Ignite Sport

More than 250 senior sports students heard inspirational messages from top athletes at Aspire conference on 11 April.

Aspire pictures for news

Aspire aimed to ‘shape sports leaders of tomorrow’.  Thirty secondary schools throughout Wellington and Wairarapa areas sent students to the one-day conference, at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua.  


Students participated in break-out sessions as diverse as ‘Winning through adversity’ with Paraswimmer Mary Fisher, ‘Keys to success’ with Athletics NZ High Performance Coach Steve Willis and ‘Balance’ with Hastings Giants Boxing coach Craig McDougall. Former NZ Maori Rugby team captain and All Black, Norm Hewitt, addressed male students during Building Sportsmen and Kelly Curr from Sport Wellington facilitated interviews around Building Sportswomen.


Good Clean Sport – Youth was also presented by Drug Free Sport New Zealand. This newly-introduced programme supports and educates young athletes on clean sport within the secondary school environment.


The majority of students who attended thought Aspire was ‘epic’ or ‘totally epic’. Personal reflection about Aspire included: ‘I learnt …

  • To pick yourself up and let the past be the past
  • Don't be afraid to aim for your dreams
  • Be more open minded and less selfish
  • To be motivated
  • Endure to the end. Every negative thing is just another reason to be great.
  • That team culture is a massive thing to help win in a team
  • To be yourself on the sports field and in life
  • Aim high and work hard for yourself and family, make wise decisions.


Sports coordinators attending also provided good feedback and one said overall students “absolutely loved the day and could have stayed longer and done more. Their feed-back was that it could be a bit more interactive as a lot of sitting and listening all day. But they were very buzzy when they got in the van and said they got heaps out of it.”


Presenters also loved the day. Mika Vukona said he loved the team atmosphere and culture among the Ignite team and enjoyed engaging with students. He also loved the positive messages throughout the day and looked forward to participating in future events such as Aspire.


Katie Horan said Aspire bought together a great group of athletes, students and organisers. “I even came away with lots of gems of information myself!”


“Congratulations on a great day,” said College Sport Wellington Executive Director, John Hornal.


Aspire was first held in 2015, with secondary school sports coordinators throughout the Region calling for an annual conference.  The ‘dream’ of Ignite Sport’s Director, Kevin Goldsbury, Aspire aims to teach young sports leaders and athletes about integrity and the values needed to play both on and off the field.


“We coach our athletes brilliantly and teach them all the sports skills necessary to be their best on the field. However, I believe we must empower our young athletes and leaders – who will also be community leaders – to become great young people. We must help them make positive choices at an age when they are making some of their most important decisions,” says Mr Goldsbury.


More than 33 volunteers helped out at Aspire, including senior students from Naenae College who ‘served’ as part of their leadership profile. Aspire was the culmination of several months planning by the Ignite Sport team.


The conference was partnered by College Sport Wellington, Sport Wellington, ESG Foundation, Drugfree Sport NZ, and Massey University.


Organisations which also helped through partnering or supplying goods at Aspire were:

The Sir Peter Blake Trust; Spark Business Hutt Kapiti; Zoaties (Alive Foods); OPD Hewsons Office Product Depot ; Jazz apples (Turners and Growers); Mexicano corn chips; mentos; Sports Distributors; Big Save Porirua; and Pak ‘n Save Porirua.