Announcement of the New Zealand Aquatics Collective
Swimming NZ is stoked to announce the creation of the New Zealand Aquatics Collective in partnership with our fellow aquatic sports. This is an initiative outlining our collective commitment to the promotion and support of all aquatic sports, initially involving the 4 World Aquatics disciplines of swimming, diving, water polo, and artistic swimming. The collective is one of the key projects in Swimming NZ’s Strengthen & Adapt programme funding, where we have taken the opportunity to transform the organisation as part of support from Sport NZ to rebuild after a few difficult years with the Covid-19 pandemic impacting the delivery of sports.
We believe that aquatic sports offer numerous physical and mental health benefits, and we want to ensure that athletes of all ages and abilities have access to them. Through connecting, the aquatics collective can pool our resources and expertise to achieve greater success at all levels. This drastically improves our capacity to increase participation in sports, provide greater support for athlete performance, and build more robust and sustainable aquatics programs and organisations.
One of our primary goals is to provide opportunities for athletes to connect with each other and develop their skills. We plan to organise events and competitions that bring together athletes from across the country, as well as training programs that help athletes improve their technique, strength, and endurance. Through these initiatives, we hope to foster a sense of community and support that will help athletes reach their full potential.
At the same time, we are committed to promoting inclusivity and diversity in aquatics sports. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in these sports, regardless of their background or skill-level. To that end, we will be working with community organizations, schools, and other partners to ensure that aquatics sports are accessible to all.
In addition, our organisation will also be working to raise awareness about the benefits of aquatic sports and the importance of water safety. We believe that by educating the public about the importance of swimming and other aquatic activities, we can help more people experience the joy and benefits that come with being active in the water.
Swimming NZ’s CEO, Steve Johns, sees this as a transformational opportunity for the aquatics sports sector.
“We are proud to be working closely together with our fellow aquatic sports in this collective. It’s an exciting development for our sports and positions us to provide greater support for our members and those who love being active in the water. This is significant progress for our aquatic sports.”
Swimming NZ’s Implementation Manager, Carter Swift, believes the collective will be beneficial for everyone involved in aquatic sports.
“The benefits of collaborating will ultimately lead to increased resources and benefits for all involved. By working together, our organisations have an increased capacity to share knowledge, expertise, and resources that can help us achieve our goals more effectively.”
Water Polo New Zealand's CEO, Jan Shearer, is confident that the collective will help to foster a vibrant and sustainable future for aquatics in New Zealand.
"The New Zealand Aquatics Collective marks a significant milestone in the development of the aquatic sports within New Zealand. This initiative represents a powerful collaboration of key stakeholders in our industry, including Water Polo New Zealand, who will work together to support and grow aquatics in New Zealand. The collective will allow for greater sharing of resources, expertise and ideas, and will provide a unified voice for the sector. I am excited about the prospects this will bring, and am confident that the collective will help to foster a vibrant and sustainable future for aquatics in New Zealand."
Diving New Zealand's Chair, Lindsay Stone, is excited by the possibility for athletes across all aquatics disciplines to attend major events as one combined team.
"Whilst maintaining individual identities, NSOs working together to create administrative efficiencies is an obvious benefit for everyone. However, there are also exciting possibilities for athletes across all aquatics disciplines to attend major events as one combined team under one uniform. Similarly, a multi-sport National Champs and/or Awards function could be appealing to athletes, fans and even sponsors alike."
Artistic Swimming NZ's Chair, Shirley Hooper, is a wonderful opportunity for us to unify the aquatics voice – advocating collectively for the athletes from all our sports.
"The Aquatics Collective provides a wonderful opportunity for us to unify the aquatics voice – advocating collectively for the athletes from all our sports for media coverage, sponsorship, affordable access to facilities, uniforms and so much more. From an athlete perspective, providing connections between individuals who are spending hours in pools perfecting their own unique sport will be invaluable. There is real power in knowing you are part of a wider team – and having that wider team behind you.”
The aquatics collective plans to utilise collaboration to improve upon existing systems such as:
Collaborating on joint initiatives and projects. This could include hosting joint events or tournaments, sharing facilities or equipment, or working together on research or advocacy efforts.
Increase the opportunity for partnerships and sponsorships. This could lead to an increase in funding, visibility, and resources for the collective.
Utilising resources and policies across the aquatic sports. This could streamline our workloads by working together and allow us to focus on enhancing the experience for our members.
We are excited about the future of aquatics sports in New Zealand and believe that our collective can play a vital role in promoting and supporting these sports. We invite everyone who shares our passion for aquatic sports to join us on this exciting journey. Whether you are an athlete, coach, or fan, we look forward to working with you to build a vibrant and thriving aquatics sports community.
One of the first initiatives available on the New Zealand Aquatics Collective website is the “Be Heard” portal. This portal has been designed for athletes to literally “be heard” and have a voice on their wellbeing in all capacities. This is a confidential anonymous tool that will be monitored by professionals who will direct conversations or refer as appropriate.
Swimming NZ’s Diversity, Inclusion & Wellbeing Manager, Dr Cherie Harris, is excited about introducing this offering to our aquatic sports community.
“Be Heard is an opportunity for athletes to be just that, heard. We value our athlete voice and above all else their wellbeing, and we can’t support them if we don’t know what is needed. We are excited to offer this additional communication tool to our wider members.”