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Sector Update - 30 November 2023

30 November 2023

Kia ora koutou,  

The past week has been a significant one for our sector on many fronts. You will have seen that the Hon Chris Bishop was confirmed as the new Minister for Sport and Recreation on Friday. We warmly welcome the Minister to our sector and we look forward to our first meeting with him, which we hope will be before Christmas. 

We expect that it will take a couple of meetings and giving the Minister a chance to digest our BIMs (Briefings for Incoming Ministers) before we have a strong understanding from the Minister of his areas of focus. We also have our refreshed strategies for both Sport NZ and High Performance Sport NZ for the 2024-2028 period ready to present to the Minister. Once he has endorsed these strategies and the supporting investment decisions, we will be able to share these with you. For our investment partners, we understand how critical these decisions are to you and I promise we are working to get this information to you as soon as we can. Watch this space for further updates.  

Play Week's theme this year was ‘Play is Everywhere’, and it certainly was. Thank you to everyone who supported Play Week earlier this month to help make it a success, whether it was through organising events for communities across the motu or sharing our digital Play Week campaign on their channels.  

In contrast, the 2024 Paris Olympics and Paralympics are getting closer and many of our athletes are continuing to perform in their respective qualifiers. A shout out to Sarah Tetzlaff and Julian David, who last weekend booked their spots at the Games, and will become the first to represent New Zealand in Sport Climbing at the Olympics – beating the Aussies to the Oceania spot. What a fantastic achievement as our small but mighty nation continues to break new ground in different sports. 

Our participation in major sporting events – both on our shores and overseas – has the potential to make a lasting impact on many areas of society. On that note, we were pleased with the latest results of the Sport NZ and Gemba research on the women’s sporting landscape, which showed a 29 percent increase in viewership of women’s sport since July 2022. It’s great to see more New Zealanders watching and advocating for women’s sport than ever before, thanks to excellent events like this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™. 

With the end of the year fast approaching (I can’t believe it’s December tomorrow!), I know many of you will be entering a busy period wrapping things up before the year finishes. As always, thank you for the amazing mahi you all do, and if I don’t get a chance to see you, please have a safe, happy, and well-deserved Christmas break. 

Ngā mihi, 
Raelene Castle   

Latest News

Thanks for playing with us!  

Thanks to everyone who helped make Play Week a success, in particular the Play workforce based in RSTs and councils and the Healthy Active Learning workforce who organised play events for their communities, schools, and neighbourhoods across the motu.  

It was great to see amazing engagement with the Play Week campaign as it rolled out across digital and social media, and the branded resources used widely by many organisations.  

We were really proud to see Scott Mackenzie, Sport NZ Play Manager interviewed on Newshub's AM Show, and Christchurch City Council Local Play Advocate, Louise Van Tongeren on One News' Breakfast. Both talked about the value of play and encouraging whānau to get active through play. 

You can check out this video by Active Southland, which shows an example of what happened on the ground in Play Week. 

As summer approaches, we hope you can all take time out to play with your whānau. 


Hannah Pascoe concludes her Wahine Toa Tour Aotearoa 

Blind Sport NZ proudly partnered with Hannah Pascoe's 'Wahine Toa Tour Aotearoa', making her the first Wahine Kāpō (blind female) to cycle the length of New Zealand. Hannah’s tour was to raise funds so future young blind or low vision athletes can be supported in ‘chasing their sporting dreams’. 

Hannah’s tour concluded in Bluff last weekend, following many adventures throughout the country over the last month. To find out more about her route and her story, check out her Facebook page and her fundraising page


Rainbow Games: 4-8 April 2024 

Are you ready to be part of a sporting event like no other? One that celebrates diversity, inclusion, and empowerment?  

The Rainbow Games Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland 2024 is here to unite Rainbow communities and their allies in a vibrant celebration of acceptance. From 4-8 April 2024, the inaugural Rainbow Games will celebrate sports, recreation, and culture in a way that promotes the well-being and interests of the Rainbow peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand and the wider Oceania region. The Rainbow Games invites you to this vibrant showcase of unity and to support Rainbow communities in sport.  

Find out more or register now at

Events & Opportunities

Don’t miss the Balance is Better webinar tonight 

Are you a sports club or community sport organisation? Want to learn the ins and outs of navigating the school sport system to make a lasting impact? 

There’s still time to register for tonight’s Balance is Better webinar, Building strong sport partnerships with schools. We’ll be sharing expert insights on what you need to know about engaging with schools, including how to effectively communicate your club’s mission and programmes and how to create mutually beneficial opportunities. 

The panel features a range of leaders in the school sport space in Aotearoa: School Sport NZ Chief Executive Mike Summerell, Sport NZ Strategic Engagement Manager Gregor Fountain, and Sport NZ Rangatahi Lead Roger Wood. 

The webinar kicks off at 7.00pm tonight. Don’t miss this chance to gain valuable insights, knowledge, and skills to connect meaningfully with schools. Register here.

Balance is Better webinar banner

Te Au Mātāhae - Sport NZ Leadership Programme   

Last month we launched Te Au Mātāhae (the Sport NZ leadership programme) and Te Au Hihiri (the Sport NZ executive programme), starting a transformational leadership journey for 38 leaders from organisations across the sector. Both programmes are being facilitated by leadership experts from JumpShift.  

We are about to open applications for the second cohort of Te Au Mātāhae. This cohort will start their leadership journey in late February 2024. Applications close on 15 December 2023, so head to our website to find out if this opportunity is for you.  
Initial feedback from participants in the first cohort has been outstanding: 

“One month in, the Te Au Mātāhae programme has already supported my growth and development as a leader, which has had a positive impact for my organisation and the people in it.”

- Jason Merrett, GM Participation Pathways at Sport Canterbury. 

“The Te Au Mātāhae leadership programme has been an eye-opening and thought-provoking experience so far. It has not only challenged me, but also assisted with giving myself permission to allow for the space, time, and reflection required to continue to develop as an authentic, effective, and innovative leader.”

– Rachel Minton-Smith, Community Hockey Manager – Capability at Hockey New Zealand. 

“The Te Au Hihiri Executive Leaders Programme has opened my mind in a way I would have never imagined. Being in a cohort of such similarly minded professionals, colleagues, and now close friends has created such a safe and encouraging space to learn and develop as a professional. I would thoroughly recommend you take the opportunity to apply for the second cohort for Te Au Mātāhae!”

– Michelle Frey, Director Liveable Communities at Gisborne District Council, and Chair at Recreation Aotearoa.

Group of people standing in front of a marae

Whanake o te Kōpara – Young Women’s Leadership Programme  

Whanake o te Kōpara is a young women’s leadership programme from Women in Sport Aotearoa (WISPA). It is for 18-25 year-old wāhine and aims to grow emergent leadership capability. Participants can come from all around Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Applications for the 2024 programme close on 6 December 2023. 

The 2024 programme consists of three kanohi ki te kanohi (face-to-face) weekend wānanga, beginning in February (Te Whanganui a Tara/Wellington), followed by March (Ōtautahi/Christchurch) and May (Te Whanganui a Tara/Wellington). Being co-designed with the young women ensures Whanake o te Kōpara meets their unique needs.  

For more details and to apply, head to the WISPA website.  

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Aktive Game Plan AKL fund 

A new initiative from Aktive, Game Plan AKL, will give select young people living in Auckland the opportunity to engage in sport and recreation.  

Game Plan AKL aims to break down barriers and enable 100 Year 9 students from 10 selected schools/kura across Auckland to take part in sport and recreation activities of their choice. Each young person will receive up to $1,000 per year for five years, allowing them to pursue their passion and give them access to sport and recreation previously not possible. 

To find out more, visit

Sports Knowledge Exchange Fund 

The Asia New Zealand Foundation's Sports Knowledge Exchange is a fund for New Zealand sports sector representatives to establish connections and develop relationships with their counterparts in Asia. Applications for the fund close on 4 December 2023. 
The fund is aimed at sports administrators, national sports organisation representatives, event organisers, coaches, umpires, and officials. The funding can be used to travel to Asia to meet with sports representatives and organisations to learn from them and discuss opportunities for collaboration. 

Learn more about and apply for the fund on the Foundation’s website


Postgraduate opportunities for 2024 

Are you looking to upskill in areas critical to your job and the broader sector? Check out the below postgraduate course offerings available in 2024: 

Capability building in physical activity and hauora Te Hau Kori at Victoria University of Wellington – Te Herenga Waka has recently launched workforce capability building opportunities in the fields of Play, Active Recreation, Sport-for-Development, and Physical Activity & Public Health. You can choose a single course or embark on more intensive study for a postgraduate certificate, diploma, or Masters degree.  

  • Find out more here
  • Or, join the Master of Physical Activity and Hauora (Wellbeing)  webinar on Wednesday 6 December, 5:30pm, to find out more. 

Improving workforce disability inclusive practice The Master of Health, Sport and Human Performance at the University of Waikato has recently introduced a paper specialising in Disability, Sport, and Inclusive Practice. This programme is well suited to either practitioners approaching a problem through research and/or people wishing to go on to advanced study. Find out more here.  

Brush up on your digital safety  

Organisations in our sector also need to manage the risk of their digital systems being breached. The ‘Digital Safety for the Play, Active Recreation and Sport Sector’ course is available to help keep us all safe online. 

Being cyber smart means practising habits that help keep yourself, your family, and your workplace protected from identity theft, online scams, data theft, and other online dangers. We are entrusted with precious information on a daily basis, and it is our responsibility to ensure the security of this information. 

You can access the course on Sport Tutor. The course is fully self-service, and you can learn at your own pace.  

If you are interested in other options for rolling out the digital safety course to your kaimahi, please email

Community Stories

Regional collaboration leads to facilities funding pipeline

Participation in sport and physical activity has many positive outcomes for individuals and communities, including improved health and wellbeing, bringing communities together, and contributing to the local economy. However, ensuring an adequate supply of fit-for purpose sport and recreation facilities, and therefore enabling these benefits to be realised, is an ongoing challenge. 

A collaboration in Northland, involving local government, Sport Northland, and Sport New Zealand, aimed to address this challenge. Read about how the Regional Sporting Facilities Rate led to a pipeline of funding dedicated to sporting facilities across the Northland region, and watch the video below to hear from the community. 

Supporting schools to take a strategic approach to physical activity 

Healthy Active Learning teams across the motu are working with schools to take a whole school approach to supporting the holistic wellbeing of students, from the classroom to the board level. 

Principal of Kauri Flats School Matt Williams says creating a quality physical activity and play environment as part of a strategic commitment to student wellbeing has had a positive impact on attendance, engagement across all learning areas, and the connection with whānau and the wider community. Reflecting this success, the school was recently recognised as an Outstanding Community Recreation Programme at the Recreation Aotearoa Awards.  

Read the school’s story, which was recently published in the Education Gazette.

Child playing at a dirt play station

New play initiatives in Dunedin schools support learning and connection

 Two play initiatives in Dunedin schools supported by Sport Otago are seeing great benefits for students with their learning and social connections, as well as providing teachers with new and creative learning activities. Watch the videos below to learn more about these initiatives.  

Play Lab at Kaikorai Valley College. 

Play Lab is a tool using universal design for teachers, teacher aides, and learning assistants to support students to learn through movement, with a focus on tamariki whaikaha (disabled children) to find their strengths and improve confidence in all learning contexts. Sport NZ's Disability Inclusion Fund is supporting Sport Otago to introduce Play Lab to 15 schools across Otago.  

Watch the video.

Nature Club at North East Valley Normal School. 

Supported by the Sport Otago Play Lead and the Tū Manawa fund, Nature Club focuses on play-based learning in the environment for tamariki to develop life skills. Every week, a group of tamariki get to have fun and learn in sessions such as the mud kitchen, dam building, and playing with clay collected from the garden. Social connection and learning to share and work together have been great outcomes for the tamariki attending Nature Club. 

Watch the video.


Disability spotlight: The power of communication and choice 

Communication is a critical, and often overlooked, aspect of accessibility. Watch our new video with Robyn Smith of Sport Inclusion Australia who shares why it’s important to listen to disabled young people’s needs and provide a range of physical activity experiences for them to participate in. In the lead up to International Day of Disabled Persons on 3 December, look out for more videos from our series on including disabled tamariki and rangatahi in sport and recreation.  

Check out the video series

A journey to better organisational outcomes - The Impact of Insights and Evaluation at Sport Hawke’s Bay 

In 2015, Sport New Zealand developed the insights approach, one of three approaches to guide sector organisations to put the participant at the centre of decision-making and improve experiences. As part of this approach, we have supported partner organisations, through investment and capability support, to make evidence-based decisions that better reflect the needs of the communities they operate within.   
Since 2015, Sport Hawke’s Bay has made significant progress in this area and are experiencing better organisational outcomes as a result. Read this case study to find out more. 

Group throwing a ball in a park

In case you missed it

Have you seen our Facility Management Manual?

We are in the process of refreshing our New Zealand Sporting Facilities Framework, a tool to help the sector’s decision-making about sporting facilities. In the lead-up to the Framework’s launch, we are continuing to highlight and share the many useful resources we have for those involved with facility planning, management, and operation. 

This month, we’re showcasing the Facility Management Manual. This guide was produced by Recreation Aotearoa, with support from Sport NZ, to provide comprehensive guidance for sport and recreation facility operators on topics such as customer care, marketing, strategy and planning, financial management, and much more. 

Check out the Facility Management Manual on the Sport NZ website.


Don Mackinnon standing in front of a croud at a conferenceANZSLA award recognises work to improve integrity in sport and recreation   

Don Mackinnon has recently been honoured with the Contribution to Sport and Sports Law Award for 2023 at a recent meeting of the Australia New Zealand Sports Law Association (ANZSLA) in Melbourne. The award recognises ANZSLA members who have made a substantial lifetime achievement to the development, integrity, and professionalism of the sport and sports law industry.  

Don has made a significant contribution to the sector over the past 30 years. Of particular interest now is his focus on improving integrity for a better experience for all. Don chaired the Sport and Recreation Integrity Working Group in 2020-2022 and is currently the chair of the Establishment Board tasked with setting up the Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission, which will commence operations on 1 July 2024.  


New Incorporated Societies Act resources 

Sport NZ recently released a national constitution template and guidance resources to help those who need to start thinking about actioning changes required under the new Incorporated Societies Act.  

Regional and club templates will be released before Christmas, alongside a tutorial on how to use and apply the national template.  

The resources now available include: 

We will be regularly updating the Incorporated Societies Act page with new resources as a one-stop shop ahead of the April 2026 deadline: Incorporated Societies Act 2022 and Regulations.

We can target our advice and support where needed, so in line with our phased approach to compliance, if you are a national organisation and have feedback or questions please email us at  

If you are a regional or club association, at this early stage we ask that you engage with your national and or regional associations in the first instance.


Appoint Better Boards

Exceptional boards lay the foundation for sport, play and active recreation organisations to excel. But appointing great board members remain a challenge.  

Reminder that the whole of the sport, play and active recreation sector can access free advertising for Governance Appointments through Appoint Better Boards. To place a vacancy, Boards need to visit and use discount code: SNZ100 to get the Basic advertisement free of charge. 

If you require an accessible version of any content on the site please contact us and we will be happy to assist.

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