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Women in High Performance Sport Coaching Initiative

  • 04 Sep 20

Rowing NZ are delighted to announce Hannah Starnes has been selected to join High Performance Sport New Zealand’s holistic coach development initiative, Te Hāpaitanga.

Improving gender equity in sport and supporting the implementation of the Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation Strategy is a priority for High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ). In 2019, HPSNZ established a Women in High Performance Sport (WHPS) pilot project to address issues of gender equity in high performance sport leadership and coaching in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The pilot project is aimed at creating the right environment and opportunities to enable greater representation of women in high performance leadership and coaching positions. The project is being delivered through three core streams of work focused on leadership, coaching and the high performance sport working environment.

There are a number of interconnected and complex challenges that are preventing female coaches from pursuing and maintaining a career in high performance coaching. The lack of a visible or accessible coaching pathway for women, limited access to hands-on coaching opportunities to develop capabilities, being isolated, undervalued or underutilized in coaching roles and limited advocacy for diversity in coaching teams, are all contributing to the low number of women competing for coaching roles.

Te Hāpaitanga is a holistic coach development initiative designed to enable more females to pursue and maintain a career in high performance coaching in Aotearoa New Zealand. The 18 month initiative will provide a range of opportunities that enable up to 14 future or emerging female high performance coaches to test and develop their coaching ability, and to develop new skills to navigate a complex and challenging career in high performance sport.

Te Hāpaitanga invited applicants from women coaching in paid (full-time, part-time or contract) and unpaid positions, who have been identified by their NSO as a potential high performance coach. After gaining selection into Te Hāpaitanga with Rowing NZ’s support, Hannah Starnes will remain part of the development initiative for a period of 18 months, including attending five residential workshops.

Hannah was coach of the 2019 junior women’s quad crew who took gold at the World Rowing Championships in Tokyo, Japan. Currently coaching at Waikato Rowing Club, Hannah was again selected to join the 2020 Junior team aiming to compete and the later cancelled World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia. Having coached New Zealand age-group teams for five years, Hannah aims to coach at an elite level - a desire strongly supported by Rowing NZ’s General Manager - Performance, Judith Hamilton. ‘’Rowing NZ continue to remain impressed with Hannah’s ongoing professional development and personal growth, and have observed her develop into an intuitive, driven and caring coach. Hannah certainly has the makings of an elite coach within our sport, and we hope she will remain part of our coaching team for years to come.’’

Hannah is also a participant of Rowing NZ’s Career Coach - a new programme offered by Rowing NZ to develop coaches with ambitions to progress in their coaching. Rowing NZ has identified the need to have more women coaching in Rowing NZ teams and to provide support and skills for more women to be head coaches.

Rowing NZ is missing out on the values and skills that women bring – and we know that environments flourish with diversity. We know that increasing the number of women in leadership positions such as head coaches, Rowing NZ coach/selector and RPC roles will demonstrate the pathways and opportunities for females beyond being an athlete or assistant coach.

To drive change and create a more inclusive environment, Rowing NZ launched a forum to develop leadership, confidence and capability in female coaches. This programme began in July 2019 and will continue through to July 2021 and consists of residential workshops, one on one development and online group forums.

There are currently nine other participants on the Career Coach For Women programme alongside Hannah; Kim Dowden, Kylee Corboy, Robin Clarke, Megan Glenn, Rachel Gamble- Flint, Kaye Surgenor, Sarah Lindley, Shawn McManus and Sophie Strachan.

Over the past 12 months, the group has completed three residential workshops (in Auckland, Lake Karapiro and online) and are now undertaking three research projects covering a range of enquiries in women’s sport and coaching.

A fourth workshop will be held at Lakeview Lodge in Lake Karapiro in September 2020, with the fifth and final workshop schedule to be held in July 2021.

Pending Prime Minister Scholarship funding, Rowing NZ will again host the programme 2021-2023, with expressions of interest being invited in early 2021. It is intended that the July 2021 workshop will be joined by both existing participants and participants selected into the second programme launching mid-2021, allowing for an exchange of information between a broader pool of coaching talent and providing a networking opportunity.

Applicants interested in Career Coach are recommended to key an eye on both the Rowing NZ website and the New Zealand Rowing Coaches Facebook page, or to contact coachdevelopment@rowingnz.kiwi

For further information about Te Hāpaitanga, please contact WHPScoaching@hpsnz.org.nz