Can you give us some background on your career in sports?
Growing up I played everything I could. I gradually narrowed down and played representative age group cricket as well as hockey. Hockey eventually took over and I made my international debut in 2009 at the age of 19. I was in the Black Sticks from 2009-2015 before retiring, and amassed 134 caps and scored 77 goals. I was part of the Silver Medal team at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and the Bronze Medal team at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games as well as the 2012 London Olympic Team that finished fourth. As well as this I attended two World Cups. Diocesan offered me a position as a Sports Manager in 2014 whilst I was still playing and I have been working here ever since. I am also quite involved in coaching Hockey and have been coaching at Regional and National level, most recently being the NZ Under 21 Assistant Coach. I am also an Olympic Ambassador for the NZOC.
Tell us about the Sports Director role you’ve taken on at Dio – what does it involve?
At Diocesan we have a Sports Department of 11 and our role is to look after the entire sports programme. This ranges from athletics day, swimming sports and cross country through to 34 different codes we offer for our girls to play in. We run a number of exchanges and send teams away to winter and summer tournaments so we also look after the logistics of that. We have a roll of 1,500 and our school sports programme has a participation rate of over 80% so we do run a big programme. I oversee the managers and the general direction that we want our sports programme to go in.
You are an Old Girl of Diocesan School for Girls. How did Dio support you to achieve your sporting goals?
Dio played a huge part. Whilst I was a student here I had a huge workload and a lot of pressures and challenges that came along with it. I had a number of great coaches, teachers, and support staff throughout the school who supported me in balancing that load and making decisions that would best help me achieve my goals. When I applied for the sports manager role in 2014, I was still playing internationally and travelling a lot and the school were completely supportive in allowing me to balance work with my international playing commitments – something that can be quite hard as an athlete. This allowed me to have a career outside of my playing commitments which I was really grateful for. To be back here five years later and now as the Director of Sport is something really special.
Were there enlightening moments or inspirational people to set you on your way to a career in sports and education?
I had some great coaches, teachers and support staff around me throughout my career. I still keep in touch with a lot of them today. I have always reflected a lot on how those people played such a huge part in where I ended up with my sport. I always thought it would be great to get back involved with sport at grassroots level and to try and share my experiences and support students like me coming through the system. I also just want to share my love of sport with all students as I truly believe sport can teach you some amazing lessons that you will use in everyday life.
As a Dio Old Girl, how did it feel to return to the school in a professional role?
It was great coming back. There were some familiar faces as well as a lot of new ones but I truly do love the school and all that comes with it. The opportunities that Dio gives it students are incredible and we have some amazing staff that really do care and invest so much into our students. I always appreciated how great the school was while I was here as a student but my appreciation grew even more coming back as a staff member.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I have a great department full of really positive, enthusiastic and passionate staff who really love sport and want to encourage our students to give everything a go and have a lot of fun. Turning up to work each day with people like that is hugely enjoyable. I also love the students – we have a great culture at the school and to see all of our girls trying new things, learning, growing, challenging themselves but also building lifelong friendships is something special to be part of.
What do you most want to achieve in your role as Sports Director?
I want our team here to encourage as many students as possible to get out and play sport, to try new things, to not be afraid of making mistakes, to put themselves out of their comfort zone a little bit and to have fun. I want each student to feel supported and have a positive experience playing sport at Dio. We want to provide a positive support network around each student that caters to their differing abilities.
What do you see as the benefits of working at an independent school?
The benefit of working at an independent school is having the structure, support, resources and facilities to really empower and extend the opportunities for students inside and outside the classroom. We have the ability to really cater to individual needs and get the most out of our students.
What are your thoughts on the benefits of independent schooling for students?
The students are all provided with so many amazing extra opportunities that really help them grow and develop as young people. They have a great support network around them and are in an environment where they are encouraged to try new things and challenge themselves.