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Women + Girls Summit: Our Speakers 2019


Introducing our keynote speakers and panellists in attendance on the day. A full programme of the day can be viewed by clicking here

Mihi Whakatau:

Kura Moeahu has strong whakapapa ties to Te Whanganui a Tara, Wellington. His whakapapa connects him to the eight tribes of Taranaki and Ngāti Mutunga. He is a tribal leader for his people, who is passionately involved with his iwi in various governance roles including Chairman of Te Rūnanganui o Te Atiawa, Waiwhetū Marae, Harbour Island Kaitiaki Board, and Waiwhetū Pā Reservation No.4. Kura is the Kaiwhakarite Māori – Senior Cultural Advisor to Parliament and he ensures tikanga Māori is upheld and promoted within Parliamentary services.


Event MC:

Jenny-May Clarkson is our MC and a well-known sports media personality. A former police officer, Jenny-May is better known as a former Silver Fern, Assistant Coach for the Northern Mystics and a 13-year veteran on our television screens. A respected reporter, presenter and sports commentator, Jenny-May has worked at TVNZ, SKY Television and Maori Television throughout her broadcasting career.



Keynote Speakers:


The Hon Grant Robertson opens our Summit with a recap on government action and policy, one year after the ‘Women and Girls In Sport and Active Recreation Government Strategy’ was announced. As Minister of Finance and Minister for Sport and Recreation we are thrilled to have him in attendance.


Peter Miskimmin has a wealth of experience as an athlete, coach and sports leader. Peter was appointed Chief Executive of Sport NZ in 2008 and during his time has led a significant step change in community sport thinking and implementation, as well as overseeing New Zealand’s most successful Olympic Games period (Beijing, London and Rio). Peter has lead the Sport NZ response to the Government’s strategy for Women and Girls in sport and recreation committing more than $10m of new investment across the pillars of Leadership, Participation and Visibility and Value.

Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi Ph.D. is the Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, and a Senior Lecturer in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota. Through her multidisciplinary research she answers critical questions that can make a difference in the lives of sport stakeholders—particularly girls and women. As a leading scholar on gender, leadership and women coaches LaVoi has published numerous book chapters, research reports and peer-reviewed articles across multiple disciplines. As a public scholar she speaks frequently to sport stakeholders, fields media requests, and serves on national advisory boards for Gustavus Women in Leadership, Sports Advocacy Network of the Women’s Sport Foundation, espnW and WeCOACH. LaVoi is also part of the core teaching faculty at the NCAA Women Coaches Academy.

Dr LaVoi will be introduced by Dolores Prin, Country Public Affairs Officer from the U.S Consulate.

Dolores Prin, who joined the Foreign Service as a public diplomacy officer in 2006, and served her first tour in São Paulo, Brazil.  Prior to her current assignment as the head of Public Affairs in New Zealand, she was posted to Gabon and São Tome & Principe, where she managed Public Diplomacy, Environmental, Health, Science, and Economic sections for both countries.  Most recently, she served as the Public Affairs Officer to the U.S. Consulate in Okinawa, working closely with her military counterparts on a range of issues.  She arrived in Wellington on August 23rd to take up the role of Country Public Affairs Officer, overseeing public outreach throughout the country and Samoa, Niue, and the Cook Islands.

Karen Skinner is the Head of Respect and Inclusion at NZ Rugby.  This is a new role, created in 2018, to lead a culture and diversity change program across rugby. Karen is a senior change leader with experience across a range of sectors. Prior to this Karen was a strategy and engagement consultant working with a range of organisations including small technology start ups, NGOs through to listed companies. Prior to this she was the Australian National Director for the online engagement platform She has experience in a range of social change roles and is passionate about community building and strategic stakeholder relations that builds currency and trust.



Panel Discussion: ‘Diversity Matters’


Rhonda Koroheke, General Manager of HR and Diversity & Inclusion at Spark NZ


  • Mary Fisher: Paralympian and Board Member, Paralympics New Zealand
  • Beatrice Faumuinā ONZM OLY: Senior Advisor Pacific Relations: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade 
  • Bailey Peterson: (Ngāi Tahu, Te Arawa), Coordinator, The Shift Foundation, Masterton District Council
  • Ingrid Cronin-Knight: NZ Cricketer, Board Member NZ Cricket and Country Manager MYOB
  • Nida Ahmad: PhD candidate, University of Waikato, Exec. Board member, Muslim Women in Sport Network




Rhonda Koroheke  is General Manager of HR and Diversity & Inclusion at Spark NZ, a role she had held for three years now. In that time she has been instrumental in creating a wider understanding, and acceptance, of the value of having a diverse and inclusive culture across Spark.  She is also a graduate of the Global Women Breakthrough Leaders programme and volunteers as a mentor for the Springboard Trust. Rhonda is of Ngāpuui, Ngāti Maniapoto and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui descent.



Beatrice Faumuinā ONZM OLY needs little introduction as an accomplished Olympian and sportswoman, as well as being appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Beatrice is a former Trade Commissioner and Consul General (New York) for NZ Trade and Enterprise, and is now a Senior Adviser in Pacific Connections for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Beatrice was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year.


Nida Ahmad is a PhD candidate at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. She received her B.A. (2003) in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her M.A. (2013) in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University. Nida is one of the executive members of the Muslim Women in Sport Network, an organization founded to amplify the voices of Muslim women in sport


Ingrid Cronin-Knight is a current Board Member of New Zealand Cricket, a previous White Fern, a founding member of Women in Sport Aotearoa and a previous world champion in Indoor Cricket Masters. She is the Country Manager NZ for MYOB and an advocate for women in technology, having over two decades in the sector. She holds an MBA from Henley Business School and under her leadership her team has been the recipient of two global innovation awards for their work in the technology industry. 


Mary Fisher MNZM has always loved being in and around water. As a nine-year-old she swam her first races at Stokes Valley pool after training with the Upper Hutt Swim Club and taking lessons at Trentham School Pool. Mary was born with low vision and lost the rest during her teens which made many day-to-day activities tricky.  However, swimming stayed a constant. She continued with the competitive side of the sport until the end of 2018 including medalling at two Paralympic Games. She is now on the board of Paralympics NZ and works at the Blind Foundation. Mary believes recreation and sport should be accessible to everyone and that this participation should be accessed with ease and dignity.  She is involved in organising the Ōtaki Summer Camp and enabling accessibility for young people interested in social justice,  environmental issues and discussion. 


Bailey Peterson is of Ngāi Tahu descent and currently works at Masterton District Council. She is also a part of the Shift Foundation team,  where she fulfils her passion for working with young people and empowering them to make decisions, create and make changes for themselves.



Interactive Breakout Sessions

‘Exercising leadership – voice and influence’


Kirikaiahi Mahutariki: Executive Manager – Maori Financial Solutions team ASB Bank, Board member Women In Sport Aotearoa


  • Peter Wardell: NZ Olympic Committee
  • Paris Lokotui: Triple under-17 international
  • Rebecca Dubber: Paralympian and the Halberg Foundation
  • Maddi McLean: Sport NZ Graduate 




Kirikaiahi Mahutariki is eager to drive change so women and girls are valued, visible and influential in sport in Aotearoa New Zealand. Of Te Arawa, Mataatua, Tongareva (Cook Islands) and Tahitian descent, Kirikaiahi is an Executive Manager in the Māori Financial Solutions team at ASB Bank, having joined in 2016 after working in the private sector as a lawyer and tax advisor for 18 years beforehand. Previously a long-time member and chair of the Wellington Rugby League judiciary committee, she currently serves on the boards of Volunteer Service Abroad, VSA Foundation and Women in Sport Aotearoa.  She has previously served on the boards of ServiceIQ and the Charities Registration Board. Kirikaiahi is an alumna of the Global Women’s breakthrough leader’s programme and a founding member of the Advancement of Māori Opportunity, an indigenous values-based leadership programme. 



Peter Wardell brings a significant background in agriculture, share broking and investment trading, having been a National Partner for Forsyth Barr since 1998. With three adult children, one an Olympian and Commonwealth games athlete, Peter is a trustee for the NZ Spinal Trust, Rangi Ruru Foundation and Lincoln University Council. Peter has worked on the Winter Games NZ, and as Chef de Mission for the Youth Winter Olympics, Youth Commonwealth Games, World University Games and Winter Chef de Mission for the New Zealand Olympic Council for Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018.


Paris Lokotui is enjoying a remarkable start to her sporting career, competing as a triple international recently in the New Zealand under-16 water polo, New Zealand under-17 basketball and Aotearoa Māori netball teams. Paris is of Ngāi Tahu, Ngati Kuri, Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri, and Tongan descent.


Rebecca Dubber is a New Zealand Paralympian who represented New Zealand and the London 2012, and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. At the Rio games, she won New Zealand’s first medal in the pool, a bronze medal in the women’s s7 100m backstroke. Rebecca chose to retire from competitive swimming in April 2019, and since announcing her retirement, has launched herself into developing her career prospects with the Halberg Foundation. Her role as the Community Communications Assistant combines Rebecca’s passions for storytelling and sport; the role is also helping her develop her leadership skills within the sporting sector, as a voice who champions the inclusion of young people with disabilities in sport.


Maddi McLean is a Sport New Zealand Graduate, currently in her second year on the two-year Graduate Programme. In that time she has gained experience working in government, national and regional organisations and has been able to follow her passion for enabling women and girls to realise their full potential in sport and active recreation. A former NZ age-group hockey player and keen explorer of the outdoors, Maddi is driven to give back to the sport and recreation sector that has given her so much. Maddi is committed to developing her knowledge of good governance and is motivated to support the next generation through coaching.


‘Doing it HER way’


  • Fran McEwen: Founder – SHIFT Foundation and Young People Strategy Lead, Sport NZ
  • Katie Adams: Community Partnerships team- Wellington City Council and the SHIFT Foundation
  • Tracey Prince: Aquatics Programmes Manager at Recreation Aotearoa


  • Gina Reed: Founder – Wellness Riders, Personal Trainer, Sports Coach
  • Sarinah Hurford: Founder – Wellness Riders, Naturopath, Sports Coach 
  • Ash Peters: Founder – WORD



Fran McEwen is the Founder and All-Rounder when it comes to Shift, a Wellington based Charitable Trust which aims to improve the wellbeing of young women aged 12-20 through physical activity, leadership, empowerment and connection. She also works at Sport NZ as the Young People Strategy Lead.


Katie Adams loves anything to do with play, physical activity and community wellbeing. She works on lots of different projects and initiatives in the Parks Sport and Recreation team at Wellington City Council to get more people active and healthy and connecting with nature. 

Tracey Prince is the Aquatics Programmes Manager at Recreation Aotearoa and spent 10 years previously as Facility Manager at the Community Recreation Services Trust (Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatu).


Gina Reed started out as a Resource Consents Planner before co-founding Wellness Riders with Sarinah Hurford. As a qualified personal trainer and lover of fitness, Gina combined her expertise with her love for snowboarding, surfing and skating. Gina is passionate about encouraging young women to be part of a board sports fitness community where they feel encouraged, supported and build their confidence by taking on new challenges. Gina’s whanau values are infused in this mahi as manaakitanga, a term which encompasses looking after and taking care of others, is the underlying value of the organisation. 


Sarinah Hurford is a co-founder of Wellness Riders, Registered Naturopath, Massage Therapist with the Warriors league team and health sponsor for elite athletes around NZ. Over the past 13 years in clinical practice Sarinah has witnessed an alarming increase in anxiety, depression, inactivity and social isolation across all demographics. This highlighted the importance for her to prescribe movement and social connection as a form of medicine for mental and physical wellbeing. She was delighted to meet Gina who shared the same passion and vision and together they created Wellness Riders by combining Gina’s sports leadership & Sarinah health knowledge to empower wahine through social connection, movement and wellness conversations.


Ash Peters is the Founder of WORD, the largest not-for-profit youth mountain bike organisation in New Zealand. Originally from Arizona, USA, Ash is an NZ MTB Instructor Trainer and Assessor. She holds a postgraduate in Education and is also the co-Founder of the Revolve Cycling Club.


‘Changing the conversation through commercialisation’


Rachel Froggatt, CEO Women in Sport Aotearoa


  • Andrea Nelson: CEO ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021
  • Sue McGregor: Head of Sponsorship & Corporate Marketing, ANZ
  • Mike Keech: Impact Sponsorship
  • Kris Mayo: Associate Director, Nielsen




Rachel Froggatt was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Women In Sport Aotearoa (WISPA) in September 2018. Rachel brings considerable global experience to the task of developing Women in Sport Aotearoa into the leading research and advocacy body for gender equity in sport nationally,and supporting opportunities for women and girls to be visible, valued and influential across all facets of New Zealand sport. A senior commercial communications strategist, over the past 18 years Rachel has collaborated with numerous international sporting bodies, including FIFA, FIA and World Rugby, as well as working extensively with many high-profile global brands and rights holders across Formula 1, football, cricket, rugby and Paralympic sport.



Sue McGregor is the Head of Corporate Marketing & Sponsorship at ANZ Bank New Zealand. Equality has always been an important part of her commercial strategies and she has been a leader in celebrating women’s sport in NZ for over 10 years, through partnerships such as the ANZ Premiership Netball, Olympic and Paralympic Athletes as well as the fantastic White Ferns.


Andrea Nelson is CEO of the ICC Women’s World Cup, the premier event in women’s cricket due be hosted in New Zealand in 2021. Andrea brings significant major event experience to her role, having previously been GM New Zealand for the Rugby League World Cup 2017, and Director of Marketing and Communications for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, and having held senior Communications roles with London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Mike Keech has led sponsorship teams across regional, national and international events. He was responsible for DHL’s sponsorship activation and experiential activity for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and is a keynote speaker, panelist and judge at several international and New Zealand events, conferences and awards. He provides sponsorship advice to some of New Zealand’s and China’s most influential brands and was a co-founder of the Sponsorship Professionals Group – NZ and APAC, and acts as Manager for World Champion golf professional, Phillis Meti.


Kris Mayo is an Associate Director at global research company Nielsen. She has nearly 20 years research experience  and currently leads the Nielsen team for Sport NZ which currently covers the Active NZ research programme. She also heads the Voice of the Participant programme for NSOs, RST Stakeholder surveys and has led several large projects for Les Mills International as well as various smaller projects in the sector.  Kris was the CEO of the Central Pulse netball team in their inaugural year. She has also volunteered for gymnastics for over 20 years, undertaking numerous administrative roles and has been a qualified international judge for over 20 years – judging at several Commonwealth Games, World Championships and World Cups.



‘Growing LeadHERs’ 


Maddi McLean, Sport NZ Graduate 


  • Clare Elcome: Sport Wellington
  • David Clarke: Sport Wellington
  • Cameron Wislang: Oranga Tamariki
  • Saron Bekele: Oranga Tamariki
  • Esther Bukholt: Recreation Aotearoa




Maddi McLean (Refer to ‘Exercising leadership – voice and influence’ above)



Clare Elcome has been a Trustee on the Sport Wellington board since November 2015. With a professional background in marketing and communications, Clare has over fifteen years’ experience in the international sports industry, including major global events and brands such as the International Paralympic Committee, Netball Australia, Rugby World Cup 2011, London 2012 and Cricket World Cup 2015. She is currently the Sales and Marketing Manager at Westpac Stadium and about to complete a Master of Business Administration (MBA) through Victoria University. 


David Clarke is a commercial lawyer who has served in various board roles in the last 15 years in both the public and private sector.   He was on the board of Sport Wellington for 12 years serving as Chair for the last three of those years.  During his time as Chair the organisation became the first to receive Sport NZ’s Qualmark for governance and was recognised in successive years at the Woman in Governance Awards (in 2017 for innovation in governance and in 2018 Sport Wellington received the supreme award).  David is currently serving on a number of public sector governance boards as well as serving on the board of the Skylight Trust, the Football for the Community Development Trust and Raroa Intermediate School.


Cameron Wislang is the Supported Employment Advisor in the new Transition Support Service at Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children. He has played a lead role in developing supported employment internships in Oranga Tamariki, giving care-experienced young people help at the start of their careers. Working with transition workers he is also enabling care experienced young people to access supported employment opportunities outside of government.


Saron Bekele was an intern on the Supported Employment internship at Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children. The internship enabled her to get a vast amount of exposure in the public sector for example working in Policy, HR, Communications and Voices of Children Teams. Her passion for youth advocacy has lead her to become a National Youth Councillor for VOYCE Whakarongo Mai.


Esther Bukholt has worked for over twenty years in community development, recreation and adult education.   As a community developer, Esther has focused on social inclusion and initiated a wide range of successful, multiple partner projects with community, public, and private partners. She currently works on a portfolio of roles including at Recreation Aotearoa, as the Community Recreation and Sport Programme Manager. 



Coaching: opportunities, retention and growth – what works?’


Professor Sarah Leberman: Co-Chair Women In Sport Aotearoa and Professor of Leadership, Massey University


  • Dr Nicole M. LaVoi: Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, University of Minnesota
  • Luciana Garcia: Sport Southland
  • Holly Nixon: NZ Football



Professor Sarah Leberman is the Co-Chair & Co-Founder Women in Sport Aotearoa, as well as a Professor of Leadership at Massey University. Having 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.



Luciana Garcia completed a degree in Physical Education in Uruguay and migrated to Spain to study a Master in Talent Development and High Performance while pursuing her coaching career in Synchronised Swimming. In 2010, she moved to New Zealand to coach a Synchro club in Southland as well as the National team, leading her swimmers to the Commonwealth Games, FINA World Champs and Oceania Champs. in 2015 Luciana was appointed General Manager of Sport Southland. Luciana brings a passion for creating opportunities for young women to grow their leadership through sport as participants, coaches, officials or in whatever role they would like to have.


Holly Nixon is New Zealand Football Women’s Development Manager, encouraging more girls and women playing and loving both football and futsal. Having completed a double Bachelor in Management and Marketing & Sport Management, Holly was the lead Women’s Football Development Manager for Waikato Bay of Plenty Football before taking up her current role in 2016. Holly is passionate about encouraging women and girls to get out on the pitch, and is a huge supporter of the Football Ferns who recently competed in the FIFA Womens World Cup in France and will be competing at next year’s Olympic games in Japan.


‘The power of social media for everyday activism and advocacy’


Simone Spencer: Women and Girls Manager, Aktive


  • Amy Marfell: Sport Waikato’s This is ME®
  • Alex Spence: Digital Communications Manager, New Zealand Olympic Committee



Simone Spencer is the Women and Girls Manager at Aktive, with a wealth of expertise, including significant Good Sports and Coach Development experience. She is passionate about enabling women and girls to realise their potential and grow their leadership through play, active recreation and sport.  Prior to joining Aktive, Simone was Sport Manager, at Surf Life Saving Northern Region for six years. She has also been a business owner and was an officer in the NZ Police for five years.



Dr. Amy Marfell Ph.D  is a New Zealand sport sociologist and the lead of Sport Waikato’s This is ME®, a targeted initiative that focuses on decreasing participation barriers to empower women and girls to move THEIR way. Drawing from her teaching and research background, she brings to the initiative an understanding of the need to challenge, from the top down, the pervasive and problematic social structures that marginalise, trivialise and disempower female participants in active recreation and sport. Her current work to inspire participation among women and girls speaks specifically to the need for more messaging and imagery that celebrates the everyday, moving female body and how social media can be used by women and girls themselves as an important tool to make space for such change.

Alexandra Spence is the Digital Manager for the New Zealand Olympic Committee and specialises in creating digital strategies for maximum engagement in the often under-resourced sporting environment. Alex has developed and led the New Zealand Olympic Committee Digital Strategy since she began in 2013,  including the Sochi 2014 and Glasgow 2014 ‘Making Us Proud’ campaigns, the Rio 2016 ‘Be The Inspiration’ campaign and most recently the PyeongChang 2018, Gold Coast 2018 and Tokyo 2020 #EarnTheFern campaign. She has led the NZ Olympic Team to its position of having the most engaged audience of any Olympic Committee worldwide on Facebook. Prior to this, she worked at Netball New Zealand for six years where she started and grew their online channels.



Final Session – ‘A Call to Action’:


  • Robyn Cockburn: SHIFT Foundation
  • Fran McEwen: SHIFT Foundation and Sport NZ
  • Maddi McLean: Sport NZ 
  • Sarah Leberman: Women in Sport Aotearoa



Robyn has spent her career championing the rights of girls and women to have equitable participation in active recreation and sport. She is the Director of Lumin, a recreation, arts and sport consultancy which focuses on research, strategic planning, and leadership development. Recent projects include: Co-facilitator of the NZ Olympic Women’s Sport Leadership Academy; development of the Disability Active Recreation and Sport Reports for Sport NZ (2018); research, writing of NZ Rugby’s Respect and Responsibility Review (2017); and Chairing the governance group of Puna, the Sport and Recreation Leadership Framework. Robyn is currently the Chair of The Shift Foundation and on the board of the Australia New Zealand Association of Leisure Studies. 


See above for biographies for:

  • Fran McEwen: SHIFT Foundation and Sport NZ
  • Maddi McLean: Sport NZ 
  • Sarah Leberman: Women in Sport Aotearoa



Sharn Maree is a spoken word performer, story teller and motivational speaker of Ngāpuhi and Te Whānau-a-Āpanui whakapapa. She writes on societal issues, mental health awareness, wellbeing and indigenous rights with the goal to inspire, enlighten and empower her audience.
Photo: Mark Tantrum

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