April 2023, Articles

Match made in heaven for Hawke’s Bay athletes

A partnership between HPSNZ and the Hawke’s Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust is bearing fruit for elite and pre-high performance athletes in Hawke’s Bay.

Based at the world class training facilities operating out of the EIT Institute of Sport and Health, the partnership will enable nationally endorsed performance pathway athletes, coaches and their whānau to work collaboratively with quality expertise on the planning and development of their future aspirations.

The facilities have been modelled on Auckland’s AUT Millennium and include the recently opened 50 metre pool, an indoor running track, sports gym and sports hall.

HPSNZ Regional Performance Pathways Lead, Joe Payton, says the partnership with the Trust provides an outstanding centre for athletes to train and receive specialist performance support without having to leave the area.

“We already have in place an athlete development team which now includes sport specific facilitators who will lead the planning process with athletes and their support network. Athletes will develop individual plans aligned to their longer-term goals in sport and life. Hawke’s Bay CFCT has established a wide-ranging network of performance support to assist coach and athlete development needs including experienced medical, physiotherapy, S&C coaches, a dietitian and mental skills coach,” says Joe.

“Two current high performance athletes – Black Stick Olivia Shannon and Para Waka Ama athlete Peter Cowan – spend time in Hawke’s Bay so they don’t need to leave the region to access quality facilities and support, it’s available right on their doorstep.”

In addition to the local athletes benefiting from the partnership, HPSNZ is set to announce the 16 foundation members of its Hawke’s Bay Pathways programme.

“Prospective athletes are in the process of being endorsed by their NSOs and thereafter we will work with their sports and Circles of Support to bring them on board and understand what they need to develop,” says Joe.

The Circle of Support is a key element of the Pathways project, operating in Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin, and shortly to be joined by Whangarei, Invercargill and Hawke’s Bay.  The initiative is created with athletes and features independent facilitators who support them, their coaches, parents and other performance support members on their journey, and in particular to prepare for sport and life transitions that are expected as they navigate their pathways.

“We are very fortunate in the Hawke’s Bay to have a group of extremely successful former high performance athletes, and current performance coaches, who are giving up their time to support and mentor our young athletes,” says Joe.

“The likes of former Olympian canoe racer Jamie McAleese (nee Lovett), ex Black Stick Emily Gaddum (Naylor), legendary Silver Fern Irene Van Dyk and former sprinter, rugby league and rugby union player and coach Gary Henley-Smith are providing an extremely valuable support network for our young athletes as we focus on the foundation principle of athletes driving their own development.”

Leveraging the strengths and resources of HPSNZ and NSOs together with the expertise from within Hawke’s Bay will build a connected sporting pathway and locally led approach to optimise the future potential of coaches and athletes in New Zealand.

People working out in a new gym