Sport NZ boss Peter Miskimmin resigning after 12 years in charge

Sport NZ chief executive Peter Miskimmin will leave his position in December after 12 years in charge of the national sports funding set up, with his departure leading to calls for a major review into how sport is funded in NZ.

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The departure is increasing calls for a major review into how sport is funded in this country. Source: 1 NEWS

Miskimmin is in one of the highest paid positions in the public sector, let alone in sports governance.

“It's a special role, enormously humble and privileged to have had it so long. The old story you're always standing on shoulders of giants - what went before me was people who created a system that was the envy of the world,” he said.

The former New Zealand hockey captain began his tenure at the then-Sport And Recreation New Zealand in 2008.

The Covid-19 fallout is unsurprisingly the biggest challenge he's faced, with Sport New Zealand holding the purse strings on a $265 million resilience fund for the sporting sector.

But it's safe to say it's not been his only challenge.

During his tenure, there have been major reviews into cultures across the codes, from rugby league in 2009 to more recent reviews into cycling, hockey and now gymnastics.

He was also responsible for overseeing the setting up of today's high-performance funding model.

It's a model that on one side led to more Olympic and Paralympic medals, but left some high-participation, grassroots sports unhappy and calling for change.

The New Zealand Athletes’ Federation says it will back any major review after several years of “frustration”.

Other sports and individuals 1 NEWS has spoken to say over the years they've been afraid to speak out against Sport New Zealand at risk of having their funding cut.

“It's always as a leader you hear that. I'd say we're very transparent and open, we're reasonably decent people here so if people have got grievances, as long as they are debating strategy and not the man, then I'm happy for those convos. I'm disappointed some people still have that view. I'd like to think we're able to have robust conversations - maybe agree to disagree on strategy,” Miskimmin said.

Sports Minister Grant Robertson said, “I would hope that isn't the case. Sport NZ has a really important role. It's the funder of our sports, but it has to have an open relationship that allows people to raise concerns."

Current Sport NZ executive Jennah Wooten is being touted as a possible replacement.