Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti’s board hat-trick

New board members from left: Belinda Mackay, Alice Pettigrew and Tui Babbington

THREE new board members have been elected onto the Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti board. 

This followed the resignation of Mayor Rehette Stoltz last year, and a decision by the Board to increase its number of board members. 

Tui Babbington, Belinda Mackay and Alice Pettigrew are the new additions and will add a significant breadth of experience and skill, bringing the board to 10 members – six men and four women. 

Self-employed Contractor, Tui Babbington said she is grateful for the opportunity as a young member to get board exposure and work alongside a strong and passionate team of community leaders.

The Ngati Porou woman and soon-to-be mother of two has extensive international and local experience in project management and economic development.  Tui currently leads a couple of projects approved by the Provincial Growth Fund. 

Babbington’s passion lies on the East Coast and seeing our rangatahi and tamariki thrive in their environments. 

Belinda Mackay, owner of dnature diagnostics & research, a DNA diagnostic business founded 10 years ago, joins the board to provide marketing and business expertise. Belinda is also a trustee of Eat Smart Tairāwhiti and a board member of the Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to moving to Gisborne, Belinda worked in a variety of consumer goods and strategic marketing roles in Auckland for multinational companies including Nestle & Fonterra.

Mackay believes while competitive sport is great for building self-esteem and resilience, she also sees participation in sport being equally important.

“I’m particularly keen to see the rate of sports participation amongst our teens improve.  Along with physical activity, I’m interested in health and nutrition and how these factors contribute to our overall well-being,” says the mother-of-three. 

General Manager Business Development at Eastland Group, Alice Pettigrew is the final piece to the puzzle and is looking forward to giving back to our region at a governance level through the experience she has gained over her career. 

Uawa raised Pettigrew began her career overseas in finance roles across Australia and London, before returning to Gisborne in 2005 where she started her family and continued working in finance and commercial roles.

Pettigrew has an interest in the community facilities review and looks forward to supporting the outcomes and development of new and existing facilities in our region.

“I do believe we have a real opportunity to provide best of class facilities and share the operational and administrative functions across multiple clubs with the primary objective of reducing costs for these small, generally volunteer-led clubs and organisations,” said Pettigrew. 

Chairman of the Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Board, Steve Berezowski said, “The range of knowledge and experiences these three highly skilled women bring to the table, both professionally and sporting-wise, will definitely add value and strengthen our Board.” 

The Te Wharau School Principal said the new additions also increase the board diversity to reflect the community they serve. 

Sports all set for level 1

IT’S been a long time coming for sporting codes in Tairāwhiti who are chomping at the bit to get back on the field after delaying their seasons for several weeks. 

With level one now in place, there will no longer be limits on gathering numbers and no physical distancing but, contact tracing and hygiene will continue. 

It’s been a challenging time for the sporting sector with the majority forecasting significant financial implications from COVID-19. 

Kylie Turuwhenua-Tapsell, General Manager of Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti said, “It’s a huge relief that our codes can start their season without having significant restrictions in place.

“The lockdown really highlighted the role that being physically active plays in keeping us mentally well and with a return to unrestricted sport and recreation, this will reinforce the social, whānau and community connections that come with being part of a team or sporting community.

“It will also be important for our sporting sector to understand that whānau will continue to experience other barriers in the coming months. Barriers such as reduced whānau income, balancing time and readiness to return to play or even just making it fun to play again are all considerations we’ll need to be aware of and adapt accordingly.”

Horouta Waka Ama Committee Member and Head Coach, Kiwi Campbell said, “Our local paddling community is excited about the move to level 1 and being able to move back to our norm of paddling pre-COVID.

“The ability to mix and mingle freely embodies the culture of our sport, however, we must continue to stay vigilant around hygiene.”

Poverty Bay Rugby Union Chief Executive, Josh Willoughby said, “We planned for a lot of scenarios and having the best-case one come out on top was just the icing on the cake for a return to community rugby. 

“Our clubs have been awesome, each completing a return to play health and safety plan that’s been signed off by the Council in preparation for playing under Alert Level 2. These aren’t required under alert level 1 but with these plans ready there should be no disruption should we return to level 2.

Willoughby was relieved to hear there will be no limits on gathering numbers as it has taken a huge amount of pressure off some of the rugby clubs whose grounds were open spaces – which would have been difficult to track the number of people coming in and out.

Gisborne Netball Centre Manager, Alissa Hall said, “We’re rapt with the timing to move to Level 1. The logistics of coordinating everyone at Victoria Domain was looking to be tricky, and we were most likely going to have to discourage spectators as much as possible. Under Level 1 this is not a concern, and we are looking forward to welcoming our netball community and supporters back.”

Competitions for each sport in our region will be starting at various times over the next few weeks so keep an eye out in the herald for the sports draws and on your club/regional sports organisations social media pages for more information.

Hygiene packs dished out to codes

The picture above was taken when we delivered some packs to the Gisborne Netball Centre. Photo from left to right: Cristal Kemp (Gisborne Netball Centre), Monique McLeod (Gisborne Netball Centre), Stefan Pishief (Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Chief Executive), Jules Hansen and Allisa Hall (Gisborne Netball Centre)

TWO hundred hygiene packs are being distributed by Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti this week to support several sporting codes with the unexpected costs that have arisen as a result of COVID-19.

The project has come about as the result of a collaboration between winter sporting codes and Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti.

Codes will use the packs of sanitizer, gloves, disinfectant, wipes and rubbish bags to have at their venues for players and supporters and in changing rooms.

Thirty-two signs will also be distributed in the coming weeks throughout Tairāwhiti sporting venues to ensure supporters are aware of what they need to do before stepping foot on the sideline.

Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Chief Executive, Stefan Pishief said, “We’re all excited about getting back out and playing sport, however, it’s important our codes are equipped with the necessary hygiene products and equipment to ensure the safety of the community.

“We know many of our codes and clubs are facing financial challenges at the moment, so if we are able to help ease that burden then we are all for it.”

Gisborne Netball Centre Manager, Allisa Hall said, “We were thrilled to receive these hygiene resources as they are an amazing contribution to keeping our members safe.”

Alert Level 2 update | Gatherings

Yesterday the government announced that only groups of 10 or less will be able to train or play together, however that restriction will be revisited on May 25.

As we change seasons, the winter codes will be preparing to play by working through public hygiene, gathering, physical distancing and contact tracing requirements. Make sure you stay in touch with your club or organisation to understand how you can support them by playing it safe and following the rules.

Click on the following link to read the new level 2 guidelines from Sport New Zealand 👉

We are expecting more information to come today particularly around community sport, so we will keep you updated as the information comes to hand. Keep up with the latest information through our Facebook page

Sport NZ injects $211,317 short-term relief package into Tairāwhiti 

Sport NZ has today announced a $15m Community Resilience Fund to provide further short-term relief for organisations at all levels across New Zealand.

Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti will be administering the Tairāwhiti portion of $211,317 on behalf of Sport NZ.

The fund opens on Monday 11 May and closes on the 19th of June, or earlier if the funds run out. Eligible organisations can apply for a maximum of $1,000 for clubs and $40,000 for regional bodies.

Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti CEO, Stefan Pishief said, “This is fantastic news for our region and welcome opportunity to help many of our codes, clubs, and grass-roots organisations that we know are really hurting at the moment. They deserve all of our support.”

“Play, active recreation and sport are so critical to the well-being of everyone in Tairāwhiti. It keeps us healthy, allows us to connect with one another, and strengthens our communities.”

“We know this fund won’t solve all of the challenges being faced by our sector at the moment, but it will certainly assist our community to safely return to the activities that they love and have been desperately missing during this lockdown.”

More information on today’s announcement is on Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti’s website at or you can email

Play, active recreation and sport at Alert Levels 4 & 3

It’s important you are familiar with what you can do in terms of sport, recreation and, exercise under alert level 3 and 4.

A new table is available here containing the latest Government position on physical activity.

Sport New Zealand has also published Frequently Asked Questions that build on the most common scenarios.

We don’t want to undo all our hard work so please don’t congregate, stay in your bubble and, stay local.