CHIEF EXECUTIVE: Graham Oberlin-Brown

Graham started at CRNZ in  May 2023, bringing a comprehensive range of experiences in the NZ high performance sporting environment, as an elite athlete for New Zealand, head coach of a large school rowing program, and leader of a large not-for-profit organisation; as well as extensive corporate and financial acumen. 

Graham is a dynamic and innovative leader with a proven track record of creating high performing teams with a strong culture. Prior to joining Canoe Racing New Zealand Graham spent eight years at Westpac NZ, where he worked across various leadership roles with the most recent being executing the delivery a large product strategy and technology transformation project. Alongside this, Graham has been Chair of Karapiro Rowing where he developed and implemented a new organisational strategy, contributed to a modernisation of the organisation, and delivered the North Island’s largest rowing events including the Maadi Cup.

As an athlete, Graham spent six years in the NZ Rowing program where he achieved three medals at World Championship level.


Stacey has been with Canoe Racing since mid 2013, coming from a background in Financial accounting and management as well as owning various businesses.

Stacey is responsible for overseeing the financial aspects of the organisation as well as the overall business operations. 

She lives on the North Shore in Auckland and has three children.


Nathan has been a member of CRNZ’s High Performance Coaching team since 2017, contributing to a number of outstanding performances highlighted by the hugely successful Tokyo Olympic campaign. 

Following Tokyo, Nathan was appointed to the new role of General Manager – Performance, responsible for leading the Performance team and implementing the Performance pillar of the CRNZ Strategic Plan.

Nathan was a Canadian kayaking representative before beginning full-time coaching . He spent over 20 years coaching in Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand


Danika started at Canoe Racing NZ  in 2021, after 6 years in the Participation and Development department at Yachting NZ. Prior to joining the team, she was involved in the development of new paddling participation initiatives with CRNZ.

Danika is responsible for leading the Participation and Engagement strategic pillars, to help grow and develop paddling in New Zealand. She is hugely passionate about helping get more people out on the water for fun, wellbeing and competition.

Based in Auckland, she is a keen paddler, predominantly in ocean ski, and regularly competes in paddling and multisport events. 

LEAD COACH- WOMEN: Gordon Walker

Gordon is one half of  one of sports most success coach-athlete partnerships, as the long-term coach of Lisa Carrington ( 5 gold and 1 bronze Olympic medals). He has won Coach of the Year at the Halberg Awards four times and was named Coach of the Decade (2010-2020).

Gordon was given the role of Intern Coach with CRNZ in early 2010 and has been a part of the High Performance Programme since then. After the 2016 Olympics, Gordy moved into a lead coach role responsible for the NZ womens squad to perform in K1, K2 and K4 boats.

Gordon has a keen interest in many sports and has coached a variety of sports including cycling, running, swimming, kayaking, triathlon, and multisport. He is also a 3-time winner of the Coast to Coast Multisport race.

LEAD COACH- MEN: Craig Mustard

Craig started at CRNZ in 2019 in the role of National Development Coach. He took over as Lead Coach of the NZ Mens Kayak squad in 2023, after working alongside Tim Brabants.

Hailing from South Africa, Craig has built up a vast amount of coaching knowledge working in a range of roles. He has served as a South African team manager for the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships and as head coach for the junior and under-23 Canoe Sprint World Championships. He was assistant coach to Bridgitte Hartley, the 2012 Rio Olympic K1 500m bronze medallist, at the 2016 Rio Olympics and guided Jean Van der Westhuyzen to the junior men’s K1 1000m bronze medal at the 2016 World Championships.

Craig is a keen paddler himself having represented South Africa in his earlier years and loves exploring the kiwi great outdoors.


Tim, a fully qualified doctor, joined the CRNZ coaching team in January 2020 to lead the NZ Mens Kayak team. At the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Tim oversaw his young charges Max Brown and Kurtis Imrie paddle their way to an outstanding 5th place in the MK2 1000m.

In 2023, he made a return to a profession in medicine, but remains in a part-time Performance Coach role based at Lake Karapiro

Tim was the first British athlete to win an Olympic canoe title when striking K1 1000m gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as well as winning two Olympic bronze medals (in the K1 500m in Beijing and in the K1 1000m at the 2000 Sydney Games). 

From 2016 he served for two years as British Canoeing’s Chief Medical Officer before in early 2018 taking up a role working with the elite paddlers as Podium Technical Coach at British Canoeing. He currently is the chair of the ICF Medical board.


Chris joined the CRNZ High Performance team  in 2023 as Performance coach based in Auckland, his primary role being to assist Gordon Walker and the NZ Womens squad as they continue to build toward Paris Olympics and beyond.

Chris came to us from Toronto, where he was Head Coach at Balmy Beach Canoe Club, one of the larger and more successful clubs in Canada. During his coaching career so far, he has had some really strong performances and results at World Championships by the athletes he has worked with.

Chris was a National team athlete for Canada, competing at ICF World Championships in 2010 and 2011, specializing in the K4 1000 and K1 500 events. He loves getting outdoors either on foot or water, especially with his dog Gilmour. 


Emily came onboard as a performance coach in 2022, before taking over as the National Development Coach in 2023 leading the CRNZ  Development Pathway.

Emily was a NZ-rep paddler at Junior and U23 level. She then started coaching at Poverty Bay Kayak Club, while working as a teacher. Always seeking to improve her skills and ability to better support her paddlers, Emily was involved in CRNZ pathway coaching and was appointed as one of the coaches of the 2021 Junior Worlds team.

In 2022, she was selected to join the High Performance Sport NZ Te Hāpaitanga programme, an 18-month holistic coach development initiative designed to enable more women to pursue and maintain a career in high performance coaching in Aotearoa-New Zealand.


Aaron joined CRNZ in 2019 after several years at Canoe Slalom New Zealand, serving many roles including CSNZ High Performance Manager and High Performance Coach. 

With a passion for both participation and performance, Aaron’s current role straddles both as he leads various projects to develop systems and programmes to ensure long term success and sustainability of the sport. His current focuses include the Sport NZ Strengthen & Adapt Project, Disability Inclusion, Coach Development and implementation of the new Paddler Portal.

Aaron was an international-level slalom paddler and continues to coach at the highest level, with his athlete competing at the Paris 2024 Olympics. Nowadays, he loves getting out for a downwind with mates on his oceanski.

EVENTS MANAGER: Karen Simpson- Warren

Karen is the longest serving member of the CRNZ team, joining back in 2009. Throughout she has held various different roles but her passion for developing the organisations events has seen her settle in her current role as Events Manager. 

Karen is qualified as an ICF Canoe Sprint and SUP International Technical Official and has held official roles at World Cups, Junior World Championships and the Paralympics. She also is responsible for recruiting, training and coordinating officials in NZ.

Prior to CRNZ, Karen spent 16 years in the FMCG industry, initially in Sales and Sales Management, and then as Managing Director of a merchandising, demonstration and importing business.


Maree came to CRNZ in early 2022 from Triathlon NZ, where she spent eight years as Operations Manager.

Maree supports Nathan in running the operations and logistics for the CRNZ Performance Program (including the Performance Pathway), and helps our team implement the new CRNZ Picture of Performance and Holistic Performance Framework. She is based at the CRNZ High Performance Centre in Karapiro.

Of Tainui and Maniapoto whakapapa, Maree is also a former elite rower, having spent 11 years rowing as a junior, U23 and Elite NZ representative.


CHAIR: Greg Adlam

Greg joined the CRNZ board in 2021 as a club delegate through his involvement with the Mana Kayak Club. Greg was the lead of the CRNZ Audit and Risk committee, before he became Chair in 2023. 
Greg’s work life is based in financial markets and for the last 15 years he has run his own consulting business focused in the areas of climate change, electricity and other commodities. A keen paddler himself before moving into coaching, Greg later became involved in the CRNZ development programme. He has managed NZ Junior and U23 teams at regattas in NZ, Australia and Europe. 

DEPUTY CHAIR: Simone Spencer

Simone has worked in sport management for more than 10 years.  As Manager, Sport at Aktive, she is the strategic lead for the organisations work across the following areas: Sector Support, Youth Sports and Women and Girls.  She is also the co-lead of the Sport NZ and Aktive national rollout of Good Sports.

Prior to working at Aktive, Simone was Sport Manager at Surf Life Saving Northern region for six years.  She has also been a business owner and was a constable in the New Zealand Police for five years, resulting in operational, strategic and governance experience.

Simone is still actively involved in Surf Life Saving and is a member of the Mairangi Bay Surf Life Saving Club.  Her involvement has included everything from coaching and officiating to team management, and she was appointed to the Internal Life Saving Federation Sport Commission in March 2021.

Stu Clark


Feeonaa Clifton

Feeonaa Clifton (nee Wall) has three children who are all active in canoe sprint and surf lifesaving as athletes. She has volunteered at club and regional level helping with water safety, team managing, event organising, and officiating. She has also served as a school Board trustee member and been involved in various organising committees in sport, bilingual education and the arts.

Feeonaa is an artist and a long- time member of Pacific Sisters arts collective. History, identity, wellbeing, indigenous practices, and environmental concerns are some of the themes explored in her work, which includes body adornment, performance and activations. Her costumes are held in Te Papa Tongarewa/Museum of New Zealand and Auckland Museum’s permanent collections. She holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts (Pacific) and a Diploma in Arts Administration from the University of Auckland.

Anne Rodda

Anne is a highly respected For Purpose leader. She has headed several of Aotearoa New Zealand’s high-profile cultural organisations such as the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, educational organisations such as Cognition Education Trust (formerly Multi-Serve), has consulted to local government and charitable organisations, lectured in arts industry management and served on granting committees, government and Not-for-Profit boards.  Her recent projects have been with local government bodies in the Hawke’s Bay and Taranki regions and, for JBWere Philanthropic Services; she is currently the Project Manager of the Dilworth Response.

Anne has delivered some of New Zealand’s iconic programmes and events including the Michael Hill International Violin Competition since 2001, the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival and the 2020 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards; she is the co-author of Tomorrow’s Board Diversity: The Role of Creatives.  

She was appointed to CRNZ Board in 2022.

Garth Spencer

With a 30+ year ICT career, most recently Chief Commercial Officer for a Māori telecommunications organisation, Garth brings to the CRNZ Board significant experience at a corporate governance level, with strengths in digital transformation, commercial negotiation, the development and implementation of strategic plans and operational delivery. 

As a life-long paddler Garth is  a regular figure out on the water, training and competing in sprint, marathon, surfski and multisport events, and usually battling it out at the front. He has been involved in organising large kayaking events and is passionate about growth and participation of all disciplines of the sport. Garth was elected to the Board in 2024.

Darren Ward

Appointed to the CRNZ Board in 2024, Darren serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Swimming Waikato, overseeing the strategic operations of water safety and swimming programs across Waikato and Counties Manukau. With two decades of experience in the sports industry, Darren has held various roles across Europe, the Middle East, and New Zealand. He earned an MA in History from the University of Edinburgh and an MSc in Performance Coaching from the University of Stirling, and is a member of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand.

In addition to his executive responsibilities, Darren has a strong background in performance coaching. He has worked with national teams, contributing to their successes at World Championships and the Olympics, with notable involvement with the Serbian Olympic Team.