Sport New Zealand appoints Raelene Castle as new chief executive

Raelene Castle is the new chief executive of Sport New Zealand, replacing Peter Miskimmin, who resigned in August, after 12 years in the role.

Castle is the first female appointed to the role and will return home after a tumultuous stint at Rugby Australia.

Castle has spent the last two weeks in Christchurch isolation, after leaving Australia last month.

The former Netball New Zealand boss has spent the last seven years accross the Tasman with the NRL's Canterbury Bulldogs and then her fateful Rugby Australia stint.

Castle's issues with RA started with her handling of the Israel Folau scandal and culminated in the loss of a multi-million-dollar broadcast deal with Fox Sport, who declined to renew as the COVID-19 pandemic began.

But Castle's résumé is impressive that also includes board roles with SANZAAR and the now-defunct ANZ Netball Championship.

She was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2015 for services to business and sport.

“Raelene brings tremendous breadth and depth of experience as a CEO in sports administration, and is a proven people and organisational leader," says Sport NZ chairman Bill Moran.

"The board of Sport NZ see her has the ideal person to lead our organisation forward, as we continue our important work in addressing declining participation among young people, and protecting the strength and integrity of our sector. 

“Raelene is an open and down-to-earth leader. She is someone who has tackled complex and challenging matters, working with and through others.

"She also deeply understands the sport and recreation landscape, and the value this brings to individuals, communities and our society."

Castle is excited for the opportunity to lead the organisation that serves as the kaitiaki (guardian) of Aotearoa New Zealand’s play, active recreation and sport sector.

"My time in Australasian sport has shown me the critical role sport and recreation play in bringing communities together, and the positive impact those experiences have on society," Castle says.

"I am looking forward to working with our partners and colleagues across Government and our sector to ensure more New Zealanders, particularly our tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young), are able to enjoy quality participation experiences.

"I believe I am joining Sport NZ at a key moment in our sector’s history. COVID-19 has had an enormous impact at all levels of the sector, but with the Sport Recovery Package, there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to solidify the sector, and reshape it to be more robust and deliver more participation opportunities.

"I’m looking forward to being part of that work.

“I am deeply passionate about diversity and inclusion. It will be a key focus for me to ensure that young people from many diverse backgrounds have the opportunities to dream big and realise their potential, whether that’s as a leader, administrator, coach, volunteer or participant within our sector."

Castle's first day in her new role will be December 15.