Boost for Golf After High Performance Sport NZ 2024 Strategy is Launched

Outgoing CEO of High Performance Sport NZ Michael Scott at the launch of the 2024 Strategic Plan. (Youtube)
Outgoing CEO of High Performance Sport NZ Michael Scott at the launch of the 2024 Strategic Plan. (Youtube)

The development and support of golf in New Zealand is set to get a boost after the launch of the High Performance Sport NZ (HPSNZ) 2024 Strategic Plan today.

In the past, HPSNZ has been criticised for narrowing in too much on Olympic Sports and athletes while sports such as golf and emerging golfers have been left languishing. A new contestable Aspirational Fund will see HPSNZ invest in a wider range of sports that can inspire more New Zealanders and help ensure high performance sport is more representative of the country as a whole.

HPSNZ CEO Michael Scott said they will be investing $27.6 million in the new Aspirational Fund between 2022 and 2024, with a view to extending it into the next four-year strategic period.

“We are excited to be evolving our funding model and introducing an Aspirational Fund that will open up opportunities for a wider range of sports with the potential to inspire New Zealanders through their performances or where we can work with them to improve podium potential,” Scott said at the launch.

“Our highly targeted funding model has delivered significant success and remains in place, but we are confident that we can now support a broader range of sports to achieve results that inspire New Zealanders.”

Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson said the inclusion of the Aspirational Fund will draw a lot of attention and is really important.

“It would be fair to say as the Minister for Sport and Recreation it can be a hazardous experience travelling around New Zealand, particularly in Koru lounges where members of sporting bodies that don’t feel they have always been funded the way they like, appear on your shoulder to describe why they should be funded in a different way,” Robertson said.

“People who have done that will know who they are, but what really matters to me here is that this is an understanding that we will always support our elite athletes as they go to compete at Olympics, Para Olympics and World Championships levels but we also have to understand the way sport evolves in the country as new sports emerge, ones where New Zealand will have success, but equally ones where we will inspire a lot of other New Zealanders who are participating in that sport at a community level.

“So now having the flexibility built into our system that there is an aspirational fund that can pick that up alongside the ongoing and sustained investment in our elite sports and our elite athletes I think is a really important development and an evolution in our High Performance Sport strategy.”

Grant Robertson
Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson at the 2020 New Zealand Open (Photo:

Other funding and investment initiatives include a move from the current annual investment model to four-yearly core investment cycles for all National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) to provide more financial stability, and increasing direct financial support to athletes from $6.74m to $11.82m per annum.

This will see HPSNZ invest in approximately 920 athletes by 2024, compared to 559 currently. A new Base Training Grant will see between 240 and 260 high performance athletes each receive $25,000 per annum and a further 140 to 160 potential high performance athletes $10,000 per annum.

“Our new base training grant is not performance-based, so this and other new initiatives will provide more financial security to more athletes, alleviating financial and performance pressures which have the potential to impact on their wellbeing,” says Michael Scott.

The new strategic shift will see HPSNZ roll out a comprehensive wellbeing programme, working with NSOs to create performance environments where athletes and others can thrive.

New initiatives include:

  • Introduction of objective measures to monitor wellbeing in NSO environments
  • Wellbeing included in criteria for funding decisions
  • More investment for athlete and coach wellbeing initiatives
  • Support for effective athlete and coach voice mechanisms
  • Up to eight new Wellbeing Manager roles in identified NSOs
  • New ‘Know the Line’ and mental health initiatives

“The past few years have seen HPSNZ and a number of sports grappling with wellbeing issues, as have other countries around the world,” Scott said.

“We have acknowledged as a system that we must and will do better, and we believe the wellbeing and engagement initiatives included in our 2024 strategy will enable wellbeing to be effectively prioritised as a performance advantage,” says Michael Scott.

The final major initiative will see a major change to the structure and management of the performance pathways through which elite athletes and coaches are identified and developed to reach their potential. These will be managed and led by each NSO, with support from HPSNZ.

The new sport-led pathways will be even deeper than present, which will mean a 65% increase in the total number of athletes supported – from 559 in 2021 to 920 by 2024. HPSNZ will evolve the way it supports these pathways. Performance Support services will be expanded to include coaches, with services and delivery models tailored to the needs of sports and individuals.

HPSNZ will also offer an expanded network of regional performance hubs and new smaller performance pods based around the location and needs of athletes within the NSO pathways.

“We are introducing a new sport-led performance pathway framework that will support the development of athletes and coaches. This puts more emphasis on identifying, confirming, developing and retaining talent, with clear transition points along the pathway so we have the confidence they are prepared to move to the next level and ready for what that will involve,” says Michael Scott.

Michael Scott will step down from his role on 23 April and will be replaced temporarily by Raelene Castle said he is tremendously proud of the way HPSNZ staff and stakeholders from across the high performance system have contributed to the 2032 High Performance System Strategy and new four-year strategy.

“Our role is to work with NSOs to create training environments for athletes and coaches that optimise performance and wellbeing. That spirit of partnership and shared interest in athletes and coaches comes through strongly in this strategy and, I believe, will put New Zealand in a position to continue to excel on the world stage.”

Download the 2024 strategy here.

View the launch below

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