February 2024, Articles

Te Hāpaitanga provides amazing experiences for women coaches

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.

With women’s football on a roll and an increasing number of women coaches putting their hands up, Tarena Ranui wasn’t confident she would be accepted into the Te Hāpaitanga coaching programme.

But she was.  She completed the programme and her sights are now firmly set on bringing some unique aspects of her culture and tikanga Māori to the way she applies her coaching philosophy.

Currently the Director of Female Football for Hamilton club, Melville United, as well as a full time teacher at Ngaruawahia High School, Tarena says Te Hāpaitanga was one of the most amazing experiences of her career.

“I can’t name just one highlight, there were simply so many. However being immersed in a community of coaches was and continues to be a real benefit.  Even in a sport like football that has a lot of coaches it can be lonely,” she says.

Tarena also cites the cross sport learning, a common refrain from other programme participants, and the strong mentoring element as critical to help her shift her thinking.

“I was fortunate to have mentors of the calibre of coaching guru Lyn Gunson, Te Hāpaitanga lead Jody Cameron and Women in High Performance Sport lead Helene Wilson, all of whom have helped me think more confidently and ambitiously.”

Tarena also reflects on her Māori heritage and the implications that has on her coaching philosophy.

“There are very few high performance Māori women coaches in the country and I believe we can bring a coaching approach which is unique in New Zealand and definitely a competitive advantage on the world stage,” she says.

“I want to bring things from our culture, the stories, history and tikanga into the way I coach that allow enhanced performance, that bring individuals together to perform collectively.

“I don’t believe this is something that has been seen within football before and it’s something I’m passionate about being able to contribute to the sport.”

With her confidence building through her time in the Te Hāpaitanga programme, Tarena successfully initiated opportunities to learn from other countries and cultures.

“I spent time with the Cameroon National Women’s football team which I really enjoyed and learned a lot from.  It gave me the opportunity to compare some of the social constructs each culture applies to enhance performance.  Time with them inspired me to believe we are and have more than enough to compete globally.”

Tarena also spent time with the Japanese Football Federation as a result of Te Hāpaitanga and one key technical takeout was watching the amazing footwork of the Japanese players.

“I had never seen anything like it before on a football field.  Interestingly when I talked with my mentor and netball coaching guru, Helene, she said it was a footwork technique which is common in netball.  Another fantastic cross sport learning.”

For Tarena, Te Hāpaitanga provided an environment in which she felt a real sense of belonging, and one which she felt really reflects the wider Aotearoa/New Zealand society.

“For me, culture informs movement and movement informs culture.  Te Hāpaitanga gave me permission to give life and time to this fundamental Kaupapa.”

As far as coaching goals for the future, Tarena says 2024 will be a year she focusses on gaining her football coaching A License.  “With that under my belt I’ll need to accept some youth coaching roles before taking the next step up.  And my club team will also need to win!”

Te Hāpaitanga graduand Tarena Ranui