I wrote last week about the Northland Sports Coalition, the collective of the 44 Northland regional sports organisations, who are working together on a number of collaborative projects.

One of these has been the establishment of the Northland Sports Governance Forum, where the chairs and deputy chairs of the major sporting codes meet to try and improve the quality of governance within their organisations.

The forum has led to five different sports governance training workshops being very successfully held for the benefit of Northland sporting board members, as well as the establishment of a centralised list of board members (or potential board members) who would like to contribute to Northland sporting boards.

Separately from this in 2018, the Sport Northland board piloted a "Board Intern" initiative as part of its governance set-up, in the hope it would prepare more Northlanders for our regional sporting boards.

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Michelle Pilkington and Diana Piggott were the two successful candidates chosen to be the inaugural interns for a 12-month period. Both are young professionals with skills that would benefit any sporting board, but neither of them had much experience in governance at the time.

They were not formally members of the board and as such had no voting rights. Instead, their role in board meetings was to observe and to actively participate in discussions.

They were both assigned another member of the board to act as a "mentor", which was especially beneficial at the beginning when they were trying to find their feet at board level.

The intention was for it to be a positive learning opportunity so that they could go on to contribute at governance level to other Northland sporting organisations. According to both of them, it was a successful pilot that has given them a whole new appreciation of what it takes to effectively govern a sports organisation.

We wish them both the best in finding governance positions with other organisations.

Sport Northland is now seeking applications from people wishing to be considered for up to two intern board positions with the Sport Northland board in the 2019/20 year.

We are looking for Northlanders with a passion for sports governance that do not yet have governance experience, so that they can take what they learn to other Northland sports boards.

The applicant should ideally have the majority of the following:

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• A passion for on-going governance learning.

• Some financial and sport/recreation knowledge.

• A strategic and contributing approach to board-level discussions.

• The ability to fit into a governance team that focuses more on "creating the future" than "minding the shop".

The ideal applicants will also possess a strong understanding and commitment to Te Ao Māori.

More information, including a job description, an online application form and information on current Sport Northland board members, can be found at sportnorthlabnd.co.nz. Applications close on Friday, May 31.