New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO and Secretary General Kereyn Smith has today announced her departure from the organisation she has led since 2011.
Bringing a strong focus on integrity, athlete wellbeing and governance Smith provided strong and stable leadership for more than 1000 New Zealand’s elite athletes and their support teams spanning three Olympic Games (London 2012, Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020), two Olympic Winter Games (Sochi 2014, PyeongChang 2018) and two Commonwealth Games (Glasgow 2014, Gold Coast 2018). Under her watch the New Zealand Olympic Committee established the Integrity Committee, Te Urunga Tu (the Maori Advisory Committee) and strengthened the capability and responsibilities of the NZOC Athletes’ Commission.
Kereyn’s leadership also saw both New Zealand and wider international stakeholders consistently rate the New Zealand Olympic Committee as a credible and capable leader in sport and the Olympic Movement.
“This role has been incredibly rewarding and I could not be more proud of what the New Zealand Olympic Committee has achieved during the last ten years. It is a job that brings many challenges, not least of those that have been faced by sport and the Olympic Movement in the last 18 months.
“I believe in the power of sport to transform and inspire communities. It has been a real joy to see our New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Teams lead the way in this regard, showcasing our nation’s character and capability both on the world stage, and here in Aotearoa. Likewise, I am proud of our standing in world sport.
“What’s more, the opportunities to network, lead and advocate on the global stage within the Olympic and Commonwealth sports movements have been incredibly special. I am committed to supporting the NZOC’s ambitions for sustained global impact and influence into the future, and will continue in leadership roles, and serving New Zealand’s interests.
“I extend my heartfelt thanks to the New Zealand Olympic Committee Board and staff as well as my colleagues in Sport NZ, HPSNZ and our National Sporting Organisations. Their contribution and collaboration to achieve on behalf of New Zealand’s Olympic and Commonwealth athletes has been invaluable to me both personally and professionally.”
Above: Kereyn Smith at the Tokyo Olympic Games flagbearer naming
New Zealand Olympic Committee President Mike Stanley said Smith is widely recognised for her leadership and advocacy skills and her passion for diversity, inclusion and fair play.
“Kereyn has been an outstanding leader for, and within, New Zealand sport. During a period in sport where athlete wellbeing has been in the spotlight more than ever, Kereyn has been consistent in her focus on athletes at the heart of our organisation. She has also worked hard for women’s leadership throughout the system and strengthened our commitment to a culture of Manaaki throughout the NZOC.”
NZOC Athletes Commission Chair Sarah Cowley Ross acknowledged Kereyn’s commitment to athlete voice and wellbeing.
“Under Kereyn’s leadership we have been able to strengthen the connection of athletes to the NZOC and with representation on the board, within Olympic Teams and on numerous working groups athletes truly contribute to decision-making at all levels.
"We have seen the NZOC Athletes’ Commission launch the sport-wide Athlete Leadership Network to empower, connect and educate athlete leaders and have seen the expansion of athlete wellbeing services to include non-carded athletes. We thank Kereyn for her contribution, passion and impact to athletes and sport. Fa'afetai lava.”
Kereyn leaves the NZOC following the incredibly successful Tokyo Olympic Campaign. The campaign saw New Zealand athletes return safely to New Zealand, bringing 20 Olympic Medals and an array of personal best and top eight finishes. She will support the transition to a new CEO, and is looking forward to pursing exciting leadership opportunities in the future.