Women in Sport Network Event: Kāhore taku toa i te toa takitahi, he toa takitini | We cannot succeed without the support of those around us

by Aktive
Published on Tuesday 28 November, 2023

Advancing positive outcomes for women and girls in sport and recreation was centre stage at Aktive’s recent Women in Sport Network event, attended by more than 60 sector leaders from across Tāmaki Makaurau.

Held at Kolmar in Papatoetoe, the event was delivered by Aktive with special guest speaker Linda Vagana, General Manager, Duffy Books in Homes. There was also a panel session focused on fostering inclusive environments for women and girls comprising Emma McInnes, co-Founder and chair of Women in Urbanism Aotearoa; Louise Rich, People, Culture and Sustainability Manager, AUT Millennium; and Simon Tattersfield, Spaces and Places Manager, Aktive.

Ex Silver Fern and highly regarded community leader, Linda shared her leadership journey, thoughts on women in sport, and her personal commitment to a life of service. She stressed the value in taking every opportunity and uplifting others, saying “Be a carrier of dreams, not a barrier.”

Linda added: “It’s about finding your passion and taking every opportunity – it might be fearful but take one step at a time.”

The thought-provoking session was complemented by a panel discussion exploring inclusive environments from a range of perspectives such as urban design, facilities and organisational culture:

  • Emma McInnes, co-Founder and chair of Women in Urbanism Aotearoa shared international examples of transforming towns and cities into more inspiring and inclusive places for everyone, a number of which are designed and supported by women. She talked about parks and playgrounds often lacking lighting, the use of footpaths, and urban environments and equity, noting: “The intersection of urban environments and sports is interesting.”


  • Louise Rich, People, Culture and Sustainability Manager, AUT Millennium spoke about elevating everyone’s voice so they can have a say and emphasised allowing people to come up with solutions themselves: “There are a lot of good conversations taking place right now. It’s important to listen, value, action, and open those conversations up.”


  • Simon Tattersfield, Spaces and Places Manager, Aktive encouraged people to take a lead: “Consider the insights and be a champion for your facility.”

Simon is also the co-author of Aktive’s Women & Girls Facility Guide, a free resource containing advice, suggestions, hints and tips that can support organisations to enable more women and girls to be active at their facility at all levels, including administration, coaching and participants. Attendees were encouraged to download the Guide and to tap into Aktive’s Spaces and Places expertise to understand more and to support advancing inclusion environment aspirations.

Jennah Wootten, Chief Executive, Aktive, acknowledged the event’s impressive speaker line up and the opportunity it presented.

“Our Women in Sport Network events provide a unique opportunity to learn, connect, and share with other leaders in the sector who are working to advance positive outcomes for women and girls in sport and recreation; be it leadership, participation or value and visibility.

“The more we can work and share together, the greater the impact of our collective mahi to make Auckland the world’s most active city."