National Sport Club Survey (NSCS)

Since 2018, the National Sport Club Survey (NSCS) has generated insights about the management and operations of New Zealand’s community sport clubs.

Every sport club in New Zealand is invited to participate in this annual project. That now includes more than 7000 clubs across 90 sports and all 16 regions of New Zealand. The multi-sport, nationwide focus on clubs as organisational entities complements other projects which capture the perspective of single sports, single regions or individuals as participants. Insights are disseminated through regional workshops (often in partnership with RSTs), social media infographics, sport/region info sheets and more. Membership size/trends, financial performance, governance metrics and more are being tracked annually. Specific annual themes also feature.

We work with NSOs, RSTs, RSOs and others so that NSCS insights can be used for a variety of strategic purposes. The NSCS is run as a partnership between SPRINZ and the New Zealand Amateur Sport Association (NZASA).

NSCS Insights have been presented at the conferences of the Sport Management Association of Australia & New Zealand (SMAANZ) and the European Association of Sport Management (EASM). The New Zealand Herald, Otago Daily Times, Radio New Zealand and others have reported on NSCS insights.

Contact us

You can contact Mel Johnston ( for further information about the NSCS or to discuss collaboration opportunities.

Follow us on twitter: @NSCS_NZ

2021 NSCS

The 2021 NSCS was open from 19 August – 3 September

Insights and regional workshops will run from October 2021.


  • Women and Girls
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Performance Pathways

The 2020 NSCS was delayed by two weeks as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. 1187 clubs responded capturing the experience of about 200,000 Kiwis.

2020 themes were COVID-19 Impacts, Resilience, Innovation and regional workshops were held in West Auckland, New Plymouth, Hamilton.

Selected insights

  • In the midst of 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns, more than 90% of clubs reported they would be “shortly back to normal” or “make it through”
  • The larger a club’s budget, the fewer women involved in leadership
  • 40% of clubs reported innovation from the past 12 months, often related to partnerships or technology

In 2019, the NSCS club database was first developed with the goal of having an email address for every club in New Zealand. 787 sport clubs across all of New Zealand’s 16 regions took part in the research.

2019 themes were Commercialisation, Amateurism and regional workshops were held in Auckland (North Shore), Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin.

Selected insights

  • Many clubs of over 200 members are growing, while those less than 100 are shrinking
  • The optimal tenure for board/committee members in a sport club is no more than 5 years
  • At 43%, there are more women involved in club governance than at higher levels within the sector, but just 9% are under less than 30 years old

The project launched in 2018 with a total of 172 clubs, across 16 sports from around the country participating. Clubs were invited from a list of incorporated societies.

Regional workshops were held in South Auckland.

Selected insights

  • Only half of community sport clubs report having a strategic plan
  • 78% of clubs reported either stable or increasing membership
  • Most clubs have a “home” consisting of land and/or facility

Sport community feedback on NSCS

  • “We are a bit light on insights where we can measure and compare management and performance with other sports codes”
    North Island Gymnastics Club
  • “(The NSCS) could help to reinforce and complement our Active NZ and VoP data”
    South Island Regional Sport Trust
  • “Thanks for presenting (at the regional workshop). I look forward to sharing insights with our member clubs”
    North Island Regional Sport Organisation
  • “The data collected is awesome and would definitely be useful to us on a larger scale”
    North Island Regional Sport Trust
  • “This is a great opportunity and I’m always grateful when organisations with specific expertise make things available that support sport so well”
    National Sport Organisation
  • “We run some annual research here covering similar topics but… the club picture would be valuable to support our local insights and knowledge”
    South Island Regional Sport Trust
Dr Mel Johnston at the 2020 NSCS regional workshop in partnership with Sport Waitākere
Dr Michael Naylor at the 2020 NSCS regional workshop in partnership with Sport Taranaki
A 2020 NSCS infographic for NZ’s football community
2019 NSCS – Attracting Members: Membership Trend + Financial Position

a selection of our sponsor logos

Our people

  • Michael Naylor
    Research lead, AUT
  • Mel Johnston
    Research lead, AUT
  • Gordon Noble-Campbell
    Project partner, NZASA
  • Katharine Hoskyn
    AUT PG Student
  • Amber Campbell
    AUT PG Student
  • Daniel Martin
    AUT PG Student
  • Geoff Dickson
    SPRINZ research associate


*From 2020 Insights disseminated via infographics and other means