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SPARC Chief Executive Nick Hill Resigns

SPARC Chief Executive Nick Hill Resigns

SPARC (Sport & Recreation New Zealand) Chief Executive Nick Hill announced today that he is resigning from his role, effective 28 March 2008.

Hill, SPARC’s first and only chief executive since the organisation’s formation in 2002, is planning to return to the private sector. He tendered his resignation at SPARC’s monthly board meeting on Wednesday, 12 December.

In making the announcement, SPARC Board Chair John Wells praised Hill for the progress SPARC has made during Hill’s tenure.

“Nick has done a wonderful job at SPARC,” said Wells. “He brought a unique combination of private sector skills and knowledge of government to the role that have been of enormous value to the organisation and to the sector. He has achieved many of the goals set forth in the Graham Report, so I can understand his desire to take on new challenges and further his career in another role.”

Hill said that when he came to SPARC he envisaged himself being in the role for five years.

“At the beginning of the year, I signalled to John and the Board my desire to move on in my career,” said Hill. “It’s been nearly six years, and that’s long enough for a chief executive in a role of this nature. I’ve been thoroughly challenged, but fresh energy and ideas are needed to help maintain the momentum. It’s the right time for me to move on to a new challenge, and to develop my career in a more commercial role.”

“I’m excited about returning to a more commercial role, perhaps returning to the energy and resources business,” Hill continued. “Leading SPARC has been exciting and rewarding, and I look back with considerable satisfaction at the achievements of the entire organisation. It’s been a privilege to serve the Board and the New Zealand Government, and to work with such passionate people at SPARC and within the wider sector.”

SPARC is the Crown entity formed with the passage of the Sport and Recreation Act 2002.

As SPARC’s first Chief Executive, Hill guided SPARC through its establishment phase, making a number of challenging decisions about shifting from what was predominantly an annual grants approach to funding, to an investment-focused approach.

In the nearly six years Hill was at the helm of SPARC, Government funding of sport and recreation increased from $45 million to $115 million.

An independent review of SPARC’s progress was undertaken by Deloitte in 2006. The review concluded that “SPARC has made enormous progress as an organisation over the 2002 to 2006 period” and that SPARC “can be proud of its achievements over the period. The organisation has performed well, ‘lifting the bar’ across the board, both in terms of its own performance and sector capability.”

SPARC is the Crown entity responsible for promoting, encouraging and supporting sport and physical recreation in New Zealand. For more details, visit


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