Former men’s Rugby Sevens captain, Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist DJ Forbes has joined the New Zealand Olympic Committee in a newly created role dedicated to athlete engagement and wellbeing.

Forbes, who has played a role in domestic and international players associations, will bring additional expertise in player welfare and coaching performance in elite teams to the organisation.

New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith says the appointment will enhance the New Zealand Team’s performance environment and athlete experience at Olympic and Commonwealth Games.  

“Our Team Manaakitanga is built on excellence, respect, integrity and pride,” said Smith, referring to the culture and philosophy that underpins the performance of New Zealand Team.

“Athletes consistently tell us the environment we create at games time adds value, but international sport is increasingly competitive. Each and every member of the New Zealand Team must be prepared, empowered and supported as they achieve their goals on the world’s stage, and that’s where DJ comes in.”

“His expertise and experience will further strengthen the leadership capability of the New Zealand Olympic Committee and our connection to athletes.

“We warmly welcome him to the New Zealand Team.”

Forbes said he was looking forward to the new role. “I have a passion for athletes, for New Zealand sport and for the development of new and engaging approaches to management and coaching,” he said.

“There is a significant opportunity to strengthen athlete engagement in sport and I’m really pleased to take on this role and support the New Zealand Team.”

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Forbes will sit on the Tokyo 2020 Leadership Team led by Chef de Mission Rob Waddell comprising representatives across all areas of games planning including Preparation and Recovery, Operations, Medical, Sport Psychology, Athlete Support and Security.

He will also support the development of team culture and athlete engagement for the 2019 Samoa Pacific Games, San Diego Beach Games and the 2020 Lausanne Olympic Winter Youth Games. Forbes’ new role also sees him support the New Zealand Olympic Committee’s Athlete Commission.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has also appointed a Team Services Project Manager to support operations and logistics in the build-up to Tokyo 2020 and beyond. Shaun Iwikau brings event and project management experience from New Zealand Rugby League to the organisation which is now just 597 days from the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games.


DJ Forbes has been appointed Athlete Engagement Manager at the New Zealand Olympic Committee. He has held senior leadership roles in consistently high performing men’s Rugby Sevens teams for more than a decade.

Forbes represented New Zealand in Rugby Sevens at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 and was a Commonwealth gold and silver medallist at Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014 respectively. He was awarded New Zealand Sevens Player of the Year on multiple occasions and was the 2008 World Rugby Awards International Sevens Player of the Year. In November 2018 he was awarded the International Rugby Players Special Merit Award, the highest accolade for an individual rugby player. 

Forbes has represented players in forums with the Rugby Athletes Commission, been part of the International Rugby Players Association Advisory Group and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association, where he is a current board member.

As an Olympic Ambassador and RugbySmart Ambassador he has inspired and educated young New Zealanders through sport. Forbes has also facilitated International Rugby Sevens coaching education programmes.

DJ is near completion of his master’s degree in Professional Practice developing insight into player welfare as well as coach performance and understanding. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree (Hons) in Applied Management from Otago Polytechnic.

DJ Forbes is married with two children.


The New Zealand Olympic Committee was established in 1911.

Since then, we have used our unique mandate to select and lead more than 60 teams to Olympic and Commonwealth Games across the globe.

Today our athletes and teams remain at the heart of our organisation and their stories have become integral to our national identity.

They represent Aotearoa New Zealand with honour and pride and the silver fern is a symbol of their sporting success.

As an organisation, we value excellence, integrity, leadership, pride and respect. Inclusion and diversity underpin these values and carry across all the work we do. We honour and recognise the unique history and culture of Aotearoa.

It shapes and supports our teams, unifying our athletes as they inspire pride and excellence in New Zealanders.

For decades our teams and athletes have showcased our unique culture and values on the world stage as well as promoting excellence and innovation through their stories and success.

The work we do has a significant benefit and positive impact on New Zealand society and also provides international exposure, connections and opportunities for our sports, athletes, business and government leaders.

We are a charity and rely heavily on commercial and other funding partnerships as we promote sport and the Olympic values and help create New Zealand history.

We are engaged in education programmes for young New Zealanders and, through Olympic Solidarity and other partnerships, help fund athlete and sport development.

We share the inspiring stories of our athletes and teams through our own communications channels and also support the media in performing this role.

As a membership organisation, we comprise more than 40 national sporting organisations.

We are proud to represent the Olympic and Commonwealth sporting movements in New Zealand.

DJ Forbes
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