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Sport NZ Governance Mark

In line with our strategic priority to build a world-leading system, Sport NZ launched the Governance Mark in 2016 as a way to take a leadership stance in setting governance standards for the play, active recreation and sport sector. Developed in partnership with the sector, it is the only externally accredited governance development programme of its kind internationally with a focus on play, active recreation and sport.

The 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 the Mark include:

  • Recreation Aotearoa December 2017, June 2022
  • NZ Football March 2018
  • 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
  • Bowls New Zealand December 2018
  • NZ Rugby December 2018
  • Sport Canterbury March 2019
  • 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

Gaining the Mark

To gain the Mark, the organisation has been through a process of self-assessment, third-party review, governance development and reassessment. The Mark assesses the organisation's alignment with the Governance Framework for sport and recreation in New Zealand, which covers the key areas of:

  • clarity and cohesion
  • people
  • boardroom processes
  • integrity and accountability.

The Mark award requires complete alignment with the foundation elements of the framework and 80% alignment with the core elements. Based on internationally accepted good governance standards, Nine Steps to Effective Governance, associated templates and significant resources assist Boards to become well-grounded and capable in the face of a rapidly changing world.

What the Mark means

At a minimum organisations displaying the Mark have demonstrated the capabilities set out below. These are the foundation-level requirements of the framework. 

Clarity and Cohesion

  • The board is clear about its strategic role and focuses on the long-term interests of its owners
  • There is an outcomes-based plan in place owned by the board
  • The core legal document is up-to-date and specifies board composition, tenure, and recruitment processes.


  • Board recruitment is undertaken by an appointment panel
  • The board seeks a diverse composition
  • Maximum tenure is specified and honoured
  • The board comprises a minimum of 40% self-identified women.

Boardroom processes

  • The board's role is agreed and documented
  • Delegations to the chief executive are clear, understood and adhered to
  • The chief executive's performance is based on the achievement of outcomes
  • There is a formal performance agreement in place for the chief executive
  • Meetings are led well by the chair
  • The board meets with sufficient regularity. 

Integrity and accountability

  • Directors understand their duties and obligations
  • There is a collective agreement on the standard at which the board should operate
  • The board has a culture of accountability
  • Board and management policies cover all the necessary areas of ethics
  • There is a conflicts-of-interest policy that is adhered to
  • The board is confident it is fulfilling its legislative and policy obligations
  • The chief executive reports against the statement of strategic direction
  • The board has strong financial literacy
  • The organisation has an ongoing programme of risk identification and receives a register at every meeting. 

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