Women's participation in sport needs to be considered down to a schooling level. says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
It comes after the Government announced a $10 million investment over three years to increase efforts to grow female leadership, coaching and governance among women in sport.
The initiative, launched on the United Nations' Day of the Girl, will see an increase in support for female athletes, hoping to improve participation rates among women and girls.
Today, Ms Ardern said they "need to worry" about participation barriers for women down to schooling level.
"I hope that we have full buy in at every single level because it's often at school that that participation starts or stops, and determines whether it carries on later in life."
Ms Ardern spoke about her own sporting experience growing up.
"Sport has never been something that I particularly excelled at, but it was something that was social, something that we were always encouraged to do.
"But I saw lots of reasons along the way why other young weren't participating or didn't feel comfortable participating. I think every woman has a story, that at some point felt like they were discouraged from participating."
The Prime Minister also responded to concerns of a lack of accessibility to Black Ferns jerseys, after a story was published on the Spinoff describing it as the "rarest piece of NZ sporting merchandise".
"We should be able to have the most basic things like merchandise for our sport teams that are female and male, equally available," Ms Ardern said.
"We're talking about a world champion team and ones which have a huge following. Things are turning around and we need to keep up."