News & Updates

22 August 2023 • General

Communities can take advantage of a growing Innovation Fund

Three-time Commonwealth Games hammer medallist Julia Ratcliffe and pole vaulter Olivia McTaggart face off as part of the highly successful inaugural Launch Athletics which benefited from Strength and Adapt funding. Credit: (Alisha Lovrich).

With a clear eye on the future and strategically innovating, Athletics New Zealand is pleased to today be launching a one-off Strengthen and Adapt Innovation Fund.

Clubs, Centres and Stakeholders within the sport can apply to the contestable fund to support initiatives that align with the following key Strengthen and Adapt Outcomes, in order of funding priority;

  • New and innovative events, (one off or a series) that are co-designed alongside athletes, are athlete centric, and will provide a high-quality
  • Membership growth, especially as it relates to utilsiing new seasonal membership options.
  • Use of technology to enhance athlete experience.
  • Capability projects that will set a base for future success and growth of your organisation.

Strengthen and Adapt is a Sport NZ programme, which is a part of Sport NZ’s Covid-19 recovery package for the sector. The Strengthen and Adapt project aims to improve the capacity, capability and resilience of Athletics NZ and our delivery networks, so that we are best positioned to meet the needs of participants and athletes in the future.

So far Strengthen and Adapt has supported a number of new and innovative events such as Launch Athletics, Ramp Run, Runway 5, Museum Mile, and the Whippets Night Cross. Additionally, the new, more flexible membership options are a Strengthen and Adapt initiative, as are the recent improvements to the Athletics NZ YouTube channel.

The Strengthen and Adapt Contestable Fund involves a detailed expression of interest process as well as support from Athletics New Zealand through the application cycle. Athletics NZ has engaged Nick Cowan to liaise with applicants and guide them towards quality and impactful applications. Nick is an experienced sports administrator, a World Athletics Athlete Representative, and former World Athletics Championships representative for New Zealand.

Athletics NZ Community Manager Hamish Meacheam is delighted to confirm this significant investment, as well as support to guide applicants to ensure projects are successful.

Meacheam said: “Our Strengthen and Adapt project has been extraordinarily successful so far, but our primary strategic goal is to ‘activate the power of our community to provide great athletic experiences’. This contestable fund will enable us to do exactly that, by putting the power to drive innovation and growth in the hands of the people who deliver our sport locally. We believe this one-off fund will drive impactful and sustainable change.”

More information and criteria document here 

Expression of interest form here

Questions can be directed to