Board of Trustees


Sport Northland is governed by a Board of Trustees, led by Co-Chairs Libby Jones and Kath Wharton and consisting of six other Trustees, including representatives of local government and Te Kahu o Taonui.  The Board currently also has two interns.

The Board focuses on governance of the organization, leaving management to the Chief Executive and Leadership Team.


  • Defining the organisation’s purpose, direction and priorities
  • Monitoring implementation progress towards this direction
  • Developing a governance policy ‘umbrella’
  • Specifying key outcomes and approving resources to achieve them
  • Approving, supporting, evaluating and rewarding the Chief Executive
  • Setting standards and evaluating the Board’s own performance
  • Ensuring there is appropriate succession planning

Libby Jones
Position: Elected Trustee (Tangata Tiriti Co-Chair)​​​​​​​
Portfolio: Audit, Finance and Risk Committee, CE Performance Review Committee, Te Kahui Hourua Roopu, Executive Committee, Board Appointments Panel and Health ​​​​​​​
Length of Service: Trustee since 2016
Background: Libby has a strong commitment to health, fitness and wellbeing across all our Northland communities. She lives on a farm near Paparoa and is very involved in her local community including with her family’s sporting activities. She enjoys walking, tramping, playing social badminton and tennis.  Her other board roles include Volunteering Northland, Otamatea High School Board of Trustees and Rural Support Trust Northland.  Libby was previously a director at Northland District health Board and Councillor at Kaipara District Council. She has a Bachelor of Social Work and is Manager of Jigsaw North Family Services in Whangarei. . 

Kath Wharton
Position: Appointed Trustee (Tangata Whenua Co-Chair)
Portfolio: Audit, Finance and Risk Committee, CE Performance Review Committee, Board Appointments Panel, Executive Committee, and Te Kahui Hourua Roopu   ​​​​​​​
Length of Service: Since January 2022
​​​​​​​Background: Kath is a descendent of Te Hikutu, Te Mahurehure, Ngāti Tahu me Ngāti Whaoa Hapu.  Born and raised in Mangere South Auckland she returned home to lead the strategic thinking and innovation practice as Manager for the Healthy Families Far North team.

Kath utilises social innovation practices to encourage active collaboration across different sectors and levels of the system to affect meaningful social change, ensuring whānau are at the table to design powerful alternatives to the status-quo.  Representing New Zealand in several sports Kath is passionate about Rugby League and is a former Kiwi Fern, NRLW Warriors player and NRL Māori All Star, she loves kai and adventures.

Name: Anne Cooper
Position: Elected Trustee
Portfolio: Audit, Finance and Risk Committee, CE Performance Review Committee and Education​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​Length of Service: Trustee since 2015
​​​​​​​Background: Anne Cooper is the principal of Whangarei Girls' High School and has been since 2007.  She is passionate about encouraging students to make the most of opportunities to participate in sport - develop teamwork, resilience, leadership, initiative, commitment and learning from mistakes.  Anne believes strongly in the importance of fitness and active recreation for everybody.

Babe Kapa
Position: Appointed Trustee
Portfolio: Tbc
Length of Service: Trustee since 2023
Background:  Babe is a descendant of Ngati Whakaeke and Te Uri o Tai hapu; Ngapuhi, Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa, Ngati Kahu Iwi.

He has experienced a broad career from administration, senior management, teaching plus youth and senior coaching/management in rugby and waka ama at club and representative levels.

Being northland grown [Kaikohe] this role is a privilege to him to represent the four Local Councils.

Tony Morris
Position: Elected Trustee
Portfolio: Audit, Finance and Risk Committee (Chair), Governance Mark and Sports Endowment Fund
Length of Service: Trustee since 2017
Background: Tony is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and the Institute of Directors. He went to school in Whangarei and has spent most of his life in Whangarei.  Tony is currently the Chief Financial Officer for Northern Rescue Helicopter Limited. He is also currently a Trustee on the Hockey Foundation Board.  Tony was previously a director of YHPJ, Chartered Accountants for 18 years and was also on the Hockey NZ Board.  When away from his business activities, Tony enjoys hockey, golf and mountain biking.​​​​​​​

April Rawiri
Position: Appointed Trustee
Portfolio: Te Kahui Hourua Roopu
Length of Service: Since January 2022
Background:  April is a descendant of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu and Ngāti Whātua iwi and lives in the Far North/Te Hiku area. April has previously spent time in the sector as a kaimahi at Sport Northland (within He Oranga Poutama) and is very passionate about hauora, hākinakina, ngā mahi a te rēhia, ngā taonga tākaro and encouraging opportunities to keep our people healthy and active.

As a mum, April supports her tamariki in multiple sporting opportunities and enjoys spending time in the outdoors with her whānau.

Vince Cocurullo
Position: Board Member
BackgroundVince Cocurullo has served previously as a Whangārei District Councillor for 3 terms, and is the current Mayor of Whangārei. Born and raised in Whangārei, Mayor Cocurullo attended Pompallier College before completing his NZCE in Civil Engineering. In addition to sitting on our Board, Mayor Cocurullo is the President of the Whangarei Club, sits on the Board of the Automobile Association, was a former board member of the Northland Chamber of Commerce, former Chair and Board Member of Northable, former President and current member of the Rotary Club of Whangarei South and has been a local business owner for more than 23 years. Vince is passionate about Whangarei District and the Northland region, and always seeks opportunities to better serve his community.

Sharon Carroll
Position: Board Intern
Background: Sharon has been the Active Recreation and Community Sports Co-ordinator for Parafed Northland for the past 3 years. Sharon is also the Chair for Northland Sports Coalition Executive, a Waipū Lions member, Chair of the Events Committee for Swimming Northland and is involved in a variety of community projects and events. Sharon is extremely passionate about creating inclusive opportunities for all to be active within our community.

Rachel Birch
Position: Board Intern
Background: Rachel is proud to be Ngāpuhi and has ties to Panguru and Motuti through her mother.  Whangarei became her family's home in 2015 after 10 years in Russell with GP husband, Ian.  Rachel has been in medical administration for the past 30 years, and she is the practice manager at Northland Psychiatry.   Her heart for the community is evident in her fundraising initiatives and volunteering roles.  Rachel pursues an active and healthy lifestyle being an enthusiastic member of Activ8 Northland & Kensington Fitness. She is a vocalist and has performed with the Whangarei Basin City Big Band since 2020.

Sport Northland is proud to have been awarded the Governance Mark for Sport and Recreation in New Zealand from crown agency Sport New Zealand.

The award was presented to Nigel Brereton, Chair of Sport Northland by Jason Shoebridge, Deputy Chair of Sport New Zealand at the 2018 Conbrio Northland Sports Awards.

To improve governance in the sport and recreation sector Sport New Zealand introduced the Governance Mark a number of years ago. Developed by the sector for the sector, the Governance Mark is a robust and independently verified process that assesses the standard of governance in an organisation.

The Mark indicates the organisation is clear about its purpose and the benefits it intends to deliver to its community. It indicates that it has good governance systems in place, understands its role as distinct from management and is correctly focussed on strategy and the future direction of the organisation.

To receive the acknowledgement, the Sport Northland board has demonstrated it has a considered process for development of strategy and an ongoing monitoring regime.

For the full media article on Sport Northland’s awarding of Governance Mark click here