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Recreation Co-ordinator

Kaiwhakarite Hākinakina

Alternative titles for this job

Recreation co-ordinators plan and run community leisure, before and after-school and sport programmes at venues such as recreation centres, parks, clubs and schools.


Recreation co-ordinators usually earn

$48K-$57K per year

Senior recreation co-ordinators usually earn

$60K-$83K per year

Source: NZEI and Victoria University, 2018.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a recreation co-ordinator are good due to steady demand for their services in out-of-school programmes.


Pay for recreation co-ordinators varies depending on qualifications, experience, responsibilities and where they work.

  • New sports co-ordinators working in schools usually earn between minimum wage and $54,000 a year.
  • Experienced sports co-ordinators with additional responsibilities can from $54,000 to $70,000.
  • New recreation co-ordinators working at councils, universities or polytechnics usually earn between minimum wage and $57,000.
  • Senior recreation co-ordinators and programme managers can earn from $60,000 to $83,000.

Recreation co-ordinators employed on a casual basis usually earn between minimum wage and $30 an hour.

Sources: NZEI Te Rui Roa and E tū, 'Support Staff in Schools' Collective Agreement', 2018; Victoria University 'General Staff Collective Agreement', 2018.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Recreation co-ordinators may do some or all of the following:

  • plan and co-ordinate recreation programmes and events, social sports, competitions, and before-school, after-school and school holiday programmes
  • work with the community to design and develop recreation projects
  • prepare budgets and write reports and proposals
  • hire, train and supervise volunteers and staff
  • advise councils and commissions on recreation planning and policies
  • advise and assist community groups to develop recreation programmes and events.

Skills and knowledge

Recreation co-ordinators need to have:

  • knowledge of different leisure, sports and recreation activities
  • knowledge of hazard management, and health and safety planning skills
  • a love of recreation and sport
  • budgeting, business management and marketing skills.

Working conditions

Recreation co-ordinators:

  • may work regular office hours, mornings or evenings, or weekends at events
  • work in offices, churches, community halls or at sports grounds
  • travel to different recreation centres, sports fields, schools and marae.

What's the job really like?

Rebecca Kurtovich

Rebecca Kurtovich

Recreation Co-ordinator

Rebecca Kurtovich’s week is full of sport. About 150 teams of tertiary students, playing anything from rugby and soccer to netball and badminton, visit Unipol’s recreation facilities in Dunedin each week.

A week full of sport

“We do cricket, netball, volley ball, indoor soccer, basketball, rugby and badminton. I do all of the planning around how we’re going to fit them in.”

Day organised around student timetable

"I work Monday to Friday but there’s lots of things going on which we have to be present for. We’re open seven days a week. There’s often times you’ll be here on the weekend. The hours I work are 11am till 7pm. That suits when students are around. We find that students enjoy it because the games are short and sharp. They’re in the evening and work well with timetables.”

On the go all day

“The environment is one where you are doing a lot of things. We do a lot of moving around the facility; I might have to set up spaces, I do a lot of lifting. It’s definitely a job where you need to be able to move.”

Entry requirements

There are no specific requirements to become a recreation co-ordinator. However, a certificate or diploma in leisure studies, physical education, sports administration or community recreation may be useful. Many local governments prefer recreation co-ordinators to have a Bachelor's degree.

Most employers prefer you to have a driver's licence and First Aid Certificate.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children. 

Secondary education

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a recreation co-ordinator. However, physical education, English and maths are useful.

Personal requirements

Recreation co-ordinators need to be:

  • enthusiastic and patient
  • mature and responsible
  • good communicators
  • good leaders and able to motivate others
  • able to get on with a wide range of people
  • well organised, with planning and project management skills
  • able to work well under pressure to meet deadlines.

Communication is a key skill. You're dealing with so many different groups of people: students, staff, members of the public. Organisation is also important, being able to manage time.

Photo: Rebecca Kurtovich

Rebecca Kurtovich

Recreation Co-ordinator

Useful experience

Useful experience for recreation co-ordinators includes:

  • teaching
  • coaching a sport
  • involvement in recreational activities or hobbies
  • an interest or participation in sport.

Physical requirements

Recreation co-ordinators need to have a good level of physical fitness and must be strong enough to move equipment.

Find out more about training

New Zealand Recreation Association
(04) 801 5598 - -
Out of School Care Network
(09) 366 0320 - -
Te Mahi Ako
0508 475 455 - -
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Good opportunities for recreation co-ordinators with out-of-school programmes

Out of school programmes offer the best chance of securing a recreation co-ordinator job. These roles are in high demand as many working parents and caregivers rely on after-school and holiday programmes to look after their children.

COVID-19 pandemic decreases demand in recreation centres

Job opportunities for recreation co-ordinators in recreation centres are poor because the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced demand for workers.

Demand may improve as restrictions to control the spread of the pandemic ease.

The best way to become a recreation co-ordinator in a recreation centre is to contact employers directly or use volunteer networks. 

According to the Census, 330 recreation co-ordinators worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Types of employers varied

Recreation co-ordinators may work for a variety of employers, including:

  • out-of-school care and recreation providers
  • iwi and local authorities such as city and district councils
  • schools and universities
  • sport groups, clubs and recreation centres
  • government agencies such as Sport New Zealand.


  • Bukholt, E, community recreation project manager, New Zealand Recreation Association, interview, March 2018.
  • Sport New Zealand, 'Future Proofing the Active Recreation Sector – A Planning Framework', accessed September 2016, (
  • Sport New Zealand, 'Strategic Plan 2015-2020', accessed April 2018, (
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
  • Stats NZ, 'Over Half of Children in Formal Care There Due To Parents' Work Arrangements' (media release), 9 February 2018.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Recreation co-ordinators may progress to set up their own out of school programmes or buy into out of school care franchises, or move into events or facility management roles.

Recreation co-ordinators can also progress into recreation policy planning or community development adviser roles in local government.

A group of people climbing rocks by the sea

Recreation co-ordinators run sports and other activities for community groups (Photo: Skills Active Aotearoa)

Last updated 27 March 2024