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Sector Update

24 April 2024

24 April 2024

Kia ora koutou, 

I hope everyone is doing well and looking forward to a short break tomorrow for ANZAC Day where many of us within our communities will be commemorating the many sacrifices from those before us. It’s always special to see the role that sport plays over this period in bringing us together to remember these important moments in history.   

It’s been great to see winter sport firing back up over the past few weeks with people of all ages returning to their chosen environments and enjoying the value that sport brings. All of these great experiences we see wouldn’t happen without the team of more than a million volunteers that put in a lot of hard mahi to make it all happen. From coaches, parents, officials to club administrators, a sincere thank you from me for all that you do.   

While many of us are finalising plans for the coming years ahead, I was fortunate enough to speak at the National Māori Sport and Recreation Conference in Rotorua recently. Hosted by Te Aupikitanga Aotearoa Limited, it was just the second time the event has been held and the first time in 18 years. While it was unfortunate that I couldn’t attend in person, I’m looking forward to attending the next one. It’s great to see Māori coming together to consider what ‘by Māori, for Māori’ looks like in the context of sport and recreation and having the opportunity to hear from some inspiring speakers and their own mahi. You can read more on this below.  

If we continue looking ahead, on the very near horizon now is the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games which many of you will be involved in. Last week we celebrated just 100 days to go until the carnival atmosphere kicks off in Paris where we’ll be treated to a couple of months of action across the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We’re continuing to see some great performances from our athletes to gain selection ahead of the Games and wish all of our athletes the very best over the next month or so for qualification and preparation. I know the real fans will be preparing to be up watching all night and sleeping during the day and, for those of us who have to work, dealing with the inevitable early morning wake-ups!  

Sticking with the Games, it was a proud moment to see the World Wheelchair Rugby Paralympic Qualification Tournament held in Wellington at the NZ Campus of Innovation and Sport at the end of March. Held for the first time, the tournament welcomed eight countries all competing for three spots at the upcoming Paralympics. While the Wheel Blacks missed out on a spot, they truly inspired many members of the public and school children who attended the event. You can watch the video on this below. Congratulations to DSport and NZ Wheelchair Rugby for a great tournament.   

I wanted to finish with an amazing fact that I saw just a week or so ago relating to our evaluation work on Tū Manawa. Our insights to March 2024 showed that more than 1.7m tamariki and rangatahi have had opportunities to be physically active as a result of Tū Manawa funding. This number blew me away and it deserves a shout out to our RST partners and everyone involved in delivering Tū Manawa.    

Enjoy the short break and thank you for all that you do. 

Ngā mihi,  


Read about the latest news across Aotearoa. 

NZ Sport and Recreation Awards 

The closing date for entries has been extended and will close at 9.00am, 26 April 2024
The NZ Sport and Recreation Awards celebrate leadership in the sector and recognise outstanding contributions being made across the country to enhance people’s lives through physical activity.    
The award categories for 2024:  

  • Commercial Partnership: awarded to an organisation that has formed an exceptional partnership with a commercial organisation for the benefit of sport and recreation.  
  • Community Impact: awarded to a project that positively impacts tamariki and/or rangatahi and their communities at a national, regional or local level.  
  • Environmental Sustainability: awarded to an organisation committed to driving environmentally sustainable practices in the play, active recreation and sport sector.  
  • Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion: awarded to an innovative initiative which supports diversity and inclusion within sport and recreation, such as access, participation, leadership and community connection.  
  • Jim Maniapoto Memorial Taonga – Excellence in impacting Māori participation as Māori: He tohu hei whakanuia i te tangata, te rōpū rānei i whakatīnanahia i te kaupapa i akiaki ai i te mana o te tangata. This award acknowledges an outstanding individual, group or organisation that contributes to whānau, hapū, iwi, Māori wellbeing through physical activity.   
  • Susie Simcock Future Leaders’ Scholarship: awarded to an individual leader, aged 40 or under, who has proven leadership skills and is committed to further development.  

Please help us share the word:  
Nominations can be made through the Sport NZ Awards Portal.  
If you know any organisations or individuals who have been making an outstanding contribution in our sector to enhance people’s lives through physical activity, please reach out and encourage them to put their application forward. Please share details with your audiences by directing them to the Awards Portal. 

NZ Sport And Rec Awards 2024 banner

Te Whetū Rehua: He Oranga Poutama Kaiwhakahaere Doing the Mahi

Last week, the National He Oranga Poutama hui was held in Rotorua. A big mihi to Stevie Te Moni and the whānau of Te Papa Takaro o Te Arawa for hosting a successful hui. One of the many intangible benefits of the two-day hui was nurturing the essence of living and being within Te Whetū Rehua. Kaiwhakahaere were empowered to foster their connections with one another, the environment and mātauranga Māori. 

“There’s something special about having this hui in a Māori space, on marae and run by the kaiwhakahaere themselves while learning about one another's ancestors. An overwhelming sense of ‘safety’ is felt when you understand the story of the ancestors surrounding you, in the carved pou of the wharenui you are in.” said Penina Kenworthy - Kaiwhatū Rauemi, Te Kāhui Rautaki Māori, Ihi Aotearoa.  

Kaiwhakahaere delved into Māori mythology about the tipuna of the Rotorua area, embarking on a hikoi and engaging in physical activities like hiking, bike riding, and waka ama, as they paddled to Mokoia Island, situated in the middle of Lake Rotorua. The pursuit of knowledge intertwined with physical activity embodied holistic wellbeing and saw Te Whetū Rehua personified. 

Group of people looking over a fence into a forest

It’s My Move – Let's go Unpro

Sport NZ’s It’s My Move campaign is entering another phase, this time on TikTok and Instagram.

From this week, new content will go live, fronted by a diverse group of young influencers, including mental health advocate Jazz Thornton. The influencers will create a series of motivating 'pep talks' and other content based on current trends.

The theme of the campaign is 'Unpros’ which addresses the confidence issues young women experience when taking part in sport and recreation that they feel less competent in. Research tells us girls encounter unique barriers to participation including fear of failure and judgement.

Launched in 2022, the It’s My Move campaign aims to reduce the gender participation gap. This year marks the final phase of a three-year investment. The campaign evolved out of the Government’s 2018 Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation Strategy.

We’re also working on new It’s My Move content on our web site for organisations looking to create physical activity initiatives for young women. A new toolkit and guide will support organisations to offer young women safe and motivating physical activity experiences. Watch this space!

Group of young women giving a fist pump on a running track

National Māori Sport and Recreation wānanga

The National Māori Sport and Recreation wānanga was held in Rotorua on 12-13 April, hosted by Te Aupikitanga Aotearoa Limited (in remembrance of Tā Toby Curtis) – supported by Sport NZ through Te Kāhui Rautaki Māori and Hawaiki Hou. The purpose was to foster connections within the sector with an emphasis on the value of tikanga Māori (customs), and kawa (protocols) in sport, active recreation and play. 

There were keynote speakers including Dr Lara Andrews, Rachel Taulelei, Sir Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford, Dr Wayne Ngata and Tawera Nikau and others, who led discussions about defining the importance of Māori sport, advocacy, branding, future pathways for rangatahi Māori, storytelling and collaboration between sporting codes and active recreation to thrive in a te aō Māori led world. 

This provided an opportunity for stakeholders, corporate organisations, and Māori advocates to discuss and celebrate Māori sport and recreation, address challenges, promote collaboration, and help drive towards independence for Māori in sport, recreation and play. 

Group of people standing in front of a conference centre

Photo credit: Janelle Masters of Ngareta Creative

The importance of child safeguarding 

Recent news regarding offences committed by a gymnastics coach in the South Island highlight the crucial role of child safeguarding in sport and recreational settings.  

It is an appropriate time to highlight the availability of Sport NZ’s resources on child protection and child safeguarding. Please take the time to refamiliarise yourself with the information and advice that is provided in this portal and share inside your organisations accordingly.


Here are some stories from the community we didn’t want you to miss.

Students watch wheelchair rugby for the first time

On 20-24 March, the Wheel Blacks battled for a 2024 Paralympics spot at the World Wheelchair Rugby Tournament in Wellington. For many of the St. Joseph's students who attended the game versus Brazil, it was their first time ever watching a Paralympic sport. What did they think of wheelchair rugby? The enthusiastic cheers from the stands say it all. 

Opportunities like this can have lasting impacts on tamariki that lead to a more inclusive Aotearoa. They teach young people the importance of resilience and making the most of your own unique strengths, while fostering a sense of openness towards disability.  

Watch the video and learn more about disability inclusion in sport and recreation. 

Group of tamariki cheering at the wheelchair rugby game

Surf’s up for rangatahi in Taranaki 

Organisations in the Taranaki region are joining forces to give disabled rangatahi a chance to get active through surfing. The Halberg Foundation, Oakura Boardriders, Parafed Taranaki and Parafed Manawatū share responsibilities and pool resources to provide disabled rangatahi with beach wheelchairs, mats and adaptive surfboards and opportunities to participate in water-based sports. Sport NZ’s 2023 Active NZ research shows disabled rangatahi go swimming, surfing and boogie boarding less often than their non-disabled peers, and this kind of support goes a long way towards removing barriers and boosting participation.  

Read the story.

Group of people standing around a surfboard


Youth in Governance guidance 

Our new Youth Voice in Governance guidance is designed to support boards to consider how they could engage with young people to create positive change in the sector. 

Sport NZ acknowledges that every organisation/board is at a different point of their journey when it comes to engaging with young people, or having youth representation on their board. This is designed to prompt thought and action no matter where an organisation is in regards to their youth engagement journey. 

Sport NZ is keen to hear how this guidance supports your mahi and welcomes questions and comments at

An un-level playing field? – The latest Futures report 

New technologies and shifting value systems are transforming competition in elite sport, including challenging the sacrosanct principle that athletes compete on a level playing field. These dynamics have cast uncertainty over the future of elite athlete classification. Will the broad status quo prevail, or will new classifications emerge? Will detection of performance enhancement become so difficult that public confidence in fair competition declines, or the principle of a level playing field is dropped? Will this and public interest in performance enhanced athletes lead to natural ability athletes becoming obsolete? Or will the use of performance enhancement lead to a fracturing of elite global competition? 

This report considers four such stories to help us anticipate possible futures, build our understanding, and explore actions we can take today. 

View this and other reports on our Futures page.


Reflecting on the Rainbow Games 2024 Sector Hui  

This month at the inaugural Rainbow Games in Tāmaki Makaurau, around 50 people from a range of health, education, and sport and recreation organisations came together to learn how to create more inclusive environments for our rainbow communities. Attendees heard from an incredible group of individuals including Kate Weatherley, Honey Hireme-Smiler MNZM and Julia de Bres, with information and panel sessions from Radiqal Movement, School Sport New Zealand, Auckland Sport Climbing and New Zealand Esports. 
There were so many important takeaways from the event, including this insight from Honey Hireme-Smiler: “It’s our youth who are paving the way – they bring more education, knowledge, confidence and acceptance.” A big thank you to Aktive for putting on this valuable hui for the sector. 

To learn more about how you can be inclusive of rainbow communities in your code, activity or organisation, check out the rainbow resources on our website.

Four people on a panel on stage at the Rainbow Games

Why Balance is Better for ABs Coach Razor  

As plenty of rangatahi take to the field for the winter sport season, our latest Balance is Better ambassador, All Black’s coach Scott Robertson, shares some invaluable advice for all fellow sport parents.  

For Razor, it’s about ensuring they’re having fun, learning as they go and celebrating the successes with them outside of just what’s on the scoreboard.  

Check out Razor’s video for parents below and a lot more on our YouTube channel.  

Razor's advice to sport parents.

Scott Robertson talking to a camera


Enhancements to Governance Evaluation System (GES) and Governance Mark 

Governance Evaluation System

As part of our governance leadership to the sector, we have a team of external facilitators who identify improvements that organisations can make, including being awarded the Governance Mark. To support this work, we provide the Governance Evaluation System (GES) online platform where organisations and boards can complete a survey to take part in our governance maturity evaluation and development programmes (including for Governance Mark certification).    
The current system is at the end of its contract (and end of life) and we have selected a new supplier to build a new GES platform, which will be operational by 30 April 2024. The new platform will offer a better experience for the partners we work with as part of our wider strategy through a more flexible system.   

Governance Mark process revamped  

Sport NZ launched the Governance Mark in 2016 as a way to take a leadership stance in setting governance standards for the play, active recreation and sport sector. Developed in partnership with the sector, it is the only externally accredited governance development programme of its kind internationally with a focus on play, active recreation and sport.  
Over eight years, we’ve gained valuable insights into the challenges faced by sector boards using the Governance Mark and have recently revamped the process to be more relevant and impactful. Shifting from a lengthy audit-based method to a nuanced, principles-based development approach, we now incorporate a broader array of inputs into the assessment –  making it more comprehensive and valuable for organisations.  

Find out more about how we support good governance in the sector.

Webinar: Incorporated Societies Act (2022) and Regulations (2023) 

As you continue to work to update constitutions, we welcome NSOs, RSOs, clubs and RSTs to join our upcoming webinar to support your organisation to make the most of our available resources. In this webinar we’ll take you through what’s available to you to make the process simple and streamlined, as well as let you know what’s next. 

Updated financial guidance

With many organisations and Boards doing a review of their policies and procedures, Sport New Zealand has recently reviewed and updated the contents of the Finance section including:

  • Updating all 35 Finance Policies to reflect current legislation.
  • Reviewing the Accounting for Non-Accountants document to include all current accounting best practice and legislation (e.g., Incorporated Societies Act and Statement of Service Performance).
  • Updates to the Fringe Benefits tax for the not-for-profit sector and Financial reporting standards for charities.

If you are in the process of reviewing your documents, we encourage you to review them against this updated content to ensure they meet current standards.

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