Former Netball New Zealand and Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle will be the new chief executive of Sport New Zealand.

The government agency confirmed on Wednesday that Castle would replace Peter Miskimmin next month, the latter having resigned after 11 years in the position.

The 49-year-old would be Sport NZ’s third CEO and the first woman to hold what was New Zealand’s top sports administration job.

Along with having been CEO at Netball New Zealand and Rugby Australia, Castle had also held the top job with the Bulldogs in rugby league’s NRL.

“Raelene brings tremendous breadth and depth of experience as a CEO in sports administration and is a proven people and organisational leader,” Sport NZ Chairman Bill Moran said.

“The Board of Sport NZ see her has the ideal person to lead our organisation forward as we continue our important work in addressing declining participation among young people and protecting the strength and integrity of our sector.

“Raelene is an open and down-to-earth leader. She is someone who has tackled complex and challenging matters, working with and through others. She also deeply understands the sport and recreation landscape and the value this brings to individuals, communities and our society.”

Castle had also held several governance roles in sport, previously serving as a board director of Sanzar (Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship), the ANZ Championship netball competition and the International Netball Federation (INF).

She moved into sports administration after a fifteen-year commercial career and was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2015 for services to Business and Sport.

Castle said she was excited about the opportunity the role presented.

“[I’m] honoured to have been given the opportunity to lead the organisation that serves as the kaitiaki of Aotearoa New Zealand’s play, active recreation and sport sector.

“My time in Australasian sport has shown me the critical role sport and recreation play in bringing communities together and the positive impact those experiences have on society. I am looking forward to working with our partners and colleagues across Government and our sector to ensure more New Zealanders, particularly our tamariki and rangatahi, are able to enjoy quality participation experiences.

“I believe I am joining Sport NZ at a key moment in our sector’s history. COVID-19 has had an enormous impact at all levels of the sector but with the Sport Recovery Package there is a once in a lifetime opportunity to solidify the sector and reshape it to be more robust and deliver more participation opportunities. I’m looking forward to being part of that work.

“I am deeply passionate about diversity and inclusion. It will be a key focus for me to ensure that young people from many diverse backgrounds have the opportunities to dream big and realise their potential, whether that’s as a leader, administrator, coach, volunteer or participant within our sector.”


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