Prior to 2018, COPSSA sat as a body of principals, teachers and sports coordinators who ran sport in the region. Children participated in school events, progressing to Central Otago Championships, and those who excelled went onto compete in Dunedin based events.

Central Otago has grown significantly in recent years and new schools have been built to cater for the increasing number of primary age children. Larger numbers of entries at Central Otago Primary School sports events grew to a point that required a review of how sport in the region was organised and a need to establish more progressive systems. A steering group of principals and Bill Godsall from Sport Central proposed a three tier interschool sports competition for the core sports. The tiered approach provides opportunities for inclusion at school level and also a competitive pathway for those children who excel, via a zone level of competition and culminating with a pinnacle event – the Central Otago Championships.

The collective of Central Otago Principals (COPA) agreed Central Otago Schools would no longer select children to compete in Dunedin because COPSSA’s new three tiered interschool sports competition provided more variety and the same level of challenge (at the top level) to that of Dunedin competitions, without significant travel to Dunedin. In 2018, the Central Lakes Trust and Sport Otago (KiwiSport) supported COPSSA financially with funding approval for a Regional Sports Director position to oversee the running of primary school sport in Central Otago.