Sports commit to diversity and inclusion through #sportforeveryone

31 May 2016

Some of New Zealand’s most popular sports have come together today (31 May 2016) to commit to developing and implementing policies, programmes and practices that encourage greater diversity and inclusion across sport.

As part of the announcement New Zealand Rugby, New Zealand Football, New Zealand Cricket, New Zealand Rugby League, Netball New Zealand and Hockey New Zealand have committed to establishing a framework for diversity and inclusion within the individual organisations and establishing a programme of agreed areas of focus by 31 December 2016.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive, Steve Tew said the sports-led approach stemmed from a common desire to do more to encourage diversity and inclusion across all sport following the findings of the Out on the Fields research in 2015, the first international study on homophobia in sport.

“In working alongside other major sports, we’ve seen that rugby is not unique in the challenges it faces to be considered truly inclusive in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and ability.

“This is not about creating a single policy aimed at one particular area of inclusion but teaming up with other sports to get the message across that everyone should be encouraged and be able to participate and enjoy sport without prejudice and in welcoming environments.” 

Sport New Zealand, High Performance Sport New Zealand and the New Zealand Olympic Committee have committed to supporting the efforts of the national sporting organisations through their own integrity frameworks, which advocate for an inclusive sporting environment.

In welcoming the initiative, Sport New Zealand CEO, Peter Miskimmin said “sport is part of who we are as Kiwis, and we’re very good at it. Our participation rates are among the highest in the world and we produce more than our fair share of winners on the world stage. That love of sport provides many benefits to individuals, to communities and to our society, so it’s important we protect sport from anything that undermines its integrity,” he said.

“We probably all recognise the threat of things like corruption, match-fixing and doping, but just as important are things like sideline behaviour, protection of children in sport, good governance and, the focus today, ensuring sport in inclusive. I applaud New Zealand Rugby for their leadership in this space, and all of the sports involved. They have all stepped up to say that sport is important and its value for all New Zealanders must not be underestimated.”

New Zealand Football CEO, Andy Martin said the sports involved shared a common view that there was no room for discrimination in the sporting culture of New Zealand.

“As well as encouraging greater inclusion across sport, we also want to make it clear that racism, homophobia or any other form of discrimination won’t be tolerated.”

New Zealand Rugby League Interim CEO, Alex Hayton said that in working together over the past year, the sports had shared experiences and approaches that could be rolled out in any sport.

“As well as committing to establishing NZRL’s priority areas in the inclusion and diversity space, it makes so much sense that sport works together and with the same message that sport is for everyone.”

New Zealand Cricket COO, Anthony Crummy, said signing a public commitment to greater inclusivity fitted nicely with his organisation’s strategic vision of making cricket a game for all New Zealanders, irrespective of social demographic considerations.

“This initiative is another opportunity for NZC to emphasise the importance of making everyone feel welcome – not only in terms of cricket but sport in general, and the wider New Zealand community.”

Netball New Zealand CEO, Hilary Poole said that the value of having inclusive sporting environments was identified as having a significant positive impact on people’s enjoyment of sport.

“A team or club can be much like a family or whanau. People are all different but many share a common bond through sport and it’s something quite special when that environment is considered truly inclusive.”         

Hockey New Zealand, acting CEO Ian Francis said that it was clear sports needs to adapt to changing New Zealand or risk being left behind.

“Our society has changed so much over the years, and will only continue to evolve. Sports need to remain relevant to their entire communities and reflect that in everything they do right through to the top level. As well as being the right thing to do, a focus on diversity and inclusion presents enormous opportunity to increase participation.”

(L to R) Alex Hayton, Ian Francis, Anthony Crummy, Hilary Poole, Steve Tew and Andy Martin, New Zealand Rugby, NZ Football, NZRL, Netball NZ, Hockey NZ, NZOC and Sport NZ together sign a commitment to diversity and inclusion across sports in New Zealand. #sportforeveryone Rydges Hotel, Auckland. 31 May 2016. Copyright Image: William Booth /