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Our Graduate Programme

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.

The Sport NZ Graduate Programme is a paid, two-year fixed-term opportunity, initially based at the Sport NZ Wellington office before moving into two sector placements in year two. The successful graduates begin their full-time programme with Sport NZ in mid-late January; the year following their recruitment.

Year 1

Graduates select a mentor within Sport NZ, and spend the year immersed in mahi across various Sport NZ teams. With guidance from their mentor, graduates will build their knowledge and understanding of the current play, active recreation and sport system as well as identity areas of interest and priorities for their development.

In year 1, graduates can expect to:

  • Develop a personalised work plan alongside their mentor, identifying future goals and areas for professional development.
  • Work on a variety of Sport NZ projects and initiatives, with opportunities to provide meaningful contributions.
  • Take part in leadership opportunities throughout the year. (E.g. as project lead, facilitating and directing working groups, presenting at public speaking opportunities, attending professional development opportunities.)
  • Attend Sport NZ led hui and sector-facing events to build networks and connections across the sector.
  • Select placement opportunities for year 2, with support from their mentor and other Sport NZ staff.
  • Have one on one sessions with their dedicated GET mentor

Year 2

Graduates have opportunities to take part in two different placements, at organisations within sector. These may be National Sport Organisations, Regionals Sports Trusts, Māori He Oranga Poutama Partners, local council or Iwi Authority, or any other organisation that contributes to broader physical activity outcomes in Aotearoa New Zealand. These placements are chosen by the graduate and may be based on the graduate’s year 1 experiences, with the aim to further explore areas of interest and opportunities for professional development. Graduates remain connected to their Sport NZ mentors throughout their placements, with ongoing guidance and support.

In year 2, graduates can expect to:

  • Take part in two placements of their choosing, either within Sport NZ partner organisations, or organisations within the broader physical activity sector.
  • Continue regular check-ins with their mentors to ensure the mahi on their placements is aligned to their personalised work plan.
  • Stay connected to Sport NZ through attending Sport led hui and sector facing events

The Core Principles of the Graduate Programme


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

  2. Graduate Led Experience
    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
    Graduates are supported to explore their options, make lasting connections and expand their networks.

  4. Supporting a Future Focused Workforce
    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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