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Sport NZ's Governance Evaluation Programmes

Sport NZ's Governance Evaluation Programmes

Sport NZ’s governance evaluation and development programmes recognise good governance practices in sports organisations.

Organisations that choose to undertake the evaluation programmes will align with Sport NZ’s good-practice governance framework for play, active recreation, and sport organisations in New Zealand.

They are useful programmes to help Boards identify their governance-development needs and put in place Development Plans to enhance their governance capabilities. It is particularly useful at certain stages in the life of a Board – for example, it is helpful for a newly appointed Chair in reviewing and resetting the standard of governance in their organisation and the way their Board operates.

A key aim is to help good governance become sustainable beyond key individuals on a Board, so that good governance is enduring in play, active recreation, and sport organisations over time.

Redevelopment of the Governance Evaluation and Development Programme

We have learned much from the initial launch of Governance Mark. We know what challenges Boards and have a deeper understanding of the elements of good governance relevant to the play, active recreation and sport sector.

Using feedback from those who have been through Governance Mark, input from our facilitator team, and advice from our external advisers, we have revised the Governance Mark process. We have moved on from taking a lengthy, audit-based approach to governance to using a more nuanced and principles-based development approach, with a wider range of assessments.

Sport NZ now offers four programme options:

  1. The Accreditation Programme: For organisations that wish to undergo comprehensive assessments with all 37 good governance standards and implement development plans that lead to the awarding of Governance Mark.
  2. The Mid Term Evaluation Programme: For organisations that have previously been awarded Governance Mark and wish to check that they are on track for renewal. It includes assessments against the 18 foundational or essential standards of good governance, and the preparation of development plans, which prepare organisations for their next full Accreditation Programme Evaluation.
  3. The Foundational Development Programme: For organisations that have not been through the Governance Mark Programme and wish to have an initial assessment against the 18 foundational standards of good governance. They receive help preparing their development plans to enhance their governance capabilities.
  4. The Individual Director Development Programme: This is run separately from, or alongside, the above programmes. It is a useful programme for Board members to identify their development needs and where they add value to their Boards and organisations and develop their longer-term governance career aspirations.

Governance Mark

Governance Mark indicates an organisation is clear about how it intends to use time and money. The Board has a considered process for strategy development and an ongoing regime for monitoring efficacy of that strategy. Accountability to stakeholders is delivered through a planned programme of communication. The business of the organisation is conducted within a clear ethical framework. The Board understands the strategic nature of its role. Meeting processes mean that time is well spent, and the agenda is primarily future-focussed.

The organisations that have been awarded Governance Mark include:

  • Recreation Aotearoa December 2017, June 2022
  • NZ Football March 2018, June 2024
  • Athletics NZ July 2018
  • NZ Pony Clubs July 2018
  • Sport NZ October 2018
  • Cricket Wellington December 2018, October 2022
  • Sport Northland December 2018, October 2023
  • Aktive - Auckland Sport & Recreation December 2018, February 2024
  • Bowls New Zealand December 2018
  • NZ Rugby December 2018
  • Sport Canterbury West Coast March 2019, February 2024
  • Hockey New Zealand December 2019
  • Yachting NZ July 2021
  • Sport Hawkes Bay August 2021
  • Swimming New Zealand September 2021
  • Special Olympics New Zealand February 2022
  • Badminton New Zealand April 2022
  • Paralympics NZ October 2022
  • Harbour Sport July 2022
  • Netball NZ February 2023
  • Sport Auckland May 2024
  • Sport Waitātere May 2024

Governance Evaluation Standards

The Governance Evaluation Standards are organised into four sections based on internationally accepted good governance standards, Nine Steps to Effective Governance:

  • Clarity and Cohesion
  • People
  • Inside the Boardroom
  • Integrity and Accountability.

Within these four sections, there are now 37 standards (previously 70) that form the basis of the Lead Facilitator’s evaluation. These comprise:

  • 18 foundational standards. These are mandatory and must all be achieved.
  • 19 core standards: 16 of the 19 standards need to be achieved for Governance Mark to be awarded.

Principles of Good Governance and the Standards

Governance is a human process. It needs groups of people with diverse views, but there must be anchor points or the groups will drift without focus. Having all the necessary documents, policies, and artefacts of governance in place isn’t enough to drive good governance. Ultimately it is how all the pieces work together and how the people work as a team that define a good Board.

The following principles may not pick up every aspect of governance, but they are solid starting points. We believe that if these five areas of focus are active within an organisation, there is a reasonable chance that the Board is on the right track. If not, they form a useful basis for development. The five principles are summarised as:

  • Being focused
  • Being clear about roles
  • Being the right team
  • Being intentional
  • Being better

Find out more

If your organisation is interested in the Governance Evaluation Programme, please contact your Sport NZ Partnerships Manager. Otherwise, email

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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