Inclusive Boccia Kits

29 May

Inclusive Boccia Kits to be rolled-out in 13 regions across Aotearoa, to get more disabled tamariki and rangatahi active.

Boccia New Zealand is distributing 30 free Inclusive Boccia Kits across Aotearoa (Northland to Southland), to ensure disabled tamariki and rangatahi have equitable opportunities to participate in sport.

Supported by the Sport NZ Disability Inclusion Fund, the national project aims to ensure people living with a disability have access to quality play, active recreation and sport opportunities.  Sport NZ Disability Lead, Justin Muschamp says “It’s exciting to see this project getting more people delivering and participating in the sport of boccia throughout the motu. It’s a great example of creating inclusive environments for disabled tamariki and rangatahi to be active and removing barriers so everyone has opportunities to participate.”

The Inclusive Boccia Kits will be distributed directly to regional ParaFeds (or similar organisations) who will use the kits to enhance engagement with local schools, community groups and service providers. The kits provide disabled tamariki and rangatahi with access to sport-specific equipment which is fit for purpose and provides activators (teachers, parents, caregivers) with a sport delivery resource which enables them to create inclusive environments and deliver fun activities and games which allow participants to develop their boccia skills.

Similar to pentaque and bowls, boccia is a precision ball sport where participants throw, kick or use a ramp to propel a ball onto court, aiming to get close to a target ball called the jack. Boccia is a Paralympic sport with no Olympic counterpart. At national and international level, boccia is played by individuals with a physical impairment such as Cerebral Palsy or Muscular Dystrophy, but at a community and grassroots level, boccia is a sport for all and is truly inclusive.

Boccia is one of the fastest growing para sports globally and is becoming increasingly popular in Aotearoa as visibility of the sport expands and the awareness of local regional activities, events and programmes increases. Boccia NZ delivers an annual calendar of sanctioned events including two Regional Boccia Championships and a NZ National Boccia Championships, and through collaboration with their network of regional delivery partners, mainly ParaFeds (and similar organisations), are looking to enhance the number of primary and secondary school opportunities, to ensure disabled tamariki and rangatahi have equitable opportunities to participate in sport.

Historically, basic boccia equipment including balls and ramps has been inaccessible and costly. With only one domestic supplier of balls and no local manufacturer of ramps, the majority of boccia equipment is sourced from a small number of overseas suppliers based in Asia and Europe, meaning supplying boccia equipment locally is neither cost effective or timely. The cost for a school, community group or service provider to purchase a set of entry level boccia balls is between $300-$500 and the cost for an individual to purchase a competition level set is between $800-$1,600. One of the major barriers that local providers experience in providing boccia opportunities, is having access to equipment which is fit for purpose and cost effective, which is why providing these free Inclusive Boccia Kits will deliver significant impact.

Each kit includes a set of boccia balls, referee kit, flat marker spots and an inflatable ball, together with a sport delivery resource which provides visuals and written instructions on how to deliver a variety of boccia skill activities. In addition, each region has access to a touch grid which can be requested to support individuals with a visual impairment. ParaFed Canterbury Sports Manager, Hadleigh Pierson says “The Inclusive Boccia Kits are a beneficial addition to the adaptive equipment we take on our school visits. It is great having the boccia activities and balls in one easy to manage backpack, and having multiple kits means we can leave one for a school to use for several weeks”.

Boccia NZ’s vision is for these Inclusive Boccia Kits to enhance regional engagement with all disabled tamariki and rangatahi, improve the number of locally led participation opportunities on offer and increase participation in local boccia activities, events and programmes in each region.


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