Southland athletes, Tom Pryde and the late Mike Pyper, who came up with the idea of the organisation while enjoying a drink at the Avenal.

The first meeting was held under the stage at the Civic Theatre in 1990 and the organisation was formed.

While initially it had delivered Kiwi Sport into the community, it had grown extensively in the past 30 years.

Active Southland chairman Bevan Ellis said the rebranding showed the organisation was moving forward.

One of the objectives was to ensure tamariki (children) in the community became involved in an active lifestyle.

“If we can light that fire in kids, it pays dividends,” he said.

Kaumatua Vincent Manawatu said there were three hui (meetings) held to come up with the te reo Maori name which was gifted to the organisation.

“We wanted to go with a name that was inclusive, not exclusive.”

While there were three names on the shortlist, Te Takaro Ora o Murihiku was deemed to be the right one.

The translation means for well-being in Southland’ with the name capturing and including everyone and everything the organisation did, he said.

While Mr McDermott would not disclose the amount the rebranding exercise cost the organisation, he said the money came from its reserves not its working capital.