March 2021,

Wellbeing and Performance: Co-existence Without Compromise

The comprehensive Wellbeing Programme outlined in HPSNZ’s 2024 Strategy is designed to shift the dial on wellbeing throughout New Zealand’s HP sport system.

HPSNZ’s Neena Ullal, Senior Leadership Team sponsor for the Wellbeing Programme, says much has been learnt over the past two years, increasing awareness and understanding of the changes needed to enhance wellbeing in HP environments.

“We’ve learned from the wellbeing issues that have surfaced in recent times and we’ve listened to those in the system. Performance environments that support wellbeing are a key enabler of performance and it’s time for the system to focus on how performance and wellbeing can coexist without compromise.”

HPSNZ’s goal is to ensure there is a common understanding of wellbeing within the high performance context, and a coordinated approach to enhancing the wellbeing of athletes, coaches and all support staff within the high performance sport system.

Headlining the Wellbeing Programme is HPSNZ funding for up to eight Wellbeing Manager roles in identified NSOs to lead and facilitate all sport related wellbeing initiatives.

Other specific deliverables with the programme include:

  • Independent monitoring and objective measures to monitor wellbeing within NSO high performance environments.
  • New ‘Know the Line’ and mental health initiatives
  • Increased investment for athlete and coach wellbeing initiatives
  • NSO capability development to maintain enriching performance environments
  • Support for the establishment of mechanisms to ensure that all sports HPSNZ invest in have effective athlete voice and representation


The Wellbeing Programme was developed in consultation with athletes, coaches and several NSOs.

In addition to the Wellbeing Programme, HPSNZ will introduce a Base Training Grant for HP athletes which is designed to ease wellbeing issues caused or exacerbated by financial pressures. And, importantly, NSOs will have to meet clearly defined wellbeing criteria as a condition of funding through HPSNZ’s new Targeted Investment Framework.

The strategy’s emphasis on wellbeing is designed to facilitate a more coordinated and inclusive approach to wellbeing across the system. This will help ensure that NSOs have the capability to reinforce and integrate wellbeing into the way they work, athletes and coaches are better able to influence decisions that affect them, coaches are more confident to identify and respond to athletes that are struggling and to meet the holistic needs of athletes, and athletes have greater support and financial security.

Neena Ullal says continuing to work in partnership to deliver these outcomes over the next four years will be critical.

“We will be working in partnership with NSOs and others in the system to achieve these outcomes and the overall goal of creating ‘enriching performance environments that will empower and support individuals to optimise their potential and enhance their ability to thrive in their sporting and non-sporting lives’.”

Learn more about the HPSNZ 2024 Strategy here.