Peter Downs Hi, my name is Peter Downs and I am the IFAPA regional representative for Oceania. ‘Oceania’ is quite a broad term that generally refers to countries around Australia and the South Pacific. Oceania includes Australia, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, all of Micronesia, parts of the Philippines islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea. So it’s a big region!

I have been involved in disability sport, inclusive sport and adapted physical activity for 27 years. Back in the early 2000’s I was Vice President of IFAPA for a few years but have been involved with IFAPA from my early days as a student on the European Masters Degree in Adapted Physical Activity in the late 1980’s. Nowadays, I am Manager of Play by the Rules – a national government and non-government supported program that supports safe, fair and inclusive sport. In my ‘extra’ time I am also founding Director of The Inclusion Club – a non-profit health promotion charity that shares models of good practice in sport and recreation for people with disability.

surfing_MG_9896In Oceania the discipline of Adapted Physical Activity is hardly known. That’s not to say there has not been a lot of activity in the field of APA  – there has. There have been major national government supported programs in Australia, through the Australian Sports Commission and New Zealand, through the Halberg Trust, for many years and, in more recent times, the Australian Sports Outreach Program has seen development in a number of countries in the South Pacific, most notably in Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.  Perhaps where the region has not been so strong is in the area of research, although the University of Queensland has been very active for many years with some world leading research into classification systems.

Work in APA has had a very strong practical sport focus, with many national governing bodies of sport driving inclusive sport programs via policy and educational models that are widely accepted as part of core business. This is particularly the case in Australia and New Zealand. In Fiji too there has been very positive cooperation between sport, recreation and disability sector agencies to bring about positive outcomes for people with disability. This work has been further enhanced by the signing of a government supported National Inclusive Sport Policy.

So, Oceania is forging ahead in the many diverse areas of adapted physical activity. If you would like to find out more please contact me direct:

Peter Downs