The new Netball Central Zone, which includes Wairarapa, has announced the appointment of Chris Hooper as its first chief executive officer.
He comes to Netball Central with 15 years' experience at CEO level, running large, national youth development non-profit organisations in both New Zealand and Britain.
Originally from a leisure and recreation management background, Hooper has spent the past five years re-energising and revitalising the fortunes of the Scout movement in this country, in a bid to get more young people motivated and into the great outdoors.
He sees the challenges at Netball Central in the same light as those he has met in Scouts and Special Olympics.
"Volunteers are the lifeblood in the non-profit sector, feeding new generations at the top level whether it be professional players, coaches and officials in sport, or competent leaders in Scouts. Communication, consultation and transparency are all critical factors in the successful management of such organisations and their respective communities," he said.
"The new zone structure places an emphasis on bringing together both ends of the sport, from the primary school team right through to the Haier Pulse at the elite level."
Hooper will be supported by a board that fully represents the three regions within the zone, Western, Eastern and Wellington, in a move which is part of Netball New Zealand's plan to change from a 12-region model to five major zones.
Netball throughout the Central Zone will see 22 netball centres merge into 17, and they will operate as clusters such as Wellington, Manawatu, Wairarapa and Napier.
The formation of the Netball Central Zone board sees the dissolution of the Central Pulse board and the Eastern, Western and Wellington boards, with the new board retaining the experience of chairman Ian Collier and board members Kerry Prendergast, Sue Gordon (Central Pulse), Sue Gould (Western) and Lee-Ann Taylor (Eastern). Other members include Shaun Clarke, Carol Sander (Wellington) and Chris McGeown.
Hooper will be taking up his role with Netball Central early next month.