March 2021,

High Performance Sport NZ to invest $273 million in new strategy

  • $27.6 million Aspirational Fund to invest in more sports
  • Comprehensive wellbeing programme
  • Increased direct financial support to athletes from $6.74m to $11.82m per annum
  • New Performance Hub for South Auckland
  • 55 new regional Talent Identification and Confirmation coaches


High Performance Sport NZ (HPSNZ) has unveiled a new strategy to strengthen and evolve New Zealand’s high performance system through major shifts in investment, wellbeing and engagement, and performance pathways between now and 2024.

The strategy is backed by more than $273 million of investment. This includes an additional $31.2 million in Government funding through the Sport Recovery Package.

CEO Michael Scott says that while New Zealand has achieved tremendous success in recent years, the system cannot stand still, and this strategy is the first step in a 12-year evolution of high performance sport in this country. It is also designed to advance the system’s recovery from COVID-19 through exploring ways to work differently and better.

“This new strategy had its beginnings in the 2032 High Performance System Strategy, which was developed through extensive consultation and collaboration with people across the high performance system. We are now setting out the first four years of that 12-year journey.”

“The strategy also outlines a new vision for HPSNZ – Inspiring Performance Every Day – which reflects the effect high performance sport has in bringing New Zealanders together and inspiring us as individuals in our daily lives,” says Michael Scott.

“With Brisbane now the preferred candidate to host of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the prospect of these events so close to home gives us an added reason to work hard on improving our system and the success it can deliver. Brisbane 2032 could be an amazing celebration of high performance sport in New Zealand.”

HPSNZ’s new strategy brings to life three key shifts identified in the 2032 High Performance System Strategy: Performance Pathways, around which the strategy is anchored, together with Funding & Investment and Wellbeing & Engagement. Each shift is supported by a number of major initiatives.

“We believe this strategy is a game-changer for HPSNZ and New Zealand’s high performance system. It comes with a significant boost in funding and major changes in how we invest in and work with partners. We will be working with a greater number of sports, athletes and coaches in more places around the country, and with a stronger focus than ever on athlete wellbeing,” says Michael Scott.


Funding & Investment

A new contestable Aspirational Fund will see HPSNZ invest in a wider range of sports that can inspire more New Zealanders and help ensure high performance sport is more representative of the country as a whole.

“We are excited to be evolving our funding model and introducing an Aspirational Fund that will open up opportunities for a wider range of sports with the potential to inspire New Zealanders through their performances or where we can work with them to improve podium potential.  We’ll be investing $27.6 million in this fund between 2022 and 2024, with a view to extending it into our next four-year strategic period,” says Michael Scott.

“Our highly targeted funding model has delivered significant success and remains in place, but we are confident that we can now support a broader range of sports to achieve results that inspire New Zealanders.”

Other funding and investment initiatives include a move from the current annual investment model to four-yearly core investment cycles for all National Sporting Organisations (NSOs)  to provide more financial stability, and increasing direct financial support to athletes from $6.74m to $11.82m per annum. This will see HPSNZ invest in approximately 920 athletes by 2024, compared to 559 currently. A new Base Training Grant will see between 240 and 260 high performance athletes each receive $25,000 per annum, and a further 140 to 160 potential high performance athletes $10,000 per annum.

“Our new base training grant is not performance based, so this and other new initiatives will provide more financial security to more athletes, alleviating financial and performance pressures which have the potential to impact on their wellbeing,” says Michael Scott.


Wellbeing & Engagement

The 2024 strategy will see HPSNZ roll out a comprehensive wellbeing programme, working with NSOs to create performance environments where athletes and others can thrive. New initiatives include:

  • Introduction of objective measures to monitor wellbeing in NSO environments
  • Wellbeing included in criteria for funding decisions.
  • More investment for athlete and coach wellbeing initiatives
  • Support for effective athlete and coach voice mechanisms
  • Up to eight new Wellbeing Manager roles in identified NSOs
  • New ‘Know the Line’ and mental health initiatives.


“The past few years have seen HPSNZ and a number of sports grappling with wellbeing issues, as have other countries around the world. We have acknowledged as a system that we must and will do better, and we believe the wellbeing and engagement initiatives included in our 2024 strategy will enable wellbeing to be effectively prioritised as a performance advantage,” says Michael Scott.

“Our strategy also includes $3.85 million investment to extend our Women in High Performance Sport pilot project, which has been extremely well received by NSOs and others. This will enable us to continue to attract, develop and retain more women in coaching and leadership roles, and through this address what is currently significant gender imbalance.”


Performance Pathways

The 2024 strategy also outlines a major change to the structure and management of the performance pathways through which elite athletes and coaches are identified and developed to reach their potential. These will be managed and led by each NSO, with support from HPSNZ.

“We are introducing a new sport-led performance pathway framework that will support the development of athletes and coaches. This puts more emphasis on identifying, confirming, developing and retaining talent, with clear transition points along the pathway so we have the confidence they are prepared to move to the next level and ready for what that will involve,” says Michael Scott.

The new sport-led pathways will be even deeper than present, which will mean a 65% increase in the total number of athletes supported – from 559 in 2021 to 920 by 2024. HPSNZ will evolve the way it supports these pathways.  Performance Support services will be expanded to include coaches, with services and delivery models tailored to the needs of sports and individuals. HPSNZ will also offer an expanded network of regional performance hubs and new smaller performance pods based around the location and needs of athletes within the NSO pathways.

“We are pleased to announce the establishment of a new performance hub in South Auckland to improve accessibility for athletes in that part of Auckland. We believe this will help provide access to high performance sport for a more culturally diverse mix of athletes. It will also remove the need to travel to existing performance hubs on the North Shore or in Cambridge,” says Michael Scott.

“Regional athletes will have access to a network of new performance pods in satellite locations. Where these are located will be driven by feedback from NSOs on the nature and location of athletes in their pathways, but they could be in smaller cities, major provincial towns or more heartland communities. Our service providers will support these pods based on the requirements of the local athletes.”

The strategy also provides for 55 new regional Talent Identification and Confirmation coaches.

HPSNZ will increase investment in innovation, research and intelligence to enhance athlete performance and help counter the impacts of COVID-19.

Michael Scott, who will step down from his role on 23 April, says he is tremendously proud of the way HPSNZ staff and stakeholders from across the high performance system have contributed to the 2032 High Performance System Strategy and new four-year strategy.

“Our role is to work with NSOs to create training environments for athletes and coaches that optimise performance and wellbeing. That spirit of partnership and shared interest in athletes and coaches comes through strongly in this strategy and, I believe, will put New Zealand in a position to continue to excel on the world stage,” says Michael Scott.



Media Contact

Philip Clark – Media Manager, HPSNZ

T: 0278 385 710