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About the programme
Our Graduate Programme aims to support the leadership development of talented individuals who aspire to work within the play, active recreation and sport sector.

It is a unique opportunity that enables graduates to identify and develop areas for personal and professional growth, gain valuable work experience, contribute to a diverse range of projects, and build professional relationships whilst working alongside leaders in the sector.

The Sport NZ Graduate Programme is informed by the Mana Taiohi principles; a bi-cultural framework for positive youth development created by Ara Taiohi, the peak body for youth development in Aotearoa. Sport NZ is taking this strengths-based approach to ensure the graduate programme is mana enhancing and that it supports the personal wellbeing, as well as professional development, of those on the programme.

More information the Mana Taiohi principles, and Sport NZ’s partnership with Ara Taiohi can be found here.

Mana Taiohi graphic

Sport NZ recognises the mana that graduates bring to the programme through: 

Mauri – Their life spark, values, beliefs, skills and talents  

Whakapapa – Their histories, genealogies, culture and heritage 

Hononga – Their connections to people, land/whenua, spirituality and the digital world 

Te Ao – Their world, influenced by social and economic contexts and dominant cultural values 


Sport NZ supports and enhances the mana of graduates through: 

Whanaungatanga – Taking the time to build and sustain authentic relationships 

Manaakitanga – Acting with kindness, ensuring a welcoming environment that supports wellbeing 

Whai Wāhitanga – Providing opportunities for graduates to actively contribute and assume agency 

Mātauranga – Providing access to rich and diverse information that is useful and timely 

The Core Principles of the Graduate Programme


  1. Developing Leaders - Recognising and enhancing Mana
    Sport NZ recognises the existing leadership experiences of graduates and empowers them to continue to develop their skills and confidence.

  2. Graduate Led Experience – Recognising Mauri, Mātauranga and Whai Wāhitanga
    The graduate programme is based on the needs, passions and ambitions of the individual. Graduates are supported to make informed decisions relating to their personal and professional development.

  3. Creating Pathways – Recognising Hononga and Whanaungatanga
    Graduates are supported to explore their options, make lasting connections and expand their networks.

  4. Supporting a Future Focused Workforce – Recognising Whakapapa, Te Ao and Manaakitanga
    By understanding the current sector (and the cultural, social and economic factors that influence it) graduates will develop the tools to positively contribute to, challenge and innovate within the physical activity sector to support the future collective wellbeing of those living in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Past and Present Graduates

Our graduates are a group of diverse individuals who have had their own unique experience on the Graduate Programme. Click on their profiles below to read about their experience, and where they are now!

2021 - 2022
2020 - 2021
2019 - 2020
2018 - 2019
2017 - 2018
2016 - 2017
2015 - 2016
2014 - 2015
2013 - 2014

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