window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'G-HR5P9HS5VG');

Applications Open for Young Women’s Leadership Programme

Share this article

Whanake o te Kōpara is now in its third year, and we invite applications from young women aged 18-25 from all over the motu (country). 

  • Applications for Whanake o te Kōpara are now open until Wednesday, 26 April 2023.
  • Delivered in partnership with Women in Sport Aotearoa and The Shift Foundation.
  • The programme will run for five months, between May and September.

Today, we have opened applications for our third young women’s leadership programme intake. Women in Sport Aotearoa is delighted to partner with The Shift Foundation again this year to deliver this critical kaupapa which has seen past participants step into leadership within their organisations and make a tangible difference in their local communities. 

Whanake o te Kōpara launched in 2021 and was informed by an identified gap (at the time) in leadership opportunities for young women, particularly in the sport, active recreation and wellbeing sectors. The programme was designed to address this gap, offering a safe and empowering environment for the participants to begin and build their leadership journey while strengthening their confidence, values and self-belief.

This year we intend to select up to 20 participants, especially those living outside the main centres, with often fewer programmes. The programme begins online in late May, followed by three kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) weekend wānanga in June (Wellington), July (Christchurch) and September (Wellington), and interspersed with digital hui.

WISPA’s Acting CEO, Nicky van den Bos said: “We encourage mentors and leaders to actively support the young women coming through their organisations or within their communities to apply. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to them, whether through a financial contribution towards their participation or assisting their application process.  

The programme is uniquely co-designed by participants, and we have seen many form lifelong friendships and step into leadership opportunities over the past two years. In 2023, we are excited to see more of these connections and opportunities to grow with a new cohort.”

Fran McEwen, Whanake o te Kōpara Lead / The Shift Foundation, said: “We are super excited about meeting the next rōpū of young leaders! The last two years have shown us the impact that creating a safe environment for young women to grow and learn can have on their personal development. Their personal stories of change post programme are inspirational and continue to drive our why!” 

But don’t just take it from us. The feedback from past participants is the proof in the pudding.

Hazel Yu (2022 Participant) said: “The programme has taught me so much more than what I would’ve learnt at school or university. It has taught me so much about myself and how others work. I don’t think I’ve ever felt comfortable speaking in front of a group of around 25 people before.

My leadership experience, for me, has always been observing how others lead and figuring out the type of leadership I would want to exercise if I ever got the opportunity to in the future. I’ve noticed in the past that popularity (eg. in terms of getting others to vote you into the role because you’re pretty or outgoing), natural ability to lead and others using their leadership position to look down on people and think they’re better than anyone else who aren’t in their position, were qualities I found that summarised my observations of leadership in the past.

Admittedly because that was my worldview on leadership, I was scared on going on this leadership programme because generally leadership programmes were, I thought, only for existing leaders only.

I’m glad all the perceptions and worldviews I had were challenged and if I’d give you a key takeaway, it would be that “Everyone can be a leader; there are both loud and quiet leaders”.

Applications close on Wednesday, 26 April 2023. 

For more information and to apply, click here.

IWG 2018-2022

Find out about our leadership work on the global stage

Insight Hub

Gain real insights to help you make a case for change


Catch-up on the latest from our partners at LockerRoom


Read about our work to influence gender equity in sport