February 2022, Articles

Regional connection gains traction

A growing team of Performance Pathways Regional Leads working in communities across the country is helping a key element of HPSNZ’s 2024 strategy gain traction.

By elevating Performance Pathways as our central strategic pillar HPSNZ aims to enhance New Zealand’s competitive advantage by enabling sport-led pathways for athletes and coaches that are clear, consistent and connected across all key phases; development, performance and transition.

Jason McKenzie in Southland is the latest addition to the Performance Pathways team, which already includes Belinda Colling in Otago, Joe Payton in Hawke’s Bay and a team in Canterbury – Andrew  Ellis, Simeon Joplin, Anna Simcic and Richard Smith.

Tracey Paterson, HPSNZ Head of Performance Pathways says the team has a wealth of experience in podium performance and how to navigate the journey for success in sport and life, coupled with strong sporting relationships and high standing in their respective communities.

Jason McKenzie says regional reconnection to NSOs with direct relationships that are mutually supportive is fantastic. Born and bred in Southland, and passionate about the region, McKenzie believes that if regional New Zealand is strong then New Zealand is strong.

“It’s exciting for me to come back and be part of the HPSNZ family again. It’s going to be challenging – there’s a real change in the strategy, and it’s really cool.

“I love the fact that we’re taking the coach on the journey with the athlete, because they’re such an important part. And that our athletes and coaches can be connected to an end-to-end pathway – it’s not just here and now – to be connected from when they enter, to leaving and beyond, is really exciting.”

Joe Payton, based in Hawke’s Bay, is equally enthusiastic about the strategic shift to connect regional New Zealand.

He says, “I’m super excited to join the HPSNZ team and enable the talented coaches and athletes who are based here to build on their knowledge and experience through opportunities and connections I can help them with. It will be fantastic to see more athletes and coaches involved in national programmes as time goes on, and the relationships with HPSNZ grow.”

Following on from pilot performance pathway initiatives in 2021, the Regional Team is getting ready for the scale up and roll out of Core Knowledge, one of HPSNZ’s 2024 Performance pathway coaching initiatives, taking learnings from the successful regional pilot in 2021.

Working closely with NSOs and RSOs is fundamental for the Regional Leads and their work will focus on Performance Pathways for athletes and coaches being sport-led. In the Core Knowledge programme roll out that means a collaborative approach, working with sports to identify, recruit and develop coaches in the early stages of the Performance Pathway.

Tracey Paterson anticipates that Northland, Bay of Plenty and Waikato will also soon have Performance Pathway Regional Leads in place bringing more comprehensive regional connection and opportunities for development throughout the country.

Jason McKenzie, Southland Performance Pathway Regional Lead