Tennis NZ reveals plans hoping for future success


Ajeet Rai is seen as one of the country's top prospects, but hasn't always received help from Tennis NZ.


Ajeet Rai is seen as one of the country’s top prospects, but hasn’t always received help from Tennis NZ.

Tennis New Zealand wants to become a more transparent organisation and one with a vision everyone can relate to.

After 10 months of work, Tennis NZ has unveiled its strategic plan to take it through to the end of 2022.

The plan covers three areas of the sport in New Zealand, community level, creating world class level and staying financially afloat.

Julie Paterson has been working as Tennis NZ CEO for three months.


Julie Paterson has been working as Tennis NZ CEO for three months.

Julie Paterson came in as CEO midway through the work on the plan and it’s seen by her as a piece of work that will increase tennis’ popularity in an era where not everyone wants to pay an annual club membership to play the game.

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“We want to ensure our clubs and venues are thriving,” Tennis NZ CEO Julie Paterson said.

Players from all around the country recently took part in a junior tournament in Richmond, Nelson showing that the sport ...


Players from all around the country recently took part in a junior tournament in Richmond, Nelson showing that the sport is in a god state at this level.

“That’s around making sure people understand that across all sport, there has been a shift away from the way people want to participate and also what they need to make them come back.

“We need to be participant-focused and work to the needs of our markets and not the traditional form of sport, where we provide one size that fits all and expect everyone to fit into that.

“We’ve got to adapt the way we’re providing our sport, so we’re meeting the needs of our participants.”

Tennis NZ are in the process of rolling out ClubSpark, an app designed by Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association, where people can download an app to their phone and book to play on a court at any participating club in the country.

“People are starting to shift away from being member, because you’re tied in for 12-month period, where you’re tied in playing interclub,” Paterson said.

“People get a bit scared about this, but it’s not one or the other, we need to be able to provide all the options.

“Some people still want to have membership and play interclub, so we need to provide that, but need to look at new options.”

In the plan, Tennis NZ state it wants to not only increase the number of qualified coaches in New Zealand, but also the quality of them and provide support for those who want to go beyond being a basic club coach.

As for the performance part of the plan, titled ‘Win’, the details are still to come out, but Paterson says there will be better transparency over which players get selected for national squads, which will be driven by performance director Simon Rea.

“We’re not shifting our intent on growing winning players, but what we need to do is change how we’re delivering on that,” Paterson said.

“We want to change the culture and have criteria based around international benchmarking.

“There needs to be transparency and understanding around what the criteria is, for the players being selected to be involved in the national programme.

“Also, putting a strong national programme in place and working with the regions around the standard of programmes that are being delivered in the regions across the whole of the country, so that we can raise the bar everywhere.

“Where Simon is going with this is we’re not changing greatly what we do,” Paterson added.

“We’re just investing more in the national programme within New Zealand than what we’re currently doing.”

However, there is no extra money for this and it will be run on the same budgets as previous years.

Tennis NZ made a modest profit of $183,598 for the last financial year and has reserves of $2,587,321.

The largest income stream is from the TAB, which paid them $972,170. However, Paterson is concerned that if this money drops off Tennis NZ could be in trouble.

“At the moment our budget is staying where it stands,” she said.

“Until we get new money in we can’t commit to anything in the next 12 months.

“I’m keen to be involved in broadening our revenue streams and increasing the opportunities we have commercially.

“I’ve got to be honest, that is a challenge and we don’t have a massive range of commercial products, but there is room to move on what we have got..

“A substantial amount of money comes from the TAB and that source of revenue isn’t fixed.

“So we need to find other revenue sources that a bit more secure than what we’re relying on.”

 – Sunday Star Times

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