CSNZ Delighted With Promoted General Manager
Pandora Fruean's immediate workload has been all Tokyo but she has a very firm focus on Paris, as she steps into her new role at Canoe Slalom New Zealand.
Having just been appointed General Manager of the Olympic sport, Fruean has spent the past couple of months making sure CSNZ's athletes and coaching staff are as safe as possible for the upcoming test event in Tokyo, followed closely by this month's Games. In addition to supporting athlete plans to compete at World Cups and the Junior and U23 World Championships, it's made for a busy time, as she steps up from the CSNZ business manager role she's held since September, after earlier roles with Baseball New Zealand.
"I'm really looking forward to the challenges and the wider scope of the general manager role and working in a space that's not so operations-focused," Fruean said. "It's an exciting time for the sport, especially with extreme slalom being introduced for the Paris Olympics in 2024 - New Zealand has had some outstanding extreme paddlers in recent years and it opens up an intriguing pathway for a much wider range of kayakers."
Fruean has a long and varied 30-year administrative career in sport which has prepared her for the general manager role, having been the executive officer at Baseball NZ, helping get New Zealand's first professional baseball franchise off the ground and working on major events such as the London Olympics, FIBA, FIFA and Rugby World cups. She also supports the athlete wellbeing space, as a trainer for an international company in mental health and resilience.
She's also intensely proud of her elevation as a female with Pasifika ethnicity; her Mum is from the Cook Islands, while her husband is Samoan. It gives her a natural feel for minority sports and positions, which she believes will give her an advantage working with the burgeoning canoe slalom clubs and paddlers around New Zealand. "It hasn't all been plain-sailing as a female administrator in sport, but the blend of my dad’s western influence and a rich Polynesian heritage has definitely influenced my life and career. It's given me a collaborative approach to everything I do and I'm really grateful to the village of support that has helped me so much."
Canoe Slalom New Zealand chairman Kerry Bloor is delighted to have Fruean step up in her role, especially with current High Performance Manager Tony Hanks finishing his contract at the end of July. "Pandy is a calm and inclusive presence in our sport and she and Tony have really made great strides since they started last year, getting the new academy pathway rolled out and spending endless hours working on travel plans and health and safety for our top athletes competing overseas this winter," Bloor said. "We're delighted to be able to have that continuity, especially with Pandy being so broadly accepted by our members, and it means we're giving our paddlers every chance of success, towards Paris and beyond."