High Performance New Zealand :An exclusive Interview

Estimated read time 6 min read

Text & Interview : Giannis Psarelis. Sport in international level is extremely successful. In order to be successful a team or an athlete needs to train hard but also to have access to excellent sport facilities and to have the support of medical staff and sport scientists.

We will present the best high performance centers in the world that are able to offer to their athletes a competitive edge.

New Zealand is a small country with it’s population being under 4,5 million people. Taking in consideration it’s small population their sporting results at the Olympic Games and World Championships are more than impressive.

They have managed to be successful by creating and implementing a clever strategic plan and by investing in sport science and by creating excellent sport facilities.

We had the pleasure to interview Mrs. Sue Eden who is Senior Advisor Media and Communications for High Performance New Zealand.

Photo above : The Dunedin High Performance Center


Cycling World : Could you please describe the facilities  (training sites, medical areas, laboratories e.t.c.) in Auckland and in Christchurch?

Sue Eden : One of High Performance Sport New Zealand’s key strategic priorities is to enhance the daily training and competition environment of our athletes, and we operate out of a network of world-class facilities all around New Zealand. We have world class experts on our staff but also do collaborate with sport scientists from other institutions and national sports organisations where this is of mutual benefit. We have the National Training Centre at AUT Millennium in Auckland, where AUT University and SPRINZ medical laboratories are also based. Our high performance centre in Christchurch will soon be fully operational. We have built a new centre in Christchurch following earthquake damage to the former Centre of Excellence at QE2 park. We also operate high performance centres in Wellington and Dunedin, Rowing New Zealand’s high performance centre at Lake Karapiro is part of this network, we will soon have high performance facilities in Wanaka (primarily for winter sport athletes) and by the end of the year our high performance centre at the Avantidrome national cycling centre of excellence in Cambridge will open. At each of our high performance centres, we provide athlete performance support including injury and illness prevention and rehabilitation. In Auckland, the rehabilitation centre is right next to the cardio zones and the gym where carded athletes go for strength and conditioning. When our Christchurch facility is officially opened in May, it will also have rehabilitation areas on site.



 Cycling World : How many people work in these centers and how they are distributed in each department?

Sue Eden : The numbers of athlete performance staff in our high performance centres is as follows:

  • Auckland 27
  • Dunedin 3
  • Christchurch 4
  • Wellington 3
  • Waikato (Cambridge / Hamilton) 10
  • Wanaka 1

These staff are in athlete performance support roles, such as:  Strength & Conditioning; Psychology; Physiology; Performance & Technique Analysis; Massage; Physiotherapy; Rehabilitation; Medical; Nutrition; Athlete Life support.

Our full time staff are also supported by a number of independent contractors in these professions.

Photo Above : The architect’s drawing of our high performance centre in Christchurch


 Cycling World : Do you focus on specific sports or do you offer services in athletes of all sports?

Sue Eden : We focus on specific sports. We provide targeted or campaign-based investment to support the high performance programmes of national sport organisations that can help us meet our targets at Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, and targeted world championships for non-Olympic sports. Only carded athletes from sports which receive targeted or campaign-based investment from us are eligible to receive performance support.


Cycling  World : What kind of services do you offer to the athletes through your High performance centers?

Sue Eden : We have some information on our website www.hpsnz.org.nz which I hope provides you with enough information to answer this question. We present in a different article the services they provide.


 Cycling World : What kind of services do you offer to the coaches through your High performance centers?

Sue Eden : Similarly, there is information on our website which should answer this question. http://www.hpsnz.org.nz/coaches


 Cycling World : Your services and facilities are also available for foreign athletes?

Sue Eden : We are open to sharing our facilities to foreign high performance athletes and take into consideration the following factors: capacity, length of period, other support, cost and/or reciprocal arrangement.

Photo Above :  It is the outside of the building which houses the NZ National Training Centre


Cycling  World : Do you focus in sport science research ? Do you also produce scientific work at your centers in Auckland and Christchurch?

Sue Eden : HPSNZ manages a number of innovation development projects including technology development and applied sport science , internally via the Goldmine Group and other HPSNZ staff, and externally via a network of universities and private enterprises.  These projects aim to increase the performance of HPSNZ-targeted funded sports, with a focus on greater medal prospects for New Zealand in 2016 and 2020.  Each year we hold two innovation project application rounds, from which sport-centred innovation projects are selected.


Cycling  World : Do you find similarities between your strategic plan and the strategic plan of other high performance centers/ institutes, e..g. Australian Institute of Sport?

Sue Eden : There will be performance goals and similarities between our strategic plan and that of other countries. However, the high performance system here in New Zealand does operate differently to many other countries. HPSNZ provides both investment and performance support to athletes. This means we are effectively a `one stop shop’ for athletes that allows us to collectively consider our strategic investment and performance support to athletes. Other countries do not have this advantage. Our Strategic Plan is also available on our website.


Cycling World : What is the major philosophy of your strategic plan from 2013 until 2020?

Sue Eden : Our philosophy is athlete-focused, coach-led, performance-driven.

Our media release and a copy of our strategic plan are available here: Strategic Plan



 Cycling World :Do you cooperate with other countries and/ or institutes and in which fields?

Sue Eden : Yes, we establish links with international colleagues around the world where we believe there will be a mutual benefit. This occurs in all aspects of our work, and includes an international network across sports science and sports medicine disciplines that involves sharing and collaboration to different scales.


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