The Tairawhiti Officials Passport is a programme unique to Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti, thanks to support from the Lion Foundation. It is a recruitment and retention tool for sports across Tairawhiti to grow their community of referees, umpires, scorers, and judges and develop the skill and qualifications of our sports’ top officials.
Through the programme, we aim to retain officials by creating a supportive environment for new officials, filled with quality mentoring and positive sidelines. Additionally, by upskilling established officials, together with the sport’s national body, we strengthen the pathway for new officials to gain more confidence and skill, and for high-achieving officials to follow their dream of refereeing or umpiring at the highest level.
Over time, we aim to increase the quality of officiating across all of Tairawhiti. This will increase the quality of experience for officials, but also for participants, coaches, and supporters.
Who can join the Officials Passport?
The Officials Passport is aimed at officials of all levels. The pilot programme started with 9 sports: Cricket, Football, Hockey, Netball, Rugby, Rugby League, Softball, Surf LIfe Saving. We are open to adding new sports that are interested in growing and supporting their community of officials.
How does the Officials Passport work?
FOR THE OFFICIAL
New officials (both youth and adult) are registered with the programme and are provided with a yellow Officials Passport shirt. In addition to holding the endorsement from the local or national body, and serving as a visual reminder that s/he belong to the officiating whanau in Tairawhiti, the shirt functions as a safe sideline reminder. The message on the back reads, “I’m wearing YELLOW. Please don’t see RED,” and aims to keep the sidelines positive and the new official’s experience a positive and rewarding one.
Additionally, the sport commits to providing mentoring both on and off the field. If there is a controversial call, the mentor on hand can diffuse tense situations or give the new official support and real-time suggestions for improvement.
FOR THE SPORT
The initiative also provides support to the mentor-level of officials in the form of resources that will allow the local community of experienced officials to grow. For example, the sport could use funding to send a mid-level official away to earn their next qualification. Or maybe it can be used purchase a scoring programme to transition to electronic judging. Or maybe it’s funding to bring an NSO officiating development officer to town to upskill juniors and mentors.