New role . . . Ellen McAtamney is now Sport Waitaki’s Healthy Active Learning advisor. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Sport Waitaki’s reach is growing — and so too is Ellen McAtamney’s knowledge.

After spending nearly six months as Sport Waitaki’s health coach, Miss McAtamney recently made the transition to become the team’s healthy active learning advisor.

The new role is a government initiative, between Sport New Zealand and the ministries of health and education, to improve the wellbeing of tamariki and young people through healthy eating, drinking and quality physical education.

Miss McAtamney will work with eight primary schools in Waitaki, promoting play, sport and physical activity, helping build teacher confidence in teaching the physical education curriculum and helping schools connect with the wider community.

The three-year initiative was not a delivery programme for children, it was about working alongside the teachers which tapped into Miss McAtamney’s passion for adult confidence.

‘‘I’m looking forward to facilitating professional development for teachers,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s definitely going to be something that’s going to be well used in the next three years.

‘‘It’s going to be busy, it’s going to be pretty cool.’’

She had already had a few meetings at schools but was hoping to interact with all eight by the end of term 1.

Her work would be important for creating more participation and active children in the Waitaki district.

‘‘Hopefully, it will create more kids being active out of school.

‘‘Exercise is such an important part of our wellbeing so it’s to promote that in kids in our community — we want them to be out there.’’

Over the past six months, Miss McAtamney worked as a health coach at the Kurow, South Hill and East Otago medical centres, helping people with their lifestyle choices, chronic conditions and assisting them navigating the health system.

A lot of what she learned through that role about healthy eating and physical activity would transfer into her new job.

It was exciting to witness Sport Waitaki’s reach growing in the district, she said.

‘‘We’re growing. This is the third role now for the Waitaki region — it’s promising.’’

Sport Waitaki has appointed a new health coach, who will start in the role on February 14.