Sport New Zealand has strengthened its Diversity and Inclusion responsibilities with the announcement that Rebecca Rolls has signed on to be the new Diversity and Inclusion Manager.
Responsible for the organisation’s Women & Girls Strategy and Disability Action Plan, as well as leadership and advocacy in other areas of diversity and inclusion Rolls, who is of Ngāti Porou descent, has previously represented New Zealand as a Football Fern and White Fern.
She is also a Director of NZ Cricket and was previously a director of the players’ associations for both football and cricket.
Rolls was an established member of the Government Women’s Network and, as part of the NZ Olympic Committee Women’s Sport Leadership Academy, contributed to a research project on “Inclusive Culture, Challenging Unconscious Gender Bias in Sport”. She was also part of the Diversity and Inclusion challenge stream in the recent NZ Football Delivery and Sustainability Project.
Rolls said she is thrilled to join Sport NZ and have an opportunity to contribute to achieving greater diversity and inclusion across the sector.
“For me this is an opportunity to bring together the two sides of my career so far – leadership in the public sector and what I have achieved in sport as an athlete, administrator and director,” Rolls said.
“It has been exciting to observe how strongly the sector has got behind the Government Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation. I can’t wait to contribute to this work and help make the most of the wonderful opportunity New Zealand has in hosting three women’s world cups and the IWG World Conference.
“There is also important work to do in disability and other areas of diversity and inclusion. I see this as an opportunity to make a real difference for those currently underrepresented in sport and active recreation.”
Sport NZ Chief Executive Raelene Castle said she is thrilled to have Rebecca Rolls joining the organisation in this important role and she will commence her role on July 5.
“Our vision is to have Every Body Active and that means making sure sport and recreation provides a welcoming and inclusive experience for all New Zealanders, and that people are treated with empathy and respect,” Castle said.
“A lot of great work has been done across the sector in recent years for women and girls and disabled New Zealanders, but we need to maintain this momentum and continue to push forward.
“Rebecca is the ideal person to lead this work. She has excellent leadership skills, a deep understanding of our sector and has played a key role in a wide range of diversity and inclusion projects and networks.
“With her background in sport I know she’ll also be a passionate advocate for the upcoming world cups and what they can offer for women and girls.”