Raelene Castle appointed CEO of Sport NZ

Former Rugby Australia [RA] chief Raelene Castle has been appointed CEO of Sport New Zealand.

Castle will replace Peter Miskimmin -- who steps down after 11 years in the role -- on December 15.

"Raelene brings tremendous breadth and depth of experience as a CEO in sports administration and is a proven people and organisational leader," Sport NZ Chairman Bill Moran said. "The Board of Sport NZ see her has the ideal person to lead our organisation forward as we continue our important work in addressing declining participation among young people and protecting the strength and integrity of our sector.

"Raelene is an open and down-to-earth leader. She is someone who has tackled complex and challenging matters, working with and through others. She also deeply understands the sport and recreation landscape and the value this brings to individuals, communities and our society."

Castle resigned from Rugby Australia in April after nearly three years at the helm, saying she believed the board no longer wanted her in the role amid a financial crisis compounded by the novel coronavirus shutdown.

Prior to joining RA she had been the chief executive at National Rugby League club Canterbury Bulldogs and led Netball New Zealand from 2007-13.

Miskimmin said in August he would be stepping down from the role and Castle quickly emerged as a potential successor and said her first challenge would be to increase participation and help sports organisations through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, the government announced a NZ$265 million 'Sports Recovery Package' for the next four years to help sports organisations cope with the impact of the pandemic. The first instalment of NZ$80 million was released in July.

"With the Sport Recovery Package there is a once in a lifetime opportunity to solidify the sector and reshape it to be more robust and deliver more participation opportunities," Castle said. "I'm looking forward to being part of that work."