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Auckland Sport And Recreation Women’s Networking Event Focuses On Empowerment And Future Steps

More than 90 female sport and recreation representatives from across Auckland attended the recent Women’s Networking Event, run by Aktive in partnership with Women in Sport Aotearoa, Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa (WISPA).

Focused on empowerment, the event featured speakers from Aktive and WISPA, as well as the launch of a leadership initiative, the signing of the Brighton plus Helsinki 2014 Declaration on Women & Sport, a panel session and networking opportunity.

Dr Sarah Sandley, CE, Aktive talked about empowering wahine toa in the real world, underpinned by the theme of The Standard You Set is the Standard you Walk Past.

“We know change inspires change. Embracing this, our role is to provide strategic leadership and help others succeed,” says Dr Sandley. “Our ongoing collaborative work is focused on strengthening Auckland’s sporting and recreational systems and environments, and we are committed to engaging women and girls in all aspects.

“Given this, we are closely aligned with Women in Sport Aotearoa and fully support the vision to see ‘women and girls valued, visible and influential in sport’ in Aotearoa New Zealand.’”

Building on this, Aktive’s Portfolio Manager Simone Spencer introduced a new initiative: the Aktive Women’s Leadership Development Programme.

“This initiative will bring together a diverse group of up to 20 middle or recently appointed senior managers or women currently operating at a governance level or seeking to do so in an 18-month programme. It will support these women to further develop their confidence and leadership competencies and make an impact in the sport and recreation sector.”

Programme facilitators include inaugural graduates of the NZ Olympic Women’s Sport Leadership Academy Hannah McLean and Sarah Cowley Ross, with further information available here.

Putting pen to paper, Raewyn Lovett ONZM, Co-Chair of the International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport 2018 - 2022 and Dr Sandley signed the Brighton plus Helsinki 2014 Declaration on Women in Sport.

Ms Lovett said: “To be a true champion of equity for women and girls in sport and physical activity, is to sign and endorse the Brighton plus Helsinki 2014 Declaration on Women & Sport – and those that do commit to upholding the 10 principles that enable women and girls to freely and safely participate, compete and build careers in sport and physical activity. Since 1994, it has gained nearly 600 global signatories. We are excited Aktive has joined this global community of action.”

Pauline Harrison, Chair of the Local Organising Committee of the 8th IWG World Conference on Women and Sport provided detail of the upcoming conference.

“May 2022 will see a physical event in Tāmaki Makaurau and a live virtual event globally. The journey toward and beyond the event has kicked off with our official launch of our global storytelling campaign, ‘Change Inspires Change.

Some of the challenges currently faced by women in sport were discussed in a panel session with Tanya Hamilton, High Performance Manager, Surf Lifesaving New Zealand and Gayle Vaughan, Coach Development Manager, Tennis New Zealand. Discussion included why more women are needed in leadership roles, the influence of sport experiences, and key changes to get more women in leadership roles.

Ms Spencer is encouraged by feedback from the event: “We are thrilled with the response from attendees and the sector, and are looking forward to rolling out these new initiatives.”

For more information visit and for details on Aktive’s initiative HERA – Everyday Goddess visit

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