CEO: 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.  He also 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.

Tom took over the CEO role at CRNZ in 2019.


Stacey joined Canoe Racing in 2013 coming from a background in financial accounting and management as well as running various businesses.

She lives on the North Shore and has three children.


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. 

HEAD COACH-WOMEN : 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.

HEAD COACH- MEN: Tim Brabants

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, as well as winning 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.

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

He is based in Cambridge , where he lives with his wife and two children.



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.


Emily 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.

She started as a full time performance coach in 2022 and is based at the CRNZ High Performance Centre in Cambridge.


Danika started at Canoe Racing NZ  in 2021, after 6 years in the Participation and Development department at Yachting NZ.

Danika is responsible for leading the Participation and Engagement strategic pillars, to help grow and develop paddling in New Zealand.

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




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 International Technical Official and has held many international roles at World Cups, Junior World Championships and the Paralympics.  


CHAIR: Jan Shearer

Jan is a three time Olympian winning a silver medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in the 470 yachting class, she is also a world match racing womens champion.

Immersed in high performance sport for many years, she married Murray Jones, the six-time America’s Cup-winning sailor and designer. They have two children,  their daughter Gemma Jones competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics finishing fourth and their son Matthew also represented NZ in yachting.

Dunedin-born Jan, worked for much of her adult life as an engineer in Dunedin and Auckland, she lived overseas for five years and returned in 2010 taking up roles in sports governance and administration.  She  served four years on the Tennis NZ Board, four years on the Snow Sports NZ Board, and three years on the Melanoma NZ Board.   She was recruited to the role of Head of Performance at Tennis NZ (2012 to 2017) .  She was appointed to the role of CEO at Snow Sports NZ (2017-2020), living in Wanaka.

Currently Jan works for Team NZ and TVNZ and was involved in the recent Americas Cup Yachting event in Auckland.

Jan joined the CRNZ Board in 2017.


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. 

Simone Spencer

Simone Spencer

Simone has worked in sports management for more than 10 years.  Currently, as Portfolio Manager at Aktive, she is the strategic lead for the organisation’s work across the following areas: Women and Girls, Active Recreation, Coach Development and Good Sports®. Prior to this, she was the Sport Manager at Surf Life Saving Northern Region for six years.

Simone has also been a business owner and was a Constable in the NZ Police for five years and, as a result, has operational, strategic and governance experience.

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

Simone is passionate about seeing young people have quality sport experiences and committed to seeing women and girls realise their potential through sport and active recreation.

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.


Greg Adlam

Greg joined the CRNZ board in 2021 as a club delegate through his involvement with the Mana Kayak Club since 2007. Moving from paddling into coaching, Greg later became involved in the CRNZ development programme. Here he focused more on management and since 2015 has managed NZ Junior and U23 teams at regattas in NZ, Australia and Europe. 
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. Greg is a member of the CRNZ Audit and Risk committee.

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.