Media Release: High-performance athlete group to assist with developing Code of Integrity for Sport and Recreation

A 12-strong group of current and former high-performance athletes with a diverse range of skills and experiences has been assembled to assist with the drafting of a Code of Integrity for sport and recreation.

The high-powered group consists of athletes from cycling, rowing, triathlon, weightlifting, shooting, sailing, gymnastics, and boxing.

It has been convened by the Integrity Transition Programme, which is undertaking the work to establish the Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission.

The Commission is a new independent Crown entity tasked with protecting and promoting the safety and well-being of participants and the fairness of competition in New Zealand’s sport and recreation sector.

It is due to be operational by July 2024.

“It’s fantastic to see such an amazing group of athletes put their hands up to help with this important mahi,” Integrity Transition Programme director Rebecca Rolls said.

“The Code is intended to be the cornerstone of New Zealand’s sport and recreation integrity system. It will exist for the benefit of everyone involved in sport and recreation, so it’s vital it is shaped by people from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.”

A recent public survey seeking input into the Code attracted over 2,000 responses. The next step is to take the broad themes highlighted in the survey and examine them in more detail with a range of focus and reference groups – one of which consists of high-performance athletes.

“While the Code is for everyone, high-performance athletes have unique perspectives and insights, so we are very keen to hear their views,” Rolls said.

The group of current or recently retired athletes was selected following a call for expressions of interest to the high-performance athlete community. It will be chaired by former Olympic cyclist Rushlee Buchanan.

A four-time national road race champion, Buchanan competed at the 2020 Olympics in the Maddison and Team Pursuit – an event in which she claimed three world championship bronze medals.

Currently a sports convener at St Peter’s School in Cambridge, Buchanan previously chaired Cycling NZ’s Athlete Voice Committee, and obtained a Masters of Sport Management from Massey University, based on an in-depth review of Cycling NZ’s BMX programme.

“I’m excited to listen to everyone else’s stories and perspectives and work together on something really awesome for the wider community,” Buchanan said of her appointment.

It was particularly important the group’s focus extended beyond athletes who had reached the pinnacle of their sport, Buchanan said.

“Only a small percentage of New Zealanders are involved in high-performance sport, so it is going to be important for us to not get too caught up on the values of high-performance sport.

“Where it really matters is that level below. That is where we lose so many people because they don’t feel heard or valued or seen.”

Including the perspectives of athletes in their late teens and early 20s would be crucial for the Code’s relevance, Buchanan said.

“That’s such a critical voice. They are literally our next generation, so we need to take notice of what their values and beliefs are. That changes as each generation comes through and if we are not listening and paying attention then we are not going to provide them with the right opportunities and sport will decline.

“You can kind of see that happening in some spaces already.”

The Athlete Reference Group includes triathletes Andrea Hansen and Ryan Sissons, rowers Ella Greenslade, James Scott and Toby Cunliffe-Steel, weightlifters Cameron McTaggart and Tracey Lambrechs, shooter Natalie Brunzel, sailor Sara Winther, gymnast Olivia Jöbsis and boxer Troy Garton.

 

The Integrity Transition Programme Athlete Reference Group 

  • Rushlee Buchanan (Chair) – Cycling
  • Andrea Hansen – Triathlon
  • Cameron McTaggart – Weightlifting
  • Ella Greenslade – Rowing
  • James Scott – Rowing
  • Natalie Brunzel – Shooting (Para athlete)
  • Olivia Jöbsis – Gymnastics
  • Ryan Sissons – Triathlon
  • Sara Winther – Sailing
  • Toby Cunliffe-Steel – Rowing
  • Tracey Lambrechs – Weightlifting
  • Troy Garton – Boxing

 

ENDS 
For more information contact: Steve Deane 021 975 150 or email
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