February 2024,

HPSNZ Update February 2024

From the Director of High Performance

Kia ora tātou,

Welcome to our first HPSNZ Update for 2024, in this Olympic and Paralympic year.

Firstly, congratulations to the winners from last week’s Halberg Awards. It is always so humbling to see the remarkable achievements of so many Kiwis.

A special mihi to the HPSNZ Sportswoman of the Year Award Winner and Supreme Award winner Dame Lisa Carrington who continues to set the standard in high performance sport in this country.

Congratulations also to the recipient of this year’s Sport New Zealand Leadership Award, Sir Wayne Smith, who I have had the privilege of knowing for many years. As the award citation said, “his ability to bring players, colleagues and administrators with him is special. No stone unturned. No idea unexplored. No one left behind. He is an inspiration to everyone he touches.”

While the awards recognise 2023’s high performance sporting achievements, we’re less than two months into 2024 and we’ve already seen some exceptional performances from Kiwi athletes with Paris in their sights.

None more so than our newest world champions Erika Fairweather (pictured) and Lewis Clareburt. Track and Field stars, George Beamish, Eliza McCartney and Tom Walsh, have also turned in some eye-catching efforts as have the track cycling team and para cycling road team, to name a few. We must also acknowledge the team at the Youth Winter Olympics who brought home a record seven medals, including this country’s first gold medal. Well done to everyone involved in those achievements.

It is selection and last chance qualification time for Paris, and we can expect the first NZ Team selection announcement within the next few weeks with a steady stream of them to continue in the lead up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Our Paris focus in this HPSNZ Update includes Olympian and Performance Life Coach Anna Simcic providing insights from her two Olympic campaigns.

With Triathlete Hayden Wilde keen to improve on his Tokyo bronze medal at this year’s Olympics, his coach Craig Kirkwood talks about his participation in HPSNZ’s Te Tūāpapa Coach Accelerator programme that he hopes will help deliver a medal in Paris.

As our Te Hāpaitanga women’s coaching programme prepares to announce its fourth intake, football coach Tarena Ranui talks about the impact the programme has had on her as a Māori women coach.

And Craig Palmer reflects on 2023’s Core Knowledge coaching programme and looks ahead to 2024 which sees a record 382 coaches from 38 sports registered to participate. Many of those coaches will be our high performance coaches for Los Angeles 2028, Brisbane 2032 and beyond.

In the meantime, the countdown to Paris is on!

Ngā mihi nui

Olympic and Paralympic Perspectives: Anna Simcic

Anna MCing the Christchurch Prime Minister’s Scholarship award ceremony
MC Anna Simcic during the PM Scholarship ceremony at the Commerdore Hotel, Christchurch, New Zealand, 15th August 2019.Copyright photo: John Davidson / www.photosport.nz

1990s swimming golden girl, Anna Simcic, is our fourth featured HPSNZ Olympian or Paralympian.

Taking to the pool in the 200m backstroke in Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996 as well as winning gold and silver medals in the 1990 and 1994 Commonwealth Games, Anna is a 20 year athlete advisor and performance life coach veteran at HPSNZ and its predecessor organisations.

She shares her memories from an illustrious career in the Olympic pool and as an advisor to subsequent generations of high performance athletes.

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Te Tūāpapa coaching programme driving Paris goals for Hayden Wilde’s  coach

Craig Kirkwood flanked by his Olympic hopeful athletes Hayden Wilde (left) and Sam Tanner (right)
Craig Kirkwood flanked by his Olympic hopeful athletes Hayden Wilde (left) and Sam Tanner (right)

While Kiwi triathlon star Hayden Wilde is a well-known face on the international triathlon circuit, his coach back in New Zealand, Craig Kirkwood, is quietly going about his business to help put the star on the podium in Paris with support from HPSNZ’s Te Tūāpapa Coach Accelerator programme.

Craig, a 10-year full time coaching veteran, feels a little like a born again coach with the new support and skills he is receiving courtesy of Te Tūāpapa, its programme lead Christian Penny, and his HPSNZ mentor, Greg Fraine.

Te Tūāpapa, the coaching programme developed to support HPSNZ’s priority campaign coaches to sustain existing podium success, feels like it was created specifically with a coach like Craig in mind.

His 18-month long involvement with Te Tūāpapa to date will, according to Craig, be hugely important to helping Hayden and his other Paris prospect, 1500m athlete Sam Tanner, achieve their Olympic goals.

Continue Reading…

Kia Manawanui coaches part of Winter Youth Olympic history

Snow Sports NZ coaches Brad Prosser (centre) and Nick Brown (right) proudly support their young charges
Snow Sports NZ coaches Brad Prosser (centre) and Nick Brown (right) proudly support their young charges

Two coaches participating in HPSNZ’s inaugural Kia Manawanui programme were front and centre as Kiwi teens took to the podium at the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics in Gangwon, China.

Freeskiers Luke Harrold and Finley Melville-Ives made history at the Games with a one/two finish in the half pipe event, while the younger Melville-Ives, Cam, took out bronze in the snowboard halfpipe event later in the programme.

Standing proudly by were Snow Sports NZ coaches, Brad Prosser (freesking) and Nick Brown (snowboard), who have been a key part of the 2023/24 Kia Manawanui programme and who hosted the first-ever cross sport workshop at Wanaka for their fellow Kia Manawanui coaches.

With an eye to Milano Cortina 2026 and beyond, Brad and Nick and their young charges are looking on track for an exciting few years ahead as the Snow Sports NZ programme and its coaches go from strength to strength.

Core Knowledge continues to upskill Kiwi coaches with bumper 2024 ahead

Nicole Murray of New Zealand with her coach competing during the women C5 individual pursuit at the 96th UCI Glasgow 2023 Cycling World Championships
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – AUGUST 05: Nicole Murray of New Zealand or Team NZ compete during the women C5 individual pursuit at the 96th UCI Glasgow 2023 Cycling World Championships, Day 3 / #UCIWWT / on August 05, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

HPSNZ’s Wā Kāinga Core Knowledge coaching programme is set for a bumper 2024 off the back of what programme lead, Craig Palmer describes as a very successful delivery in 2023.

Into its third year, Core Knowledge targets coaches on the NZ performance pathway coaching pre-high performance and/or high performance athletes, performance coaches intending to transition to the high performance space and athletes at the latter stage of their career or retired who are keen to move into coaching.

“Our 2023 programme received great feedback from coaches and NSOs with themes that particularly resonated including cross sport interaction, face to face delivery and a chance to get into a room and talk coaching with other coaches,” says Craig.

“What we are really delighted by is the great connection of coaches that extend beyond the workshops.”

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Te Hāpaitanga provides amazing experiences for women coaches

Tarena Ranui.
Tarena Ranui. HPSNZ’s senior leadership team during a boardroom meeting, Wednesday 6 July 2022. AUT Millennium. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

Applications have been received from 29 candidates for Te Hāpaitanga’s fourth cohort with final participants to be announced later this month ahead of the first residential for the group just before Easter.

Te Hāpaitanga programme lead Jody Cameron says a highlight of this year’s applications has been the demonstrable and increased support from NSOs. “The applications clearly reflect strong team support from within NSOs and a real belief in the importance of women coach development to create sustainable progress in this critical area.

“The applications come from across 19 sports and it is also evident they have used previous participants in Te Hāpaitanga to nurture and lead within their organisation.”

As Te Hāpaitanga heads into its fourth intake, we spoke with a ‘graduate’ from the second group, football coach Tarena Ranui, who shares her story and amazing experiences from the programme.

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Healthy Women in Performance Sport looking beyond Paris

Young woman punching a boxing bag

While most eyes in the high performance sport sector are firmly focussed on Paris 2024, the Healthy Women in Performance Sport (HWiPS) team, led by Dr Sue Robson, are looking further ahead as they work to finalise the HWiPS strategy.

“The next six months leading up to Paris provide our group with a window to move our HWiPS strategy from the planning phase to delivery,” says Sue.

And a key driver of that process was the inaugural HWiPS stakeholders and partners workshop held in December.

Continue Reading…

277 athletes awarded 2024 Prime Minister’s Scholarships

HPSNZ congratulates the 262 athlete and 15 gold athlete recipients of a Prime Minister’s Scholarship for 2024.

This year’s recipients are from 34 sports with the largest representation from rowing, cycling, hockey and snow sports.

Prime Minister’s Scholarships support athletes, coaches, support team members and officials to gain educational or professional qualifications while continuing in sport.

The application process for coaches, support staff and officials closed on 31 January and the successfully applicants are expected to be announced in mid-March.

The full list of the Prime Minister’s Athlete Scholarship recipients.