This page is a brief outline of who we are; however if you would like to know more about Sports Chaplaincy NZ, please contact us.
About Sports Chaplaincy NZ: Vision and mission
About Sports Chaplaincy NZ: History
In 2006 Ross Georgiou returned to New Zealand after having lived in Europe for a decade. He wanted to serve sportspeople in a way that made sense in his culture. A year later Ross was invited to visit Sports Chaplaincy Australia by CEO Cam Butler to undergo their training. The vision and stories motivated him to see Sports Chaplaincy in New Zealand grow from a few isolated chaplains to a national ministry.
Andrew Kerr was of a kindred spirit. Together they worked tirelessly to set up ‘Engage’, through which churches and other Christian organisations served the 2011 Rugby World Cup. One of Engage’s areas of ministry was chaplaincy to the teams from around the world. Through a great relationship with Martin Snedden (CEO of the 2011 Rugby World Cup), 19 of the 20 teams had chaplains or ‘on call chaplains’. Chaplains were sourced globally and through the partnership with Heads of Churches in NZ, led by the chair, Ken Harrison.
At this time, Sports Chaplains were identified, trained, appointed and guided in NZ with the support of Sports Chaplaincy Australia. In 2013 Ross began to recruit a Governance Board. Together they drew up a Trust Deed and registered as an Incorporated Society and Charitable Trust.
The first board of SCNZ was chaired by Grant Harris, and included Kevin Prewett, Andrew Kerr, Murray Thatcher, Melony Atkins (nee Clark) and Ross Georgiou. Martyn Norrie was added later to the board and took over as chair. Both Tandem Ministries and the Christian Sports Network were key partners in the establishment of SCNZ.
Under Ross Georgiou’s direction, SCNZ recruited local leadership in Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Manawatū, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago/Southland. A partnership with Ignite Sport was formed to promote Sports Chaplaincy in the Wellington Region.
Matt and Rebecca Hawkins joined as part-time staff in 2014. Matt, as Training Director, developed the New Zealand Certificate in Sports Chaplaincy curriculum. This was based on the Australian training, but contained much local content, including a session on Māori culture. Rebecca, as Communications Manager, began a newsletter and a social media presence.
In 2014 the chaplain of Ajax Cape Town Football Club, Bruce Nadin, completed SCNZ training in Auckland. He then began Sports Chaplaincy South Africa, using a training curriculum based on New Zealand’s.
In 2016 Matt Hawkins trained 30 chaplains in the Solomon Islands.
Also in 2016 SCNZ held its first national conference, in Auckland. Delegates came from throughout New Zealand and from Australia and Fiji. Speakers included former New Zealand cricketers Martin Snedden and John Parker, and New Zealand Olympic swimmer Natalie Wiegersma. John Parker later became Sports Chaplaincy Regional Leader for the Waikato. Sports Chaplaincy Australia’s Cam Butler, Steve Stubbings and Gary Speckman also gave inspiring messages.
As well as their regular work in clubs and schools, Sports Chaplains served at major sporting events. Ross Georgiou was part of the chaplaincy team at the Commonweath Games in 2014, and Jess Blake at the Olympics in 2016. Sports Chaplains were also on call at venues for the 2015 Cricket World Cup, 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, and the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, all held in New Zealand.
In mid 2017 Ross Georgiou and his family returned to Europe, where he established the Global Sports Chaplaincy Association. Phil Pawley, former chaplain to the St Helen’s Rugby League Club, took over the role of National Director in March 2018.
About Sports Chaplaincy NZ: Our governance board
Martyn Norrie, MBA, FCLA, ANZIIF (Fellow)
Business leader, organisational coach, strategic thinker
Manager of Strategic and Corporate Planning, Tauranga City Council
Previously National Director of Christian Surfers
Ross Georgiou, BD, GradDip
Chair, Major Sports Event Chaplaincy Commission
UEFA and NZ Football licensed coach
Grant Harris, BTheol
Senior Pastor, Windsor Park Baptist Church
Chaplain, NZ Breakers
Andrew Kerr, AFA
Managing Partner and Director, Seneca Group Ltd
Convener, Christian Sports Network NZ
Formerly a NZ Surf Life Saving champion!
CEO, Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand
Kevin Prewett, BCom, CPANZ, ATAINZ
Director, Eden Perich Prewett Ltd
Entrepreneur, mentor, philanthropist
About Sports Chaplaincy NZ: Our National Office staff
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If you still have questions about Sports Chaplaincy NZ, then please contact us.