The New Zealand Olympic Committee is celebrating an historic Special General Assembly (SGA) in Auckland today, which has seen the organisation elect its first female President, as well as honour its outgoing President and name three lifetime members.

Highly respected Sports Governance leader Liz Dawson is set to take up the NZOC Presidency after being elected by the NZOC Membership at today’s SGA.

Dawson brings significant leadership and governance experience from across the public, private, and sports sectors from within New Zealand and offshore. She has been directly involved in the Olympic Movement and is an outstanding advocate for sport and athletes. In 2022 Dawson delivered the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand as Chair of the Local Organising Committee during the Covid-19 pandemic and facing extraordinary circumstances. Dawson was recommended for the role by the NZOC Board Appointment’s Panel.

“I’m honoured to be taking up this role and look forward to supporting and the experienced New Zealand Olympic Committee Board, Management and staff as they create an environment which allows our athletes and teams to excel and make our country proud at both Olympic and Commonwealth Games,” said Dawson.

“The organisation has an incredible opportunity as we prepare for Paris 2024, ahead of a host of Games in and around our part of the world, culminating with the Brisbane Commonwealth Games in 2032.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to outgoing NZOC President Mike Stanley who has been in the role since 2009. Mike has been a tireless leader of the organisation, leading it through some challenging times with resolute and clear direction. I thank Mike for his service and look forward to his ongoing contribution to sport in New Zealand.”

Dawson has been a NZOC Board member for 11 years and is the current Board Deputy Chair. She chairs the NZOC Integrity Committee and is a member of the Performance and Remuneration Committee. Dawson has served on the ANOC and ONOC Gender Equity Committees within the wider Olympic Movement. She was awarded an International Olympic Committee’s Women in Sport Diploma in 2021.

Dawson will take up the role from November 1st and will be the first female President in the organisations 111-year history.

Mike Stanley, CNZM, Olympian 504, Elected Honorary President

Outgoing NZOC President, Mike Stanley, has been elected Honorary NZOC President as he finishes his term, a reflection of the highest esteem in which he is held by the Olympic and Commonwealth Games movements in New Zealand.

The role of Honorary President role is created under the New Zealand Olympic Committee Constitution and recognizes exceptional service. The appointment has been made only once previously in New Zealand Olympic Committee history when Sir Eion Edgar was elected to the position in 2009. Stanley’s election recognizes his longstanding contribution to the New Zealand Olympic Committee, New Zealand sport and New Zealand athletes has been made throughout his thirteen-year tenure as President.

“It’s been an honour and a privilege to have worked alongside so many fine people in this role,” said Stanley.
“I’m incredibly proud of the NZOC, the team culture of manaaki we’ve grown, and our athletes and the way they represent New Zealand both on and off the field of play.
“I’m now looking forward to being our games teams’ biggest supporter and celebrating the ongoing success of the NZOC, our member sports, and their athletes.”

An Olympian and World Champion Rower, Stanley has been New Zealand Olympic Committee President since 2009 and has served on the Board since 2003.

During this time, Stanley made an exceptional contribution to both the NZOC, and Olympic and Commonwealth sport in New Zealand. His leadership as President has seen the New Zealand Olympic Committee become globally recognized for its commitment to integrity, athlete voice and wellbeing, gender equality and team culture. He has been an active supporter of gender equality and has advocated for gender balanced boards and commissions throughout New Zealand sport.

Stanley was a driving force behind the establishment of Te Urunga Tū (Māori Advisory Committee) which has guided the organization as it works towards greater inclusion of Māori culture. Stanley provided exceptional leadership throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, balancing the health, wellbeing, performances, and experience of New Zealand athletes at Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 and Birmingham 2022. Throughout his tenure, the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Teams have consistently delivered outstanding performances, underpinned by a powerful and positive culture of Manaaki.

New Zealand Olympic Committee Order Holders Named

Three long-time supporters of the New Zealand Olympic Committee have had their service recognised by being named NZOC Order Holders.

Barry Maister, Ranui Ngarimu and Simon Wickham were officially named Order Holders, at the Special General Assembly. The Order is an award of merit, recognising outstanding service to the Olympic Movement and/or Commonwealth Sport Movement. 

The New Zealand Olympic Committee Order has been presented on only seventeen occasions in the past. The recipient’s contributions to New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games sport are detailed below.
Barry Maister

Barry Maister is recognised throughout the global Olympic Movement for his honesty, integrity, and absolute respect for athletes. An Olympian and IOC Olympic Order Holder and a former IOC Member and NZOC Secretary General, Maister embodies the Olympic values. He has made a significant contribution to New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Sport history.

Barry grew up with sport and was a passionate educator and advocate for young people. He was part of the 1976 New Zealand hockey team that took home gold from the Montreal Olympic Games and, following a 30-year career as a teacher, principal, and school rector, he took over the reins of the New Zealand Olympic Committee as Secretary General – a post which he held until 2011. He went on to sit at the top tables of global sport, being made an IOC Member in 2010 from where he was appointed to Commissions that enabled to focus on benefitting youth, athletes, and education through sport.

In 2012, Barry was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit and in 2020, was promoted to Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the sport and community.

He was formally acknowledged by the IOC President Thomas Bach with the IOC’s highest honour, the Olympic Order, in 2019.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee acknowledges the significant impact Barry has had on the Olympic and Commonwealth Sport movements in New Zealand, and his commitment to youth and the power of sport to make the world a better place.

Ranui Ngarimu

Ranui Ngarimu, Ngai Tahu, has been instrumental in the creation of the New Zealand Team culture of Manaaki and the additional cultures and traditions that provide athletes with a strong sense of national identity and the values that ground our teams. 

A master weaver, Ngarimu created our most valued taonga – the kākahu Te Mahutonga. Te Mahutonga is worn by Nga Pou Hapai (the flag bearers) at each Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and it carries with it the mana of the New Zealand Team. The New Zealand Team’s valuable taonga and symbols were gifted with the support and foresight of Ngarimu, including the creation of pounamu pendants for flag bearers and  members of the New Zealand Olympic Teams, and the Mauri stone which imparts its spirit and mana to our athletes.

Ngarimu has also guided the greater inclusion of Tikanga Māori into the New Zealand Olympic Committee organisational strategy and philosophy. Her ability to connect with athletes, dignitaries and those unfamiliar with Tikanga Māori has contributed to her significant and valued impact.

The New Zealand Team acknowledges Ngarimu’s significant impact and contribution to the culture and performance of the New Zealand Team and New Zealand Olympic Committee.

Simon Wickham

Simon Wickham is a strong advocate for Olympic and Commonwealth Sport in New Zealand. A natural leader with an in-depth knowledge of high performance and community sport, Wickham has added considerable value to the New Zealand Olympic Committee, Olympic and Commonwealth Games, and athletes for more than fifteen years.

Wickham was a member of the NZOC Board between 2005 – 2017 and sat on the High Performance Sport New Zealand Board between 2011-2018. He is a former Chair of Gymnastics New Zealand, former CEO of Yachting New Zealand and former CEO of The Trusts Stadium and Arena. 

Wickham is also an Olympic and Commonwealth Games Selector – a role he has held since 2006. In this time his considerable experience has seen him sit on the NZOC Selection Panel for both Olympic and Olympic Winter Games as well as the Commonwealth and Commonwealth Youth Games. He has signalled that Paris 2024 will be his last games as a Selector.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee acknowledges Wickham’s contribution to sport and especially the Olympic and Commonwealth Games movements in New Zealand.

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