Meet the Captains!

The following Athletes, Coaches, Leaders & Allies have agreed to “Captain” tables in 2021:

Raelene Castle ONZM (Ngapuhi), Chief Executive Officer, Sport New Zealand

Raelene is the Chief Executive of Sport New Zealand. She joined the organisation in December 2020 after seven years working in Australia as Chief Executive of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and then Chief Executive of Rugby Australia. She was previously Chief Executive of Netball New Zealand from 2007 to 2013.

Duane Kale ONZM, Vice President, International Paralympic Committee (IPC)

In 2017, Duane was elected Vice President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). New Zealand’s most successful Paralympic athlete, a six-time Paralympic medalist. Duane’s leadership roles in Para sport, included Swim Team Manager in Team Manager in Sydney 2000 and PNZ Board Member. He was PNZ Chairman between 2008-10, before stepping down to take the Chef de Mission for both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympics.

Andrea Nelson, Chief Executive, 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup

Andrea has an extensive track record of overseeing complex projects in New Zealand and abroad. In June 2019, she took up the mantle of Chief Executive with the newly created local organising committee of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022. Taking place across six host cities – Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin – between February and March 2022, this tournament is expected to be the biggest yet, with 180m+ global viewers.

Claire Beard, Chief Executive, Triathlon New Zealand

Claire became Chief Executive in April 2017. She leads and enables the delivery of triathlon in Aotearoa New Zealand and is one of very few female leaders of a National Sporting Organisation (NSO). Prior to her tenure, the sport had gone through a difficult period. Claire has been instrumental in leading it back to a position of both performance and financial success, including a bronze medal at the recent Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the first medal in over 10 years. 

David White, Chief Executive, New Zealand Cricket – host to the 2021 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup

Chief Executive since 2012, David has overseen one of the largest growth and change periods in NZC history. Many will remember the independent Women & Cricket Report in 2016. It showed that women had “virtually no voice in governance or leadership of the game”. Fast forward three years, and NZ Cricket is now leading the way for equity. In 2019, NZC announced a landmark agreement with the White Ferns and female players, taking the women’s game professional.

Fiona Allan, Chief Executive, Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ)

Fiona has a 16-year plus career in Government and Sport. Since October 2007, she has worked to steadily develop the Paralympic Movement in New Zealand and is a passionate advocate for Para sport, from a grassroots level, up the pathway to the Paralympic Games. She works on the international stage to represent New Zealand at the highest level, as a member of the Global Executive the International Working Group on Women & Sport and the Olympic Broadcast Commission. 

Lara Collins, Chief Executive, Waka Ama New Zealand

Current President of the International Va’a Federation, Lara was appointed CEO of Waka Ama New Zealand in 2012 after a 15-year career in Sport Management at College Sport Auckland. Instrumental in establishing the Waka Ama NZ office and leading the growth of Waka Ama over the past 10 years. Lara is a keen Waka Ama paddler herself and has been involved in the sport for more than 20 years, winning several national and world championship medals in that time.

Jennie Wyllie, Chief Executive, Netball New Zealand

Jennie has just marked 10 years with Netball NZ, starting out as Head of Finance, Strategy & Services before moving to Chief Executive in July 2016. Widely credited as having turned the Silver Ferns’ fortunes around by bringing Coach Noeline Taurua back into the fold, 2019 proved her wisdom – the Silver Ferns won the Netball World Cup for the first time since 2003 and more recently, the Constellation Cup. Netball is the biggest participation sport for girls and women in Aotearoa New Zealand, with 350k+ players. 

Dr. Johanna Wood, President, New Zealand Football and FIFA Council Member for Oceania Football

Johanna became the first female President of NZ Football in April 2018 and in March 2019, became one of only a handful of women currently elected to the 205-strong FIFA Council. In parallel to her 33-year career in education, Johanna developed her governance skills across a number of directorships. She is now overseeing the redevelopment of NZ Football, and was a leader in the successful bid to bring the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to New Zealand and Australia.

Kereyn Smith, Chief Executive and Secretary General, the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC)

Kereyn is amongst one of New Zealand’s most recognisable sports administrators, having led the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games campaigns since 2011. Kereyn was involved in the establishment of the IWG in 1994 and since then, as continued to promote gender equity. In 2015, the NZOC became the first National Olympic Committee (NOC) to win the IOC ‘Women in Sport’ World Trophy. Kereyn is an original Foundation Member of Women in Sport Aotearoa.

Michelle Hooper, Tournament Director, 2021 Rugby World Cup (women’s)

Michelle was appointed Tournament Director of RWC 2022 (women) in early 2020. Taking place in Auckland and Northland in late 2022 after a 1-year postponement from 2021 due to COVID-19, this will be the first-time women’s teams have contested a RWC in the Southern Hemisphere. Michelle has 20 years’ experience in major event delivery. Most recently, she led Team Services planning for the RWC 2019 (men) in Japan and has held leadership positions in global football and triathlon.  

Nick Sautner, Chief Executive, Eden Park

Nick was appointed Chief Executive in November 2017, after 18 months as General Manager – Commercial. Already a showcase venue for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 and the Rugby World Cup 2022 (women’s), it is also the main venue for the 2023 FIFA World Cup. Eden Park is taking a leadership role across the industry, for example driving equality in the venue’s change room design to be gender appropriate and fit for purpose. This will have a significant impact on the experience of the women who perform at the Park. 

Jane Patterson MNZM, Chief Operating Officer, NZ Football

Jane has worked on sports events across Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia and the UK, including a wide range of world championships in netball, BMX, para-swimming and taekwondo and major events including the Ironman Triathlon and the New Zealand Open golf tournament. She was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2016 in recognition of her achievements in service to sport and worked for New Zealand Football as Project Director for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

Simon Kent, Leadership & Performance Coach, Olympic Weightlifting NZ 

Simon is the current high performance director and national coach for Olympic Weightlifting NZ and head coach of Papatoetoe Olympic Weightlifting Club. Simon was high performance director and coach to NZ’s Olympic Weightlifting team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Simon is highly regarded for the work he does in developing leaders of character, and his ability to create high performance cultures. He is a well-known advocate and supporter of gender equity across sport. 

Shelley McMeeken, Chief Executive, Halberg Foundation

Shelley has been a leader in sport for more than 20 years, with positions including Chief Executive of Netball New Zealand and directorships across football and triathlon. In September 2015, she became Chief Executive of the Halberg Foundation, which enhances the lives of physically disabled young people by enabling them to participate in sport and recreation. Shelley works to ensure that disabled teenagers and young girls in Aotearoa have choice and equity of opportunity.

Lynette Grace, Deputy Chef De Mission to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Paralympics NZ

Lynette has a career spanning more than 25 years, including Tournament Director for the iconic Wellington Sevens event, Rugby Sport Manager for the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee and leading the Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Games campaigns. She is a member of the IPC Global Experts Review Panel for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games and in January 2021 was announced as chef de mission for Tokyo 2020. 

Megan Gifford (nee Signal), New Zealand Olympic and Tokyo 2020 hopeful

Born in the Waikato in 1990, Megan didn’t find her chosen sport until 2013. A current record holder, medallist and representative for NZ, Megan has spent the last two years travelling for Tokyo 2020 qualifiers around the world and is aiming for the Games next year. She broke five NZ records and collected three medals at the Apia Pacific Games in 2019. Megan is also a business owner and trainer with a drive to educate others, particularly females, on health and fitness.

Jody Cameron (Ngāpuhi), Assistant Tall Ferns Coach, Basketball New Zealand 

Jody Cameron is of Ngāpuhi decent a former New Zealand Tall Fern Olympian in 2004, born and breed in Whangarei, New Zealand. Currently, Jody is an Assistant Tall Ferns Coach, North Harbour Basketball Women’s Development officer, and is a part of the Sport NZ Coach Accelerator Programme. It is no surprise Jody is working to grow the high performance and grassroots space for females in basketball, as she comes from New Zealand basketball’s most famous families.

Jennah Wootten, Chief Executive, Aktive Auckland

Currently Jennah Wootten has been appointed the new  Chief Executive of Aktive. Prior to this, Jennah served as General Manager Partnerships & Communication with Sport New Zealand, Ms Wootten has held a number of leading sports administration positions, including World Masters Games 2017 CEO and General Manager – Destination at ATEED. She is the Deputy Chair of Auckland Unlimited and a Director of Cricket 2021 Limited (2021 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup).

Sarah Gibbs, Former Football Fern and Board Member, NZ Football – host to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Sarah is a senior corporate and commercial lawyer at Auckland law firm, Hesketh Henry and a former Football Fern. She was recently elected to the Board of NZ Football coinciding with NZ and Australia winning the bid to co-host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, likely to be the largest sporting event ever held in NZ. Sarah is a firm believer in the transformative power and transferable value of sport and a fierce advocate and promoter of gender equity in both sport and society.

Anthony Crummy, Chief Executive, Hockey New Zealand  

Anthony has recently joined Hockey New Zealand as their new Chief Executive. The vastly experienced sports and major events executive was previously New Zealand Cricket’s deputy chief executive as well as holding senior positions in both Cricket World Cup 2015 and Rugby World Cup 2011. Prior to that he held roles in commercial strategy and finance in the private sector, in New Zealand, Australia and UK. Anthony wants to build on the transformative work he drove at NZ Cricket, including the Women and Cricket Review, ensuring hockey leads the way as a truly gender equal sport. 

Megan Compain, Former WNBA Player, New Zealand Tall Fern and 2x Olympian 

Megan is a former New Zealand Tall Fern who competed in the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games, and was the first and only New Zealander to play in the WNBA in their inaugural season. Megan transitioned into the sports marketing industry holding senior global positions at brands such as And1 and Adidas internationally, before returning home in 2010 to spend almost 11 years at New Zealand Rugby, most recently as Head of Commercial Partnerships. 

Emma Gilmour, International Rally Driver

The “fastest female rally driver in the world”, Emma Gilmour made her international debut in 2006, winning a scholarship to compete in Europe. Since then, she has competed in rallying, rally-cross and cross country events all over the world. Emma has many accomplishments to her name, including the first female to achieve a top 3 finish in the FIA Asia-Pacific Championship and winning the prestigious 2015 FIA Women in Motorsport and QMMF Cross Country Selection in Qatar.

Sarah Walker, BMX Olympic silver medallist and IOC Member for New Zealand

Sarah has an elite career spanning the last 15 years. She is an Olympic Silver Medallist and has been on the podium twelve times at World Championship level. Sarah is a mentor to young athletes, an advocate for those in her sport, and sits on the New Zealand Olympic Committee & the International Olympic Committee.

Sarah Cowley Ross, Former Olympian and Chair of NZOC Athletes Commission

Sarah is NZ Olympian 1134 with an international athletics career spanning 15 years, having competed at the London Olympics and two Commonwealth Games in Heptathlon and High Jump. Currently Sarah is the Chair of the NZOC Athletes’ Commission and Board Member of the NZ Olympic Committee and University Tertiary Sport NZ. A passionate advocate for the power of sport, particularly women and girls in sport, Sarah contributes as a columnist for Locker Room and an athletics commentator.

Kirsten Hellier ONZM, OLY

Kirsten Hellier ONZM is a former New Zealand women’s javelin-throwing champion. She represented New Zealand internationally on several occasions, won silver at the Commonwealth Games, and was the first New Zealand woman to throw the javelin 50 metres and 60 metres. She has coached numerous athletes, including Dame Valerie Adams. She coached at Macleans College and Howick College in Auckland and is currently Coach Development Lead at Athletics NZ.

Pam Elgar, Chief Executive, Make a Wish Foundation and Member of the Auckland Restorative Justice Trust

Pam is currently President of Hockey New Zealand and prior to this has spent 11 years as President of Oceania and as an Executive Board Member of the International Hockey Federation (FIH).  She has also served as Deputy Chair for Hockey New Zealand.  Outside of Hockey she is a Foundation member of Women in Sport Aotearoa, Member of the International Relations Network and sits on the Sports Integrity Unit for Gymnastics New Zealand.

Suzanne McFadden, Editor of Lockerroom

Suzanne McFadden is the editor of LockerRoom, a unique news site devoted solely to New Zealand women in sport. She’s been a journalist for 35 years, specialising in sports reporting for most of those. With a number of newspaper and magazine writing awards under her belt, she has also written a book, Striking Gold.  

Joe Hitchcock, Chief Executive, Badminton NZ

Joe is the Chief Executive at Badminton New Zealand and through his eight years in the role has grown the organisation to triple in size as well as securing two successful World Championships event bids through the Badminton World Federation. Joe was the inaugural New Zealand Sport & Recreation Awards Future Leader scholarship winner and has been heavily involved in athlete advocacy through roles in the New Zealand and Canadian sport systems.

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