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Sophie Parker

Sophie Parker

Sophie Parker

Graduate Programme 2019-2020 

Kia ora, my name is Sophie Parker, and I completed the Sport NZ Graduate Programme in 2019-2020. I have always had an interest in sport and active recreation and, growing up in New Zealand, I have been involved in a number of sports and activities. Prior to the Programme, I studied a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation at AUT (majoring in Management and Physical Activity and Nutrition), before completing a Master of Business with Honours (specialising in Sport Leadership and Management).

I applied for the Sport NZ Graduate Programme because it provided me with a unique opportunity to learn about the New Zealand play, active recreation and sport system with the support and guidance of system

leaders. Highlights from my time on the programme include my involvement in the implementation of the Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation Strategy where I lead the organisation’s annual diversity audit and supported both the Young Women’s Activation Fund and Innovations for Young Women Fund, as well as writing best practice case studies.

In my second year of the programme, I was based at Wellington City Council as a member of the Community Partnerships Team, working with external groups and organisations to develop and deliver initiatives to get more people in Wellington active. While on placement, I developed a detailed understanding of how local government works and the cross-over between the Council and the play, active recreation and sport system. I then returned home to Auckland and was based at New Zealand Cricket as a member of the Network & Participation Team, working with cricket associations across the country to deliver quality experiences in community cricket. While I was there, I had the opportunity to be mentored by cricket legend, Martin Snedden, and support the organisations ‘Women in Cricket Governance Project.’

The year after my graduate programme concluded, I worked as the HERA - Everyday Goddess® Advisor at Aktive – Auckland Sport & Recreation, focusing on young women and girls aged 10-18 years. This was a fun role supporting individuals and organisations across the play, active recreation and sport system to empower girls to be active for life!

I have since decided to ‘switch things up’, having taken a role with the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment in the New Zealand Major Events team as an Advisor in January 2022. I oversee a portfolio of events, managing event investments over their full lifecycle, and work closely with stakeholders to deliver Major Events Fund strategic outcomes. I have had the pleasure of supporting Events such as the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 (playing in 2022) and the New Zealand Open 2023 and 2024.

There is no requirement for you to know what you want to do within the wider sport system when applying for the Graduate Programme. So why not use this opportunity to learn more about our sector and where your interests lie?

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