News & Updates

20 June 2023 • General

Safeguarding practices in our sport

Following recent media stories of disgraced trainer Andrew Maclennan, Athletics New Zealand would like to reiterate our commitment to a safeguarding culture across our sport.

Athletics New Zealand condemns the actions of Mr Maclennan. This has been a distressing ordeal for the young woman and her family, and we extend our heartfelt sympathy to all impacted.

We have taken a number of steps to strengthen our safeguarding practices.  These include:

  • Introducing a coach accreditation programme
    • The accreditation process includes compulsory police vetting, agreement to abide by our code of conduct, continued safe sport education and written guidance for safe sport behaviour
    • Our Accredited Coaches work across our system from high performance through to the grassroots. We have a further 440 registered community coach and volunteer members who have also undertaken safe sport education and cleared the police vetting process
    • Currently there are more than 130 accredited coaches nationwide – Athletics NZ encourages coaches to complete the accreditation process and athletes and clubs to only engage with accredited coaches
  • Adopting a number of new and updated codes and regulations, such as:
    • Code of Conduct
      • This applies to all members, including member coaches, and records the expectation that members be held to a standard of sportsmanship, sports leadership and ethical conduct
    • Member Protection and Anti-Harassment Regulation
      • This records Athletics NZ’s expectation that every person participating in athletics should be treated with respect and dignity and be protected from discrimination, harassment and abuse
      • In particular, this Regulation seeks to safeguard the welfare of children involved in athletics by promoting safe practices and protecting children from harm and exploitation while participating in athletics
    • Integrity Regulation
      • Intended to record Athletics NZ’s commitment to safeguard the authenticity and integrity of athletics and to take measures to eliminate corrupt conduct which might place the authenticity, integrity and reputation of athletics at risk
    • Judicial Regulation
      • This sets out the processes and hearing bodies to resolve disputes within athletics in New Zealand and the imposition of sanctions
  • Establishing and appointing a National Child Protection officer
    • This appointment contributed additional knowledge and experience into our organisation to ensure Athletics NZ continues to make positive advances in this important area

Complaints such as the Maclennan case would now be referred to an independent investigator and potentially be subject to our judicial regulation processes if the person involved was a member of Athletics NZ.

In recent years, we have had complaints independently investigated, referred to our Judicial Tribunal, referred to the Sport and Recreation Complaints and Mediation Service supported by Sport New Zealand and referred to the NZ Police where appropriate.

We would like to reiterate that Athletics NZ takes safe sport very seriously and will continue to develop and improve on our safe sport programme and to take steps to enforce the rules we have in place.  We want all our athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers to operate in a safe and secure environment.

For private and confidential support if you have experienced or are aware of unsafe behaviour in athletics, please email