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A Milestone Week at the Sports Leadership Programme

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The Pacific Women’s Sports Leadership Programme has successfully wrapped up its inaugural week, marking a significant milestone in fostering leadership and community engagement amongst Pacific sportswomen. This joint endeavour, initiated by Women in Sport Aotearoa Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa and Pasifika SiS, is bolstered by the support of the U.S. Department of State and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“We’re so honoured to support outstanding Pacific sportswomen to grow their leadership skills and uplift their families and wider communities. This program is modelled off our U.S. Department of State esPN Global Sport Mentoring Program. It’s wonderful to be able to partner with WISPA to bring this to the Pacific region,” stated U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, and Samoa.  

Louisa Wall, Aotearoa New Zealand’s Ambassador for Gender Equality (Pacific)/Tuia Tangata, added, “Aotearoa New Zealand is proud to support a development programme focused on diversity — and opportunities promoting gender equity and cross-cultural learning — specific to sports, and sports leadership. We look forward to seeing the positive impacts of this initiative on participants’ communities, their home countries, and the wider Pacific region.”

Targeted at developing the leadership capacities of ten selected Pacific sportswomen, the programme is designed to empower them to spearhead progressive changes in their communities and families. The initiative, inspired by the U.S. Department of State esPN Global Sport Mentoring Program, is meticulously tailored to meet the distinctive needs of the Pacific region.

Moving forward, the participants have been collaborating with several host organisations: Sport New Zealand, High Performance Sport New Zealand, Tennis NZ, NZ Rugby, Harbour Sport, Sport Waitakere, and the Warriors Community Foundation. These collaborations are envisioned to provide intensive mentorship and the necessary resources, facilitating the creation of actionable and impactful plans for their respective communities.

The initial week was packed with a series of comprehensive workshops aimed at nurturing the participants’ leadership skills, entrenched in their personal values and strengths. A range of sport and leadership experts, including Dr. Sarah Leberman, co-founder of WISPA, guided the participants through a gamut of vital concepts that are essential for personal and professional growth.

Adding depth to the programme were sessions facilitated by alumni from the Global Women’s Mentoring Program. These sessions, featuring the likes of Melodie Robinson, Julie Paterson, Fran McEwen, Katie Owen, and Vania Lavea Wolfgramm of NZ Rugby, along with the Pasifika SiS team, imparted practical insights and strategies for community building and effective sports leadership.

A pivotal segment of the week was led by Candice Apelu Mariner and Fila Fuamatu from Pasifika SiS, Sisters in Sport. Focused on the Tapa framework and leadership philosophies intrinsic to Pasifika cultures, the session offered the participants a fresh perspective on leadership and community engagement.

Karla Matua, who serves as AKTIVE’s Kaiwhakahaere, He Oranga Poutama, hosted a vital segment highlighting the harmony between innovation in sports and the preservation of cultural values, aiming to cultivate traditions that remain vibrant and meaningful in the sports domain.

Moreover, a workshop spearheaded by Arizona Leger became a focal point, emphasising the critical role of social media platforms in articulating unique Pacific narratives. Participants were urged to embrace these platforms to narrate their distinct stories and initiatives, fostering a robust digital presence and community network.

As the programme gears up for its concluding week, participants are fully engaged in formulating strategies they aspire to implement in their communities. Stay tuned to witness the unveiling of these innovative plans in the coming week.

IWG 2018-2022

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