November 2023, Articles

Mountain backdrop to Te Hāpaitanga residential

Breathtakingly beautiful, stunning and majestic are just some of the words Te Hāpaitanga participant, netball coach Tia Winikerei, uses to describe the eagerly anticipated third residential course held at Aoraki/Mount Cook earlier this month.

A breakthrough season for Tia saw her go from apprentice Mystics netball coach to leading the northern franchise to a competition win in her rookie year as head coach.

Following such a huge year, Tia describes the residential as providing the space and time to “just be and focus on self”, a reflection that the hurly burly of top level coaching doesn’t always allow.

The mountain residential marks the halfway point for the third group to go through the Te Hāpaitanga programme which has the mission to develop and empower emerging and potential high performance female coaches.

Tia says it was an amazing experience at all levels.  “Firstly there was an almost spiritual level.  You feel so small on a big, big mountain and somehow the environment helps you focus more deeply,” she says.

“Personally I loved being in the big, vast expanse of space that is the mountain, a place that is certainly not my natural habitat.”

Tia confesses to a few nerves, worrying she might not be able to physically complete the climb.  “I knew the physical challenge would be hard but what I learned was the importance of finding my own rhythm and pace.  Once I worked that out with the help of a coach advisor, I was able to set a pace that would ensure I made it from the start to the end.”

This learning for herself is a great coaching tip which she says she will apply to her toolbox going forward.

Tia also points to several other exciting benefits from the residential.  “You can’t underestimate the value of getting outside your day to day environment and daily routines.”

Like a number of other Te Hāpaitanga participants, past and present, Tia notes the connections with other coaches in her group as being very beneficial.  “Building and learning from coaches who are all very different in styles, codes and backgrounds is awesome.”

A third key benefit Tia cites is the value of the debrief sessions.  “The debrief sessions with Jody Cameron (Te Hāpaitanga Lead) and Christian Penny (Te Tūāpapa Coach Accelerator Lead) were invaluable, especially with so many new learnings and experiences.”

The third Te Hāpaitanga group has a further two residentials in 2024 before completing the programme.

Applications for Cohort 4 are open from are open now until 12 January. Information about the programme and how to apply are available here.

Tia Winikerei holding an ice pick on top of a mountain
Tia Winikerei taking on Aoraki/Mount Cook