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Orana Wildlife Park: Wild Referee

Orana Wildlife Park’s Visitor Services Co-ordinator, Nicky Inwood, will switch focus this week from managing volunteers to becoming one. Rather than feeding Giraffes and enthusing visitors about rare wildlife, Nicky will concentrate on her ‘hobby’ - being a top class international women’s rugby referee.

Nicky has been selected to officiate in two test matches as part of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship in Europe. “It is an honour to be picked to referee in such a prestigious competition. The International Rugby Board has an emphasis on increasing the profile of women’s rugby, particularly since the game of seven’s rugby will be introduced to the Olympics in 2016. Therefore, my appointment is fabulous profile for aspiring young female referees.

I will be in charge of the France versus England test match and this game is likely to decide the tournament. I will also officiate in the England versus Ireland test on St Patrick’s Day which is set to be a marvellous occasion.”

Nicky says her motivation to referee is based upon a desire to continually improve: “I love the game of rugby and it gives me enormous pride to represent Canterbury and New Zealand. I thrive on the constant challenges of maintaining fitness, keeping up to date on rule changes and of course balancing rugby and work commitments. I am fortunate to receive wonderful support from the New Zealand Rugby Union and of course my employer.

There are still things I want to achieve and standards to meet. I’m yet to achieve that complete performance so I’m still fresh and excited about the challenges ahead.”

Nicky has gained many significant achievements in the sport, namely:
• Earned 11 test caps as a player (front row hooker)
• Refereed 21 test matches and amassed over 50 first class games as a leading whistle blower.
• Been an amateur referee for over 13 seasons.
• Attended four Women’s Rugby World Cups - one as a player for the Black Ferns (1991) and three tournaments (2002, 2006 and 2010) as a referee.
• She was the first woman to ever referee a women’s rugby international game in New Zealand.
• She has had the honour of refereeing a women’s rugby test match on the hallowed turf of Twickenham, England.
• Been nominated twice as Referee of the Year at the Steinlager New Zealand Rugby Awards.

“I have a great role at Orana Wildlife Park that includes overseeing and managing the Park’s extensive volunteer programme; monitoring behind the scenes tours and appraising presentations to the public. It is the perfect balance for my favourite pasttime” says Nicky.


About Orana Wildlife Park
Orana Wildlife Park is NZ’s only open range zoo and is home to over 400 animals from more than 70 different species. The Park is owned and operated by Orana Wildlife Trust, a registered charitable trust, which also runs Natureland Zoo in Nelson. The Trust also owned Southern Encounter Aquarium & Kiwi House (Cathedral Square) until February when it was closed indefinitely after a devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Christchurch. The Trust is committed to the conservation of wildlife diversity on this planet. Our aims, along with being dedicated to the conservation of endangered species and the welfare of our animals, are to provide education, recreation and enjoyment to the public and to support research relating to endangered animals. The Trust is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), the Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA) and ZAA NZ.


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