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Core programme launched for 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport

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Ka puta Matariki, ka rere Whānui. Ko te tohu tēnā o te tau e!

The stars re-appear to take flight. Matariki brings good fortune, positive change and prosperity through new beginnings.

Women in Sport Aotearoa, Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa (WISPA) is delighted to launch the core programme for the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport, timed to celebrate the reappearance of the kāhui whetū (star cluster), Matariki, this month.

WISPA has also announced an “Inspire Showcase”, a free 1-hour test event, designed for participants planning to join the IWG World Conference virtually. 


Over 220+ sessions and almost 500 international speakers have today been confirmed for the world’s largest gathering to advance gender equity and equality in sport and physical activity, taking place in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and Online, from Monday 14 to Thursday 17 November 2022. Several major international speakers will also be announced before the Earlybird deadline, 31 July 2022.

Presenters confirmed today come from some of the world’s most influential sport and physical activity organisations, plus advocacy groups, governments, business, media and academia. Examples include:

  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) – global
  • FIFA / the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup – global
  • The Council of Europe – Europe
  • Billie Jean King’s Women’s Sport Foundation – North America
  • The UNESCO Global Observatory for Gender Equality in Sport – global
  • Women in Sport India – Asia 
  • The International Wheelchair Rugby Federation – global
  • Juntendo University / Japanese Center for Research on Women in Sport – Asia
  • Conférence des ministres de la jeunesse et des sports de la Francophonie (CONFEJES) – Conference of Ministers of Youth and Sports of the Francophonie – Africa
  • The Center for Sport, Peace, and Society at the University of Tennessee – North America

Several of brightest leaders from Aotearoa New Zealand and APAC have also been confirmed, including:

  • Sport New Zealand, Ihi Aotearoa
  • The Australian Institute Of Sport
  • The Oceania Football Confederation
  • Netball New Zealand
  • The University of Otago
  • Women Sport Australia
  • New Zealand Cricket
  • High Performance Sport New Zealand
  • The Shift Foundation
  • The Oceania Hockey Federation

Over 1,200+ international participants are expected to attend the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport in person, with hundreds joining virtually via a world class conferencing system.

With the event dovetailing into the women’s Rugby World Cup, Aotearoa New Zealand will be the epicentre of women’s sport globally throughout November. World Rugby itself has committed a large delegation to the IWG World Conference, after agreeing a strategic relationship with WISPA.

Today’s announcement has been timed to celebrate the reappearance of the kāhui whetū (star cluster), Matariki, this month. Also known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters, this kāhui whetū is known the world over, and each whetū holds special meaning in Māori culture. Each of the five conference themes has been aligned to a Matariki whetū:

  • Leadership | Whetū – Matariki, the Mother of all Stars | Empowering women to lead systems change.
  • Social Change | Whetū – Ururangi, the Winds of the Sky | Championing social movements and experiences.
  • Active Lives | Whetū – Waipunarangi, the Rains of Change | Enabling the enjoyment of active lives.
  • High Performance | Whetū – Hiwa-i-te-rangi, the Promise of Prosperity | Supporting women to excel at the highest global levels.
  • Visibility and Voice | Whetū – Tipuārangi, The Successful Harvest | Growing the value and influence of women and girls.

Raewyn Lovett ONZM, Co-Chair of the International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport said:

“For centuries, people have navigated by the stars. Navigation through our core programme has been designed using the kāhui whetū Matariki as a framework, after this was gifted to us by our rōpū, He Wāhine Toa Kei Te Kokiri – Strong Women Making a Move.

In Māori culture, the reappearance of Matariki heralds new beginnings and is a predictor of good fortune, positive change and prosperity. To launch our core programme today just as Matariki is re-appearing seems almost prophetic, as the world emerges from COVID-19. Now is the time to come together to drive true equity for women and girls in global sport and physical activity.”

The core programme can now be viewed on the IWG Conference Hub.

To find out how Matariki has shaped the event, visit the Your Experience page on the IWG Conference Hub.

>> Join the free “Inspire Showcase” virtually on Tuesday 12 July 2022 – NZT:

Registrations will open shortly for a free 1-hour test event, designed for participants planning to join the IWG World Conference virtually this November. Experience the online platform LIVE IN ACTION!

Three 8-minute insights will be delivered live, followed by inspiring conversations in the online networking rooms. Learn to navigate the platform. Test the interactive tools. Join the chats. Gain a sense of the programme being planned, and how participants will be able to engage virtually.

  • Dr. Farah Palmer (Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto), one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most successful rugby players. Now an esteemed academic at Massey University, and Deputy Chair of New Zealand Rugby, Dr. Palmer will discuss the use of indigenous culture by sporting organisations.
  • Dr Diane Culver. An associate professor at the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa, Dr Culver is a renowned expert in social learning theory. She will discuss how social learning will aid personal and professional development during the IWG World Conference.
  • Robyn Cockburn. A consultant researcher, strategist, facilitator and educator with 25 years’ experience globally and in Aotearoa New Zealand, Ms Cockburn will give an overview of the IWG World Conference design principles and will explain what to expect, both in person and online.

Registrations will open in mid-June. 

Pauline Harrison, Chair of the IWG Programming Team, said:

The IWG World Conference on Women & Sport typically attracts a wide range of women and men from around the world, from Board Directors and CEOs, through to delivery agents, administrators and volunteers. 

The variety of content programmed will allow participants to navigate an individualised experience, choosing sessions and collaborative opportunities that best suit their personal and professional development needs.

We’re thrilled to be able to offer a hybrid event for the first time in IWG history, enabling access to the event for an even wider range of participants from around the world. Attending the Inspire Showcase will give people a fantastic idea of what to expect when they join us in November.”

Find out more and register as an Individual, Group or Delegation now:

Visit the Group Delegation Hub to find out more about packages and discounts:

Earlybird closes Sunday 31 July 2022 NZT

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