Athletics New Zealand is overseen and controlled by a range of governance structures at a national level, by an elected volunteer board.
Athletics New Zealand Board
The Board consists of seven members (4 elected and 3 appointed) and ex-officio the President of Athletics New Zealand and any New Zealand resident who is a member of the IAAF Council. The board members represent the interests of Athletics New Zealand Inc. and are entrusted to ensure Athletics New Zealand Inc. is soundly managed.
Each member is elected for a three-year term. (Refer Governance section of the Athletics NZ Constitution for further details).
The current Board of Athletics New Zealand
Cameron Taylor – Chair
Cameron was elected to the Board in August 2012. He is passionate about athletics and a keen athlete, competing since his early school days. He was a member of the Waitemata Amateur Athletic Club, now the Waitakere City Athletic Club, and attended university in Dallas, Texas on an athletics scholarship. Cameron represented New Zealand at several international track & field championships from 1989 to 1994, including the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona (200m quarter-finalist), 1991 World Championships in Tokyo (200m quarter-finalist), 1991 World University Games in the UK (100m and 200m) and the 1990 World Junior Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (200m semi-finalist). He held a number of national records in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.
After retiring from competitive athletics, Cameron was a volunteer coach assisting Waitakere City club athletes in 1995 to 1998.
Cameron is currently a corporate advisor and transaction lawyer. He is a partner with Minter Ellison Rudd Watts in Auckland, focused on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, joint ventures, securities offerings and corporate governance. He also practiced law in New York and London for eight years with Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.
Cameron has a M.B.A from London Business School specialising in Finance and Private Equity, an LL.B. (Hons) from the University of Auckland, and a B.B.A. (Finance) and B.A. (Economics) from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He is admitted to the bar in New York (2002) and New Zealand (1998).
Joan Merrilees – President
Joan has a passion for our sport and has contributed at many levels. She has worked for Athletics NZ several times, predominantly in a volunteer role, holding positions including co-cordinator of the junior development programme, team manager to a World Youth Track and Field Championship, team manager to many Oceania Track and Field Championships and as team coach to Junior Commonwealth Games. Joan has also held the position of national administrator for the Athletics NZ Coaches’ Association and, more recently, as administrator for the High-Performance Para Athletics Programme.
Joan has been involved in coaching for over 30 years and has a deep passion for the practice of coaching. She began coaching in netball changing to track and field once her children became involved. Joan is currently an Athletics NZ Accredited coach and coaches alongside her daughter Megan Gibbons.
Additionally, Joan is a National Technical Official and as such has officiated at a World Championship for Para Athletes and regularly officiates both at the Oceania and National Championship level.
Joan is excited to be Athletics NZ’s President and contributing to the governance of our sport.
Roger Carruthers – Deputy Chair
Roger has been an advisor to the Athletics New Zealand Board since 2011 before being appointed to the Board in 2013.
Roger is Chief Executive Officer for Connexionz Limited, a publicly owned technology company located in Christchurch. Prior to this he held various international roles in one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.
Roger brings to the Board solid experience in growing and, where necessary, re-aligning under-performing businesses, strength in strategic leadership, bringing strategic goals into meaningful and measurable operational objectives, and strong financial and business planning acumen.
Roger is a passionate sports lover with a keen interest in athletics and has been involved in supporting children’s athletics in Singapore, Australia and in Christchurch. He is firmly committed to the vision and strategic plan for Athletics New Zealand and is eager to apply his business experience to support Management, the Clubs and other stakeholders to define and deliver the goals required to achieve this plan.
Roger is eager to receive your input and thoughts at any time.
Elected to the board in 2018, Paul has been a keen athlete for most of his life and continues to compete on the track in middle distance events, and on the road in distances up to the marathon. Paul is the current holder of the Canterbury record for 800m, 45-50 year olds.
Currently based in Christchurch, Paul has been extensively involved in the International Track & Field Trust, running International athletics events including the International Track Meet, the Big Shot, a variety of street races and urban athletics events attracting both international and developing athletes. He is also involved in athletics administration at club, school and regional levels and has a daughter involved in athletics.
With a Master of Commerce degree and a career in private equity, Paul has a strong financial background and 25 years of commercial and strategic experience in New Zealand and around the world. He has considerable experience working on and advising governing bodies, and has been involved with establishing, reviewing, and re-structuring governance and business models in both large and small organisations.
Paul is passionate about the sport of athletics and driven to see the sport grow participation and improve the quality and value of services and value it can deliver to participants.
A collaborator, an athletics lover and a fighter for future generations. Jo was elected to the Board in 2018 and loves to RUN – albeit not quite so quickly these days.
In the past, Jo represented Southland, Otago and Canterbury at a provincial level – winning NZ Secondary School & National Junior titles and was privileged to represent New Zealand at Oceania level.
Having inherited Jo & her husband Sean’s passion for the sport, their three children are actively involved in athletics. You’ll often find Jo at sports grounds cheering them on, or trying to squeeze in some training for the next trail run or marathon that someone has roped her into!
Jo has lived, breathed and loved life around the world. She brings to the Board 20 years of experience creating vision and delivering strategy from the variety of senior roles she has held while living in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. A trail blazer both on the track and off, Jo is renowned for using her talents to shift the needle on the things that really matter.
Motivated to deliver NZ Athletics a strategy that focuses on participation, grass roots & creating sustainable income, Jo recognises this is no mean feat but believes that together we can bring this vision to life.
With an LLB and BCom (Hons) from the University of Otago, Jo is currently based in Christchurch as Global Head of Marketing for the Natural Pet Food Group.
When asked, Jo’s team said – ‘She’s a cool player. She’s a game changer. Stay close and keep up!’
Peter has held senior business and leadership roles in a number of sectors, building a long history of successful strategic and operational management. Currently Peter has his own consultancy, specialising in building services advice, facilities management and health and safety in the workplace.
Peter has a lifelong interest in athletics having competed successfully as a junior through to current administration and governance roles at both club and regional level. He has three adult children, two sons and a daughter who participated and enjoyed athletics with both sons representing New Zealand in horizontal jumps.
Peter has had roles in administration, officiating and management and has been a member of the Board of Athletics Auckland for the past eight years and Chairman for the last five years.
He has a strong interest in attracting more of our junior athletes to stay in the sport through to the senior ranks. Equally as important, is maintaining succession at all levels both in terms of attracting new athletes and growing club leadership and participation.
Peter is passionate about growing our sport into the future, meeting the needs of the current population and engaging partners that can enhance our opportunities to be seen as a sport of choice for young and old.
Brent was appointed to the Board in 2019 and brings a broad range of experience from across the sports sector.
He worked for 12 years with Lion Nathan, during which his role as Sponsorship & Communications Director saw him responsible for commercial partnerships with many of the major sports, events and venues in New Zealand. He also had ownership of brand, digital, and media agency relationships.
Brent spent four years as Chief Executive of Tennis Auckland, where there was a focus on growing membership and participation, developing club capability, facilities development as well as the delivery of the highly successful ASB Classic. Prior to this Brent also spent 3 years as a Director of New Zealand Golf.
Currently Chief Executive of the Mt Wellington Licensing Trust, Brent got hooked on Athletics watching Rod Dixon win the New York marathon. An active participant ever since, you will find Brent either running up One Tree Hill or at the local club where his daughters are members.
Chris was appointed to the Board in 2014.
Chris grew up in a family with a long history in both sport administration and participation at club, representative, and national level. His involvement in sports administration began while he was a representative hockey player and has competed almost continuously for well over 30 years.
Most recently he served a 6-year term as a member of the Board of Hockey NZ, following 3 years as President. He has received recognition from Hockey NZ in the form of a Gold Service medal and Life Membership. In 2001 Sport Canterbury awarded him the Outstanding Winter Sports Administrator award. He represented NZ at hockey.
Chris and his wife Annette’s two children (now adult) brought them close to the local athletics scene through their participation during their school years, and in the case of their daughter, post school. They appreciated the coaching and encouragement their children received during this period and as parents thoroughly enjoyed their own involvement.
From a career perspective, Chris has run his own human resources consultancy for 6 years following a long career as a human resources senior executive in a national company. He has received recognition from the Human Resources Institute of NZ in the form of Professional Membership.