WELCOME ​​​​​​​

Who are we?


All Northlanders moving more for enhanced wellbeing.


To enrich Northlander's lives by inspiring and enabling more movement.

Sport Northland, one of 14 Regional Sports Trusts nationwide (as a collective, known as Sportnet), is a registered charitable trust with the Charities Commission under the Charities Act 2005, with the registration number CC27987 (relevant information about Sport Northland can be found at the Charities Commission website at www.charities.govt.nz).

Sport Northland serves a population of over 180,000 people that includes a region with three district councils, one regional council, 34 secondary schools, 132 primary schools, 46 regional sports organisations and over 600 sport and recreation clubs.

Sport Northland’s core purpose is to ‘Enrich Northlander's lives by inspiring and enabling more movement’ and although its core business is the achievement of Sport NZ outcomes, Sport Northland endeavours to encourage people into play, active recreation and sport through all its areas of operation.

Sport Northland’s Events Team has a large and diverse calendar of events which caters for thousands of participants annually. The Sport Northland Run/Walk Series of seven events attracts 8000 people annually, with the Northland Waste Kerikeri Half Marathon the flagship event of the series. We also contract out events that we own – both the Tour of Northland Cycle Challenge and the Northland Home Show are delivered by external agencies, with Sport Northland receiving a fee in both cases.

The Active Communities team purpose of why we do what we do is to lead, empower and tautoko people on their journey.  The team is broken up into the following sub-teams: Healthy Lifestyles (Green Prescription, Strength & Balance and Active Workplaces), Systems (both local and regional), Watersafe and BikeReady (delivery into primary schools), Rangatahi (Secondary Schools events and development), Healthy Active Learning (Primary school support for developing increased PA and healthy eating), and Sector Strategy & Community Funding (supporting and collaborating with many partners to implement actions from Kōkiri ai te Waka Hourua and distributing funding through Break Away and Tū Manawa Active Aotearoa).

Sport Northland owns and operates Kensington Fitness and McKay Stadium and also owns (but contracts out the management) of the Whangarei Aquatic Centre, the Bay of Islands Recreation Centre and the Kauri Coast Community Pool.  Over 600,000 visits occur annually to these facilities.

The Business Improvement team supports all the above areas of operation through the following back office functions: Corporate Services (customer services, finance and administration), Communications/Marketing, Sponsorship/Funding and Insights/Evaluation.

Sport Northland also owns and operates the Northland Sports House in Kensington, Whangarei. This facility is the home of sports administration in Northland, housing not only Sport Northland’s main office, but also many of Northland’s regional sporting organizations.

The Sport Northland team comprises over 80 staff (45 fulltime and 35 part-time), a 10 strong Board of Trustees and 80 sponsors and partners of varying levels.



​​​​​​​Sport Northland, in its present form, was established in 1991 upon the merging of two Northland charitable trusts, the Northland Recreation and Sports Trust (NRST) and the Northland Sports Foundation (NSF).

NRST was first established in 1977 to oversee the development and operation of the original Kensington Stadium (completed 1981) and the Kensington Squash & Fitness Centre (completed 1986), while the NSF came into being in 1989 in order to deliver Hillary Commission programmes in Northland.

After an unsettled period in the late 80s and early 90s, when the financial future of the NRST and its facilities were put in doubt, the two Trusts merged to form Sport Northland in 1991.

The Trust continued to deliver Hillary Commission programmes and was also able to turn around the fortunes of the rapidly aging Kensington facilities.

Events Northland and Northland Outdoors were established in the mid 90’s as divisions of Sport Northland and, together with Kensington Fitness, began to operate as businesses in their own right, with an intentional goal of diversifying the Trust’s income.

By 2002 the facilities at Kensington had been totally redeveloped through a funding partnership between the Whangarei District Council (WDC), ASB Trusts and Lotteries. The result was the linking of the two facilities to form what is now the ASB Leisure Centre.

In 2001, due mainly to a proposal from WDC after the success of the McKay Stadium partnership, Sport Northland agreed to the WDC transferring ownership of the Whangarei Aquatic Centre to the trust, who then set about the challenge of accessing the funding to fully redevelop the aging facility. Finally in 2004, through contributions from WDC and ASB Trusts, Sport Northland had secured the funding for the redevelopment, and construction began in early 2006. The redevelopment was completed in September 2007.

In 2003, SPARC (now Sport New Zealand) undertook independent capability audits on all 17 Regional Sports Trusts in New Zealand.  The results from Sport Northland’s capability audit were significant, confirming the stature of the Trust as one of the highest performing across the country.

2005 saw Sport Northland lead and manage the development of the Northland Sport & Physical Activity Strategy, the success of which led to a collaborative partnership for the implementation of the strategy from 2007-09. Innovative local programmes/initiatives such as 10,000 Steps Northland, GRx Communities, Taitamariki Tuu Ora and Community Hubs have contributed towards the trust’s overall purpose.

2009/10 was a year of huge change for the organization. Sport Northland raised the funds to be able to complete construction on the new ASB Northland Sports House at Kensington Park, Whangarei.

SPARC was also undergoing huge change itself, and being our major investors, this change rippled through onto Sport Northland. A new strategic plan, a changed funding model and a new funding initiative (Kiwisport) forced Sport Northland to completely re-look at their delivery approach. Following a restructure of the organization, the trust was more set up to increasing participation in sport and recreation, with a major focus on supporting targeted sports in targeted communities.

The advent of Kiwisport also changed the trust’s mode of operation – Sport Northland was now also a funder and was responsible for the allocation of Kiwisport funding to stakeholders in Northland to get more kids into organized sport.

Sport NZ also undertook their second capability audit on the 17 RSTs throughout the country. Again, Sport Northland came through with flying colours, a score of 69% placing it first equal across the network of RSTs. A third was undertaken in 2015 and Sport Northland managed to increase this to 73% and into the high performing category.

A new strategic plan in 2017 was followed by a new operating structure, with the Trust’s focus changing to community-led development of the both local systems and the regional system, in addition to direct delivery to the end-user still occurring where gaps exist across the region.

Sport Northland’s success in facilities continued to flourish – after a joint approach from both Far North District Council and the local Kawakawa community in 2015, Sport Northland took-over ownership of the Bay of Islands Recreation Centre in late 2017 after an extensive period of due diligence. After the success of this partnership, Kaipara District Council and the local Community Pool Trust in Dargaville approached Sport Northland with a similar deal, which resulted in the same outcome – ownership of the Kauri Coast Community Pool was transferred to Sport Northland in early 2019. In both cases, a similar model exists with Sport Northland owning and maintaining the asset and an external contractor directly managing the facilities through an operational subsidy from Council.

Sport NZ awarded Sport Northland with Governance Mark in 2018. Sport NZ introduced the Governance Mark to improve governance in the sport and recreation sector. It was developed by the sector for the sector, with the Governance Mark being a robust and independently verified process that endorses a high standard of good practice governance in the organization.