MEET OUR TEAM

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Tom Ashley

Tom grew up on the water off Auckland’s North Shore. He was a professional windsurfer for 11 years and won a gold medal for NZ at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

After retiring from professional sport, Tom attained a Bachelor of Law with Honours and worked at Russell McVeagh in Auckland. Most recently, he spent four years as head coach of the Chinese Olympic Windsurfing Team, during which time Chinese athletes won World Championships and an Olympic silver medal.

FINANCE MANAGER: Stacey Plowman

Stacey lives on the North Shore in Auckland. She has three children – Danika, Toby and Lucas.

Stacey started off in IT before moving to Office Management and prior to CRNZ was self employed for 12 years having an accounts and administration business as well as owning different businesses in the beverage, gift and storage industries. She started working for CRNZ at the end of July 2013.

Stacey leads a busy life supporting her children’s sports and interests as well as enjoying the beach and the theatre in her spare time.

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR : Gordon Walker

Gordon was born in Zimbabwe and moved to NZ with the rest of his family at age 6. He was educated in Hamilton and then Auckland and has lived there ever since. He is married with 3 young children.

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.

Gordon has a keen interest in many sports and has coached a variety of sports including cycling, running, swimming, kayaking, triathlon, and multisport.

COACH: Jasper Bats

Jasper was part of the CNRZ High Performance squad up until 2015 and within that time completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology.  

After retiring from competitive kayaking he travelled with his fiancee to Australia where they became the official partner for C Barcelona in Australia and New Zealand with Jasper’s role being primarily event management. 

In his time off he enjoys going outdoors, either with a rifle, fishing rod or surfboard.

COACH: Nathan Luce

Nathan most recently comes from the Australian Sports Institute and has coached national teams in both his native Canada, and the USA.

Nathan was a Canadian kayaking representative before beginning full-time coaching in 2002. 

DEVELOPMENT COACH: Craig Mustard

Hailing from South Africa, Craig has built up a vast amount of coaching knowledge working in a range of roles for the Kwa Zulu Natal Canoe Union and Natal Canoe Club over the last decade. He has worked as Head Coach, High Performance Co-ordinator and Elite Athlete Development Programme Co-ordinator. 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 also served as 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 Junior and U23 Sprint Championships in Belarus.

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

COACH: Tim Brabants

Tim took up his coaching role to work primarily with the six-strong men’s Canoe Racing NZ kayak squad in January 2020.

A world-class paddler, Tim became the first British athlete to win an Olympic canoe title when striking K1 1000m gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He also won two Olympic bronze medals (in the K1 500m in Beijing and in the K1 1000m at the 2000 Sydney Games). He is also a former world and European champion.

Since he retired from competitive paddling, Tim, a fully qualified doctor, has stayed connected with the sport. 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 is now based in Cambridge in the Waikato, where he lives with his wife and two children.

 

OPERATIONS MANAGER: Polly Powrie

Polly Powrie is a two-time Olympic medallist having won gold at London 2012 and silver at Rio 2016 alongside teammate Jo Aleh.

Polly grew up in an Auckland sailing family and started her career in the sport at the local Kohimarama Yacht Club progressing through the junior classes and then honing her skills in a range of boats before pairing with Aleh to launch their women’s 470 campaign in 2009.

Powrie retired from Olympic sailing in January 2017, honing her skills in the corporate world before returning to sport to take up the Operations Manager position with Canoe Racing NZ in June 2018.

PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENT MANAGER: Aaron Osborne

Aaron joined us after several years at Canoe Slalom New Zealand, during which time he set up the Canoe Slalom NZ coach development, served as coach of the National Performance Squad and Team Manager at the Rio Olympic Games, and was instrumental in setting up the Vector Wero Whitewater Park as the training venue of the NZ squad. 

He has spent the past two years as Canoe Slalom NZ’s High Performance Manager.

 

 

EVENTS MANAGER: Karen Simpson-Warren

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.

She joined the Canoe Racing NZ team back in 2009 and has seen the organisation go through many changes in that time, herself holding various different roles.  Her passion for developing the organisations events has seen her settle in her current role as Events Manager. 

She is qualified as an ICF ITO (International Technical Official) and has held many international roles at World Cups and Junior World Championships.  

MEET THE BOARD

CHAIR: Jan Shearer

An experienced sports administrator Jan Shearer is a three-time Olympic sailor who won a silver medal in the 470 Class at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Immersed in high performance sport for many years, she is married to Murray Jones, the six-time America’s Cup-winning sailor and designer. Her daughter, Gemma Jones, competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics finishing fourth.

Dunedin-born Jan, worked for much of her adult life as an engineer before moving into sports governance in 2011, where she served for three years on the Tennis NZ Board. Concurrently she was recruited for the Tennis NZ Advisory Group and subsequently worked in the role of Head of Performance at Tennis NZ between 2012 and 2017.

In 2016 she joined the Snow Sports NZ Board and for the past 15 months has served as Acting CEO for Snow Sports NZ in Wanaka.

DEPUTY CHAIR: Matt Warren

Matt has more than 17 years working in the sport and recreation industry, including  10 years with Surf Lifesaving. He is now self employed, continuing to manage sporting events alongside his rental management business.   As a volunteer he has been on numerous committees and Boards of both Surf and Swimming and is currently a committee member of the Mana Kayak Racing Club.

Matt has a background in coaching at Club and Representative level spending a number of years as Surf League coach. He is also an ICF ITO (International Technical Official). Matt also enjoys spending time with the family and when not taking the kids to all of their sporting activities enjoys surfing, kayaking, fishing and cycling.

Melodie Robinson

Melodie Robinson is a New Zealand sports journalist and presenter, and former international rugby union player for the New Zealand women’s national rugby union team. She also represented New Zealand in sevens at the Hong Kong 7s and Japan 7s.

While playing rugby she gained a degree from the University of Otago (BA PHSE) and a journalism certificate from Wellington Polytechnic in 1996.  Her natural leanings towards sports has seen her hold roles in radio and tv – commentating and presenting for the Super 12 and NPC. Involvements in hosting Super Rugby and ITM Cup build ups, the ANZ Championship and international netball build ups, the Halberg Awards, and is a regular on World Rugby’s Women’s Sevens Series as a commentator and is a journalist for Sky TV NZ.

Hamish Reid

Hamish is the Operations Manager for Dominion Salt limited with over 20 years experience working in chemical & manufacturing organisations. Hamish has a bachelors of science degree in chemistry with extensive experience in continuous improvement within complex operations.

Along with his extensive operational and business experience Hamish brings 25 years of voluntary experience in both canoe racing & surf lifesaving where he has been involved in everything from coaching to club administration and is currently the president of both Eastern Bay Canoe Racing Club and Whakatane SLSC.

On a personal side Hamish is married to Jan and together they have three children. Sport is a family affair with the whole family involved in Canoe Racing. Hamish himself has been mucking around in kayaks since 1984, hence he brings to the board an absolute passion for our sport. 

Stu Clark

Stuart is a proud Cantabrian who loves the outdoor environment we are blessed with in New Zealand.  His professional experience in engineering and manufacturing has shaped a disciplined, measured approach to developing organisational capacity through cooperation, collaboration and big picture perspective.

Introduction to competitive kayaking came through multi-sport, followed by supporting kids in Surf Live Saving and Canoe Sprint.  As current President of the Arawa Canoe Club, enabling others to develop and share a passion for our sport, competitively or recreationally has become a focus as personal sporting activity becomes more socially focused than competitive. Providing opportunity for people develop as athletes and individuals and reach their potential is a key motivator to involvement in sports administration.

Volunteering as an official for CRNZ provides another perspective to the sport and the work that goes on behind the scenes organising events and their importance to the athletes competing in them. Favourite outdoor activities relate to a love for water – kayaking, fishing, boating but also include cycling and tennis.

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.

 

Gavin Sanderson

Gavin Sanderson was brought up in Scotland and moved to New Zealand with his kiwi born, wife, Kath and two children, in 2011 following 14 years in Africa and the Middle East. He has 30 years’ experience in Financial services, in NZ and overseas; and is currently General Manager of Customer Experience and Performance at ANZ,  and holds an Honours Degree in Economics from University of Stirling, in Scotland.

A competitive swimmer through University, Gavin has spent the past 6 years involved in grass roots junior rugby in Auckland from coaching, refereeing and administration at club level and as a member of the Auckland Rugby Union Junior delegate sub-committee. 

He was appointed to CRNZ Board in April 2019.