Auckland University of Technology (AUT) is renowned for its strong and successful partnerships with a vast array of people and organisations.
Professor Mark Orams, Head of the School of Sport and Recreation at AUT, explains that the School is no different.
“A strong part of the ethos of the School and reason for its success has been its strong engagement with the wider sport and recreation sector.”
“This has included long-standing relationships with Sport New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand, many National and Regional Sporting Organisations and others in the not-for profit and private sector.”
In 2009 AUT and Millennium Institute of Sport and Health announced a 50/50 partnership between the two organisations, forming AUT Millennium.
“Both the Institute leadership and the leadership within AUT saw the opportunity to work even more closely together and build a world-class partnership for the betterment of New Zealand”, explains Orams.
Since 2009 the relationship has flourished and AUT Millennium underwent significant facility upgrades. The AUT Sports Laboratories are now serving the community and athletes, as well as being used for education and research purposes.
Additionally, the Sports Performance Institute of New Zealand (SPRINZ) research centre and the Human Potential Centre, are now based at AUT Millennium and both undertake important research in the areas of health, wellness and sport.
“What has been key in the creation and success of AUT Millennium has been the commitment to work together for the common good across the range of contributions that can be made from elite high performance sport, recreational sport, physical activity, nutrition and the wider benefits for public health”, states Orams.
The School of Sport and Recreation has experienced significant growth and is now ranked in the top 30 in the world for sport and exercise science, attracting students from around the world.
Since moving SPRINZ and the Human Potential Centre to AUT Millennium the centres have gone from strength to strength and have approximately 100 postgraduate students and 41 academic staff members based in the two centres.
Orams sees the partnership with AUT Millennium as a key contribution to this growth, particularly postgraduate research, thanks to access to world-class clinics facilities and close relationships with athletes and organisations based at AUT Millennium.
“Our staff and students love this: the chance to conduct world leading research that actually makes a difference. Research that is wanted by the sports and recreation industry and that we can see provides real benefits for people, athletes, coaches and teams.”
These benefits include assisting many of New Zealand’s elite athletes who have competed at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics, two of the most successful in the country’s history.
Since 2012, both SPRINZ and the Human Potential Centre have developed important partnerships which have produced research designed to improve people’s lives.
Notably, the Human Potential Centre has worked with Sovereign Insurance to develop a well-being index designed to measure the wellbeing of New Zealanders.
SPRINZ researchers have been working with World Rugby and New Zealand Rugby to examine the important issue of the longer-term effects of head injuries on players. This has contributed to changes in practice, which can reduce the risks of serious long-term harm.
Orams is particularly proud of his team’s commitment to challenge institutionalised norms and areas of potential controversy, including public health issues associated with diet and building environments which allow young New Zealanders to flourish.
“The leadership of our team in this area has been courageous, as it has challenged many existing and entrenched ways of thinking.”