CRNZ Strengthen and Adapt Project

Kia Ora to our New Zealand paddler community,

I’m pleased to advise that Canoe Racing New Zealand (CRNZ) has been selected to be part of the Sport NZ Strengthen and Adapt Programme (Wave 2).

Sport NZ and High Performance Sport NZ established the Strengthen and Adapt Programme in July 2020 to improve the capacity, capability and resilience of selected national partners and their delivery networks, so that they are best positioned to meet the future needs of participants and athletes. Canoe sport has been selected to participate in Wave 2 because of the impact our sport has on the physical activity and high performance outcomes of New Zealanders.  Sport NZ and High Performance Sport NZ recognise this programme as a unique and significant opportunity to create a stronger sport sector.


Background to Strengthen and Adapt:

The first Wave of 11 national partners went through the Strengthen and Adapt design phase in late 2020, and are now in their implementation phase.  Much has been learned from Wave 1, and paddling in New Zealand will now be the benefactor of that learning and the available funding.

CRNZ is in the very early phase of our Strengthen and Adapt programme, and we intend to keep all stakeholders informed throughout our project, which will be in three key phases:  Discovery, Planning, Implementation.

Discovery will include a review of all available research, including information specific to canoeing, other water sports, and the sport and recreation sector more widely, with all of Sport NZ’s Data and Insights work available to us.  We will also be conducting focus groups with a diverse range of stakeholders, and will be supported by CRNZ’s board, and a Steering Group which will also have a diverse set of voices at the table with contribution from clubs, commercial providers, education sector.  Once we have examined this work and extracted the key areas of opportunity for our sport, we will be in Planning mode, before again testing our thinking around Key Initiatives with our Board and Steering Group.  When our final Strengthen and Adapt programme has been signed off by CRNZ’s Board, it will be presented to Sport NZ along with our application for up to $450k in funding.  Once we have approval we will commence our Implementation phase, starting around May 2022.



As part of the Strengthen and Adapt programme, Sport NZ is funding an Independent Advisor and a Project Manager to ensure the project is well resourced, without impacting on the ‘business as usual’ for our CRNZ team.  Myself and Tom Ashley (CRNZ CEO) will be leading the project from CRNZ’s end, while Jim Doyle (ex NZ Rugby League, NZ Warriors) will be our Independent Advisor bringing a wide range of both sport and commercial experience to the table. Dianne Williams will be our Project Manager, and comes from a commercial and governance background,  has been involved with Netball management and governance at grass roots and elite levels, and was involved in Wave 1 supporting Volleyball and Girl Guiding in 2020.


We are very excited to be participating in Strengthen and Adapt Wave 2, and look forward to keeping you informed, and inviting your contribution over the next few months.

Nga mihi,
Aaron Osborne
Performance Development Manager