The Women in Sport Aotearoa Board currently has the following members:


Julie Paterson, Co-Chair & Co-Founder
Chief Executive, Tennis New Zealand

Foundation Member, Women in Sport Aotearoa

(full voting member) 

Julie is co-founder and co-chair of Women in Sport Aotearoa, finding the spark of inspiration when participating in the espnW Global Sports Mentoring Programme in the USA in 2015. Currently CEO of Tennis New Zealand, Julie has had an extensive career as a sports administrator and is one of just a handful of women leading a National Sports Organisation in Aotearoa. She was CEO of Netball South and the Southern Steel before moving to Auckland to lead Netball Northern and the Northern Mystics for five years; guiding the transition from a trans-Tasman netball competition to the domestic ANZ Premiership. In 2019, Julie was appointed to the Gender Equality sub-Committee for the International Tennis Federation. She is a vital and prominent voice of advocacy for women and girls.

Sarah Leberman MNZM, Co-Chair & Co-Founder
Professor, Massey University

Foundation Member, Women in Sport Aotearoa

(full voting member)

Sarah is co-founder and co-chair of Women in Sport Aotearoa. She has been involved in sport all her life, both on and off the field. She is a leader in the field of sport management, helping to establish Massey University’s academic programme, and has had tremendous influence through her research into women and leadership in sport and academia. An advocate for facilitating opportunities for girls and women in sport at all levels, Sarah was recognised as NEXT magazine’s women of the year (sport) in 2018 and was a finalist in the 2016 Westpac ’Women of Influence’ awards in the diversity category. With previous board experience at Volleyball New Zealand, Western Netball and Hockey Manawatu, Sarah has also been ‘hands-on’ at the highest level as manager of the Black Sticks women’s hockey team. She was elected to the Massey University Council for a 4-year term, 2020-2024, and in 2020, Sarah was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for her services to women, sport and tertiary education.

Louisa Wall MP

Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Waikato, Ngāti Hineuru Nga iwi

Former Black Fern Rugby

Former Silver Fern Netball 

Member of Parliament, NZ Labour Party

Foundation Member, Women in Sport Aotearoa

(full voting member)

Louisa became a Silver Fern at the age of 17, and played from 1989 to 1992; she switched codes in 1994 and became a Black Fern and was a member of the 1998 Rugby World Cup winning Team having been named New Zealand’s women’s player of the year in 1997. Louisa is a board member of the Northern Stars Netball Franchise and has held this role since the team was created in 2017. She has been a Member of Parliament since 2008 and currently Co-Captains the Parliament Parli-Ferns netball team. Louisa was the driving force behind one of the most significant pieces of legislation in recent years with the passing of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013 which, since 19 August 2013, allows same-sex couples to legally marry. She is a global leader and advocate for equality, diversity and universal human rights and is the Co-Founder of the Cross-Party Parliamentary Rainbow Caucus and is a member of the Global LGBTIQ+ Equality Caucus and the NZ Lead of the Asia Pacific TB Caucus. During the 52nd Parliament, Louisa was the Chair of the Health Select Committee, and member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee; Co-Chair of the NZ Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians; Deputy Chair of The New Zealand branch of The Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) and Labour representative on the cross-party Mental Health and Addiction Wellbeing Group.

Pauline Harrison
Specialist in executive coaching, strategy and leadership development

Foundation Member, Women in Sport Aotearoa

(full voting member)

A champion of change for many years, Pauline is a specialist in executive coaching, strategy and leadership development. Formerly Chief Executive of England Netball, Pauline is now leading the global push for more female coaches in high performance sport through the International Council for Coaching Excellence and also heads the Women’s Sport Leadership Academy programme, dedicated to developing tomorrow’s leaders of sport. She recently guided the second intake of retired New Zealand female Olympians through the programme, connecting them to a global network of over 350 graduates from 60 countries. Pauline is also the co-founder of Females Achieving Brilliance (FAB) in the UK, inspiring and empowering women to be great leaders. In 2019, she became Chair of IWG Steering Committee for the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport, which is taking place in Aotearoa New Zealand and online in May 2022. 

James Gibson
Chief Executive, Blake

(full voting member)

As Chief Executive at Blake, formerly known as the Sir Peter Blake Trust, James leads a team tasked with delivering programmes and experiences in the name of one of our greatest New Zealanders. In his previous role as Sport NZ’s GM of Partnerships and Communications, James led work around women in sport as well as managing relationships with the sport sector. He has held senior roles at Air New Zealand where he developed successful partnerships with the Department of Conservation, Antarctica NZ and the Air New Zealand Queenstown Marathon, as well as managing the relationship with New Zealand Rugby and several of our leading athletes. James has a keen interest in conservation.

Nicki Nicol
Chief Transformation Officer, New Zealand Rugby (NZR)

(full voting member)

From joining NZR in early 2017 as the Chief Financial Officer, Nicki’s role has expanded to reflect a wider organisational focus in the CTO role. This role seeks to ensure NZR has the right people, capability, tools and frameworks to support the growth and development of Rugby in NZ. Nicki also has the privilege of leading the implementation of the Respect & Responsibility Review findings from 2017, which seeks to create a more respectful and inclusive culture across all of Rugby in NZ. Nicki returned to Wellington in 2017 after a long tenure in senior executive roles at BP, working in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. With a strong financial background, a qualified Chartered Accountant, Nicki also has extensive experience leading strategic, sales and marketing portfolios.

Martin Snedden CNZM
Chairperson, New Zealand Cricket (NZC)
Former Black Cap Cricket player

(full voting member)

Martin is a current NZC board member and ‘One Cricket’ project leader, a project which encompasses NZC’s ‘Women in Cricket Governance’ initiative. Martin was a New Zealand men’s cricket team representative through the 1980s and has been, at various times, CEO of NZC, Rugby New Zealand 2011 (which delivered Rugby World Cup 2011), Tourism Industry Association NZ and Duco Events as well as co-leading the creation of Tourism 2025 (an industry-wide strategic framework for the NZ tourism sector) and Destination Auckland 2025 (a destination management framework for the Auckland region). 

Erin Roxburgh-Makea
Ngāti Porou

Ph.D Student, Victoria University

Board Member, Oceania Handball Federation

Head of Competitions, Oceania Handball Federation

Recent Board Member, NZ Handball Federation

Captain, New Zealand Handball Team

(full voting member)

Erin (Ngāti Porou) is currently in her second year of a scholarship at Victoria University, undertaking a Ph.D looking at Governance in Māori organisations. Prior to this, she has worked as a Policy Analyst at the Ministry of Education; Business Development Manager at Wellington Sports Medicine and Willis Street Physiotherapy; and as a summer intern and Research Analyst at the New Zealand Treasury. She recently finished a four-year term 2016 – 2020 on the board of the New Zealand Handball Federation (NZHF) with a volunteer operational role managing social media for two years before taking over as head of New Zealand Beach Handball. She has now stepped up onto the board of the Oceania Handball Federation and has taken a volunteer operational role as Head of Competitions. Prior to these roles she was also a member of the Wellington Handball Committee, and the “Team Vic” Netball Committee. Erin is a very committed and passionate volunteer, as demonstrated by her receipt of a Victoria Plus Leadership award from Victoria University for services to the community. She is a keen sportswoman and is currently Captain of the NZ Women’s Beach Handball Team, a member of the NZ Women’s Handball Team and also plays premiership Netball in Wellington.

Tim Corbett
Chief Executive, Sir John Kirwan Foundation

(full voting member)

Tim is a highly experienced and passionate professional with a diverse and rich background in creating impact and change on a neighbourhood, national and international level. He has a strong background and experience in both the social and commercial development of sport. He is able to work ‘end to end’ from strategy to execution with a skill set that reaches from digital to innovation to leadership with a strong focus on engagement and customer experience. Prior to his current role, Tim held a wide and varied set of positions in conservation, healthcare and education regularly working closely with and learning from, Maori organisations. When asked, Tim describes himself as “a holistic ‘3D thinker’ comfortable working across cultures, industry sectors and from community level across to Board level”.

Kelly Evans
Managing Director, Cultivate Group
NZ Rugby Players Association Accredited Rugby Agent

(non-voting associate member)

Kelly founded Cultivate Group in 2012. Since then, she has been working to drive positive change around the way women in sport are valued and visible. Kelly was the first New Zealand female accredited rugby agent and manages advocacy and welfare; contract negotiation; commercial partnerships; strategic career planning; and more for the athletes on her roster. After years navigating the challenges and perceptions that come with working in a male dominated industry, she is now a passionate advocate for the equal rights of women when it comes to participating, competing or building careers in sport and recreation. She also has a strong interest in helping communities under-represented in sport, particularly Māori, Pasifika and Muslim women. Prior to Cultivate, she was High Performance Manager at Massey University.

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