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Study Sport, Exercise and Recreation today

New Zealand Certificate in Sport and Recreation (Community Development)

Are you passionate about empowering your community through your love of sport and recreation? If you love working with people and are interested in making a real difference in your community, particularly with youth, this programme will give you the skills and competencies required to take that next big step.  

60 (0.5 EFTS)
Mt Albert
Start dates
February or July
Part-time over one year

Programme overview

Please note: This programme is part-time only. For a full-time option, check out New Zealand Certificate in Exercise (Level 4)

The New Zealand Certificate in Sport and Recreation will prepare you to use sport and recreation to aid the development and wellness of a variety of groups and communities. 

It has been designed both for people already working in the fitness industry without a qualification and also for those who have a passion for sport and recreation and would like to dip their toes in to see what a career in the fitness industry is all about.  

You’ll learn about how community sport and recreation currently operates in Aotearoa New Zealand, and develop the skills required to engage with both clubs and clients to meet their community sport and recreation objectives. From there, you’ll have the opportunity to integrate and facilitate the implementation of a wide range of initiatives for community wellbeing.  

What you'll learn

  • Hauora (health and wellbeing)
  • Sport psychology
  • Movement and physical activity
  • Physical education
  • Outdoor fitness
  • Community development
  • Community sport
  • Sport club leadership, management and governance


  • You’ll learn really practical skills so that you can get going immediately once you graduate  
  • You’ll be taught by knowledgeable and passionate staff who are highly connected to the industry 
  • You'll graduate with high Māori and Pasifika cultural competencies
  • Throughout the programme, you'll have the opportunity to experience 50+ hours of work-based learning across multiple sport, exercise and recreation organisations
  • You’ll have access to a range of sports facilities while you study

Who could you do work experience with?

Currently, our students work with:

  • Regional sports trusts
  • Local and regional councils
  • Regional and national sports organisations
  • Schools
  • Commercial fitness centres

Work and earn with Auckland Council while you study Sport, Recreation and Exercise

At Unitec, we are excited to announce our new partnership with Auckland Council which provides an opportunity for students to work while they are studying in Sport, Recreation and Exercise.  This work-connected pathway will give you the opportunity to earn while you learn, similar to a paid internship or an apprenticeship. 

Auckland Council offers a variety of part-time positions that you can apply for. Being employed in the field in which you are studying provides up-to-date knowledge, financial support, and helps to develop your personal skills, your professional skills and your CV right from the start.

Need more information?
All Auckland Council Pathway applicants will be asked to be part of an interview conversation to develop an individual plan for study/work and to begin the application process for employment at Auckland Council.
If you would like a conversation about this programme, please contact:

Where to next?

Once you successfully complete your certificate, you can either go straight out into the industry or complete an additional 4 courses to achieve the New Zealand Diploma in Sport, Recreation and Exercise - Community Sport and Recreation Pathway

Want more information?

Feel free to contact the team with any further questions!

Contact us

Admission requirements

Academic requirements

You will need to provide the following, at different points of your application process.

  1. Have at least 48 credits at NCEA Level 2 (or equivalent) in your 4 best subjects, and;
  2. Consent to a Safety Check which meets the requirements of the Children Act 2014 (formerly known as the Vulnerable Children's Act) including:
    • Provide two forms of verified ID and evidence of any name changes;
    • Consent to a Police vetting check;
    • Complete a self-declaration of criminal convictions and medical conditions form  

If you don’t meet the academic criteria above, we have a range of Foundation and Bridging Education programmes which will help you prepare for further academic study.

English requirements

If English is not your first language you will also need one or more of the following:

  • Have achieved NCEA Level 3 and New Zealand University entrance; 
  • Be able to provide evidence you satisfy our criteria for existing English proficiency; 
  • Have achieved at least one English proficiency outcome in the last two years. 

If you don’t meet the English criteria above, we have a range of English Language programmes available, depending on your current level of ability.

If you don’t meet these requirements, you may still apply under special or discretionary entrance.

For more information download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses including timetables, please click on the course names below.

Courses Credits Aim
Coaching in Action (SPOR5101) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) The course will introduce students to the principles and concepts of coaching and allow opportunities to apply these in a practical learning environment.
Community Sport and Recreation (SPOR5103) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will explore how sport and recreation can contribute to holistic health and social development within local and national communities. Students will have the opportunity to critically evaluate the impact of socio-cultural factors on human development and wellbeing and gain a basic understanding of effective population level approaches that use physical activity.
Event Leadership (SPOR5105) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course develops students’ knowledge and understanding of principles and concepts of sport event management. Students will also have an opportunity to develop foundational knowledge and skills needed to plan and implement community-based sport events.
Initiatives for Health and Fitness (SPOR5106) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the factors that contribute to general health and fitness in order to design, implement, and evaluate initiatives and programmes for improving health and/or fitness outcomes.