Public feedback invited on Code of Integrity for Sport and Recreation

Thu 27 Jul 2023

A survey and focus groups are asking the public for feedback to help develop the Code of Integrity for Sport and Recreation. The survey closes on 10 August 2023.

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Public feedback invited on Code of Integrity for Sport and Recreation

The Integrity in Sport and Recreation Establishment Board is running a public survey to get feedback to help develop the Code of Integrity for Sport and Recreation.

The survey closes on 10 August 2023.

The Code will help people involved in sport and recreation to have safe and fair experiences. It will set standards for sport and recreation organisations on what ‘good’ looks like. The survey is asking for feedback on experiences while taking part in sport and recreation and what needs to be included in the Code.

The FAQ says the purpose of the code is:

"The Code will provide a set of integrity standards for the sport and recreation sector. We expect that, at a minimum, it will be participant-centric and focussed on harm prevention. It is intended to ensure that, overall, we have improved integrity outcomes across the sector.

The development of the Code will be informed by people who work, volunteer and participate in sport and recreation and wider consultation with the public. We are also engaging specifically with Māori to ensure that the Code is responsive to the rights and interest of Māori, and te Tiriti o Waitangi.

After all the feedback is received, the Code will be drafted and may include the likes of safeguarding and protection of participants and human rights."

According to the survey information, organisations will not be required to sign up to the code. If an organisation does sign up to the code, organisations will be supported to meet the standards in the Code.

You can complete the survey online in English or Te Reo Māori by 10 August 2023 or sign up to participate in a focus group by 4 August 2023. For questions email

For more information see the overview of work done to improve the Integrity System in sport and recreation. Also see the recording of a March 2023 webinar on the work and plans to develop a national code of integrity.

Update: Parliament passed the Integrity Sport and Recreation Bill on 16 August 2023. The legislation sets out how the Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission will operate and confirms it will be operational in 2024.

Related news

RNZ interviewed Holly Thorpe, Professor in Sociology of Sport and Gender at Waikato University, and Sports and Exercise Physician Sarah Beable about ongoing issues with inappropriate behaviour and misconduct in sport and recreation affecting women in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Holly Thorpe and Kirsty Forsdike, Senior Researcher at the Centre for Sport & Social Impact at La Trobe University, have called for urgent action to address the systemic gendered abuse across New Zealand’s sport system. Their article was prompted by Athletics New Zealand's decision to ban national pole vault coach Jeremy McColl for 10 years for serious misconduct that took place over years with women athletes including harassment and inappropriate behaviour.

Journalist Dana Johannsen has written an op-ed highlighting cases where investigations by Athletics New Zealand into inappropriate behaviour has been inadequate.

See our library for research and information about sport and family and sexual violence including prevention.

Update: A 2024 review of qualitative studies of women's experiences of gender-based violence in sport found rates of interpersonal violence range from 26% to 74% across psychological, physical, and sexual violence. See the full article Women’s Experiences of Gender-Based Interpersonal Violence in Sport: A Qualitative Meta-Synthesis (2024) and a summary of the finding in the Conversation article From forced kisses to power imbalances, violence against women in sport is endemic.

Update: UN Women and UNESCO published the Tackling violence against women and girls in sport: A handbook for policy makers and sports practitioners (2023).

Update: Reseachers in Australia published findings from research that looked at children's disclosures of violence in community sport. Of those who had experienced interpersonal violence in community sport as a child, only 46% ever disclosed any these experiences to any adult. Read the full article, Telling adults about it: children’s experience of disclosing interpersonal violence in community sport (2023). 

In December 2022 Sport NZ released Guiding principles for the inclusion of transgender people in community sport. The guidelines are designed to help sporting and other organisations be more inclusive and supportive of transgender people. Sport NZ states "An inclusive approach allows transgender individuals to take part in their self-determined gender and not the sex they were assigned at birth. It does not ask people to prove or otherwise justify their gender, sex or gender identity."

In article for The Conversation Holly Thorpe highlighted:

"At their core is the principle of inclusion, based on wellbeing and safety, privacy and dignity, and removing discrimination, bullying and harassment.

By gaining confidence through this process, it’s hoped sports organisations will recognise that making sport safer and more inclusive is ultimately beneficial for all. The question now, however, is whether change at the grassroots level can filter up to elite sports, which are most often governed and directed by policies set by international bodies."

Update: In October 2023 UN experts issued a policy position urging States and other stakeholders to respect the right of all to participate in cultural life through sports and games and to tackle discrimination against, and enforcement of equal treatment of all athletes, especially women and girls in all their diversity, LGBT and intersex persons.

Related media

Former Blenheim gymnastics coach Gregory Pask, sentenced to 16 years in jail for sexual offences, RNZ, 17.04.2024

Most sportswomen experience gendered online harm, affecting wellbeing, research says, ABC (Australia), 20.03.2024

Marlborough coach pleads guilty to sexual offending against several girls, RNZ, 18.12.2023

Marlborough sports coach faces 35 sex abuse charges as more added, Stuff, 05.12.2023

Why taking a trauma- and violence-informed approach can make sport safer and more equitable, The Conversation, 11.10.2023

New Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission w/ Board Chair Don Mackinnon and InsideOUT Kōaro Managing Director Tabby Besley, 95bFM, 17.08.2023

Ten more young women complained about guilty sportsman, The Post, 07.08.2023

Sportsman discharged without conviction for sexual offence, Otago Daily Times, 03.08.2023

Olympic gold medallist Alan Thompson loses battle over 'sexualised remarks', Stuff, 31.07.2023

Reimagining fields of play to grow the future of women in sport through world-class research, University of Waikato news, 18.07.2023

Sports integrity officials start work on new rulebook for sport, Stuff, 17.07.2023

Australia’s football union announces plan to tackle abuse and harassment of players, The Guardian, 10.07.2023

Long-range goals: can the FIFA World Cup help level the playing field for all women footballers?, The Conversation, 05.07.2023

Disgraced Athletics NZ coach banned for 10 years, RNZ, 04.07.2023

Former top athlete speaks out over destructive sexual relationship with disgraced coach, The Press, 13.06.2023

Elite sports trainer Andrew Maclennan had secret sexual relationship with schoolgirl 24 years younger, Stuff, 09.06.2023

Former Scouts New Zealand leader jailed for sexual abuse of boys dating back to the ‘80s, NZ Herald, 15.02.2023

Trusted sports coach sentenced for 27 years of sexual abuse against 11 boys, Stuff, 01.02.2023

What Sport NZ's announcement means for transgender athletes, Stuff, 07.12.2022

‘The moment needs to carry on’ – why the Black Ferns’ success must be a game-changer for women’s sport in NZ, The Conversation, 14.11.2022

New sports integrity body to be established in the wake of Olivia Podmore tragedy, Stuff, 18.05.2022

"It's had a profound impact": Sport's plan to address athlete welfare crisis, Stuff, 21.07.2022

New sports integrity body to be established in the wake of Olivia Podmore tragedy, Stuff, 18.05.2022

Image: Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash

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