Young Women’s Leadership Programme

Pictured above: Whanake o te Kōpara group of 2021



Mā te huruhuru, ka rere te manu
Adorn the bird with feathers so it can fly

  • Are you a kōhine (young woman) aged between 18 – 25 years?
  • Are you interested in the connection between physical activity and wellbeing?
  • Do you want to grow your leadership confidence and abilities?
  • Have you had limited opportunities to learn about leadership in the past?
  • If you answered YES to these questions then we are looking for YOU!

Applications are open for the second intake of Whanake o te kōpara – The rise of the female bellbird, a leadership development programme that will amplify your strengths and enable you to uplift others.

This programme is led by Women in Sport Aotearoa (WISPA) and  The Shift Foundation (Shiftt). Both organisations advocate for equity in the physical activity space (sport, exercise, recreation, fitness, play) for women and girls, but also for other groups who may be missing out on the benefits of movement!


  1. Review the application questions. There’s nothing worse than starting an application without knowing the questions!
  2. Complete the application form. Answer the questions in the Google Form and hit submit! Applications close Sunday 29 May 2022.
  3. Get in touch! Please email us if you have any questions about the programme or need assistance applying. 


We welcome applications from any young women aged 19-25 who are passionate about the role physical activity can play in supporting wellbeing, however, we are really keen to support young women who are currently not in leadership positions and/or who don’t get access to these types of opportunities. It may be that you are currently unemployed, studying or working in a job that doesn’t align with your passion in the physical activity space, or maybe you live in a rural or remote area? Whatever the case, if you are excited by this then apply!

We intend to select 20 participants in 2022 from all corners of the motu (especially looking for those outside the main centres, where there are often fewer programmes on offer).You must be aged 18-25, and not in secondary school/college.


Applications close Sunday 29 May 2022, and we will be back in touch with you by the 5th of June (at the latest). The programme begins online in late June, followed by three kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) weekend wānanga in July (Wellington), September (Christchurch) and November (Wellington), and interspersed with digital hui. The programme will also include registration for the IWG Conference in Auckland in November.

First online hui – Late June (likely 2.5 hours evening or weekend)

  • Noho Marae – Friday 15th – Sunday 17 July, Orongomai Marae, Upper Hutt.
  • Online hui – August (allow 2 hours)
  • Wānanga 2 – Saturday 9th to Sunday 10th September  – Venue Christchurch
  • Online hui – October (allow 2 hours)
  • The 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport – November 14-17 (Auckland)
  • Wānanga 3 – 25th – 27th November – Wāihōanga River Lodge, Otaki.

If you are successful, you will be expected to attend all the online and kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) wānanga. Obviously we understand that things crop up but please only apply if you believe, at this stage, you will be available to participate in the entire programme.


Shift and WISPA deeply believe in the power and importance of co-design, therefore the following list is an indication of the type of topics and content that may be covered as part of the programme. Successful applicants will be asked for feedback and thoughts as the course is designed and delivered over the six months.

  • Ko wai au? Who am I? – Values, whakapapa, strengths and passions
  • Understanding systems change/systems thinking (eco-systems)
  • Empowerment – What is it? How do you experience it?
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi
  • Human Centered Design
  • Courageous conversations
  • Allies/Building relationships
  • AKO – an opportunity for participants to share skills and learn from one another
  • Reflective practice
  • Bringing Te Aō Māori to life
  • Frameworks for understanding wellbeing/hauora
  • Creative problem solving
  • Effective questioning
  • Impact storytelling
  • Developing an action plan

You will also be expected to develop an ‘Action Plan’ and pilot it as a key part of your participation in this programme. You will be given a frame to work from and support to develop your plan (in an area or on an idea that is meaningful to you!). In a true action learning style, you will plan, deliver, reflect, iterate and potentially pilot this plan during the programme. Don’t panic – it can be as big or small as your heart desires – the key element here is to put your learning into practice and be part of changing the system to work better for the groups/communities you are passionate about supporting!


The cost of the programme is $1000 + GST – this covers all travel, accommodation and kai for the three wānanga, registration to the IWG Conference + resources and merch!  We do understand that cost is a barrier for many people to participate in professional and personal development programmes, so we are also offering five scholarships to make the programme free of charge.

You can select from the following options when you complete your application form (this will be kept completely confidential)

  • I would like to be considered for a scholarship
  • I, or the organisation I work for, can be invoiced for $1,000 + GST to cover the cost of my attendance within the programme.

Please get in touch if you have any questions about the cost – we do not want it to be a barrier, but also want to create a more sustainable programme that can be run for generations of young women to come!

Watch the video below and read the report from last year to learn more about this kaupapa.

Massive thank you to the US Embassy of New Zealand and Sarah Leberman MNZM for funding this mahi, and to TALK Communications for creating the 2021 video and report that captures the magic of this kaupapa.

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