Our Staff

Sarah Murray | Chief Executive

Sarah is our Kaiwhakahaere Matua Chief Executive. Her role is to lead Recreation Aotearoa towards Te Pae Tawhiti and our mission Te Whai Oranga – enhancing wellbeing for all New Zealanders through recreation. Her focus is on ensuring that Recreation Aotearoa is a strong voice for recreation in New Zealand, and that the organisation delivers high quality programmes and services that support, empower and inspire our members and stakeholders.

Sarah joined Recreation Aotearoa in March 2023. Prior to this she worked for central and local government in roles that saw her working across parks and open spaces, outdoors, community recreation, sport and play. She has held a number of sector governance roles including as a founding trustee of the Shift Foundation and board member of Recreation Aotearoa and WORD Youth Adventures. She is also a long-standing committee member for Revolve, a (mostly) non-competitive cycling club focused on getting more women on bikes. A keen swimmer, cyclist, kayaker and tramper, in her spare time she loves getting active and connecting with Aotearoa’s natural environments.

 Email: sarahm@nzrecreation.org.nz

Tracey Prince-Puketapu | General Manager Operations

Tracey has been with Recreation Aotearoa for almost 10 years, a number of those years spent in the role of Aquatic Programme Manager - Team Leader. 

In her role as General Manager Operations Tracey is responsible for managing the programme manager team, staff safety and wellness and 2IC for the organisation. She will ensure that the organisation captures insights and evaluates the mahi we do to ensure continuous improvement.

In her spare time Tracey loves spending time outdoors recreating and gardening in the sunny capital of Aotearoa.

 Email: tracey@nzrecreation.org.nz

Sam Newton | Advocacy Manager

Sam is the Advocacy Manager at Recreation Aotearoa and manages the organisations Government Relations, ensuring the voice of recreation is heard at the highest levels of decision making in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Sam holds a Bachelor of Commerce, a Bachelor of Arts with Honours, and has been a recipient of the Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship. He has worked in a variety of high-profile roles including as a Parliamentary Advisor, and as General Manager of the New Zealand Alpine Club.

Sam has held a number of Board appointments, including as Chair of the Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board and Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council. Sam is passionate about active recreation in the outdoors and has a wide variety of interests including rock climbing, mountaineering, ski touring, packrafting, and tramping. He also serves as an Officer in the New Zealand Army Reserve.

 Email: sam@nzrecreation.org.nz

Daniel Evans | Events & Membership Manager - Team Leader

Daniel is our Kaiwhakahaere huihuinga, kaitui mema, Events & Membership Manager - Team Leader.

Daniel joined Recreation Aotearoa in late 2017 as our Events and Membership Manager. He brings over 15 years of event management and delivery experience to the organisation.

Daniel is on our senior leadership team, and he loves to engage with our members, partners, and stakeholders.

In his spare time, he loves to recreate with his wife and daughter on the Kāpiti Coast where they reside.

Email: daniel@nzrecreation.org.nz

Rhiann Collins | Aquatics Programme Manager

Rhiann has been in the Aquatics industry for more than 16 years. Originally from UK she worked as a swim teacher and coach before moving to New Zealand in 2009. She continued to work in the Aquatics sector in the Learn to Swim space before joining recreation Aotearoa 5 years ago.

In her role as Aquatics Programme Manager Rhiann is responsible for the Recreation Aotearoa aquatics programme, which includes Poolsafe, Quality Pool, and the Waves Conference, as well as support for the wider industry.

In her spare time she enjoys trail running with her dogs, mountain biking, horse riding, swimming, and being creative..

Email: rhiann@nzrecreation.org.nz

Katie Owens | Disability & Inclusion Programme Manager

Katie is passionate about enhancing opportunities for people with disabilities to be active across Aotearoa. As the Disability and Inclusion Programme Manager, Katie’s role is to develop and champion standards, guidelines, and advice to the active recreation sector to ultimately improve access to recreation places and spaces for people with disabilities.

After graduating from Otago University, Katie spent time in both Invercargill and Auckland before returning to the sunny Hawke’s Bay where she grew up after moving from England with her family.

In her spare time, Katie can be found at the local rural fire station in her volunteer role, sifting through recipe books and experimenting with new foodie ideas, or camping out at a beautiful Central Hawke’s Bay beach. Katie likes playing netball and squash, going for walks with her dog Tilly, dirt-bike riding, and swimming.

Email: katie@nzrecreation.org.nz

Jess Pratt | Programmes Coordinator

Jess is our Kairuruku Kaupapa/Programmes Coordinator, supporting all of our amazing Programme Managers. She has previous experience in the aquatics sector, and has spent many years running around farmlands in the Hutt Valley throughout her upbringing.

Jess believes recreation is not only important for our health, but also for our communities as a whole. Jess wants to support Recreation Aotearoa's vision every step of the way.

On her days off Jess enjoys reading a good book, spending time with her friends and taking care of her rather large collection of pets; a cat, three tortoises and a bunch of fish!

Email: jess@nzrecreation.org.nz

Maryanne Cheater | Events Coordinator

Maryanne is our Events Coordinator. She has 15 years of corporate events experience. She returned to her home city of Wellington six years ago following 11 years in London.

Maryanne's role at Recreation Aotearoa is to assist in the implementation of our exciting events programme, to facilitate connections within the recreation industry and to manage the Recreation Awards.

In her spare time she enjoys going to gigs, tramping, and yoga plus walks in the botanical gardens.

Email: maryanne@nzrecreation.org.nz

Linda Walsh | Finance & Administraton Coordinator

Linda joined us as is our Finance & Administration Coordinator in 2019.

This role continues her commitment in the not-for-profit sector that has spanned over 23 years.

In her role she is responsible for accounts payable and receivable on behalf of all the Recreation Aotearoa staff. Interacting with the dedicated and aspirational Board members as Board liaison is an area she finds particularly rewarding.

Linda grew up in the Wairarapa and moved to Wellington where she has raised a family in the windy city. She still misses those Wairarapa summers though.

To relax Linda revels in reading and cryptic crosswords. Using family time to make celebration cakes with her daughter is a creative outlet and brings a feel-good factor when sharing the results with others.

 "Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading."  - Lena Dunham

Email: linda@nzrecreation.org.nz

Mikayla Hopkins | Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Mikayla is our Marketing & Communications Coordinator/Kairuruku Whakatairanga

Born and raised in the mighty Manawatu, she recently moved to Wellington to pursue new opportunities in the marketing and communications industry and to experience big city living!

She loves to keep active and spends her free time at the gym, finding new hiking spots to explore with her dog Fez, or attempting to keep her herb and vegetable gardens alive. Her biggest passion is natural health and wellbeing, and she likes to experiment with native Aotearoa herbal remedies and formulate natural skincare recipes.

Email: mikayla@nzrecreation.org.nz

 Jenny Jordan | Community Recreation Programme Manager

Jenny has worked in the recreation industry for over twenty years. Over that time she has been a community recreation programme leader, outdoor instructor, tour guide, tertiary educator, board member, commercial, PTE, not-for-profit and local government employee and a private consultant. She also visited every continent, had a baby and obtained her Masters in Business Administration (MBA).

In her role Jenny aims to support the sector to provide great recreation experiences for our communities and individuals wellbeing. She is kaitiaki for the annual Recreation Conference, Kia Rite Hoea programme, managing the Accredited Recreation Professional process, the Tuakana Teina mentorship programme and developing other initiatives to help support the industry.

Jenny is passionate about community, diversity, learning, adventure, recreation and her daughter. She is looking forward to connecting with you and your work in the recreation sphere.

Email: jenny@nzrecreation.org.nz

Olivia Mellor-Killalea | Marketing & Communications Advisor

Olivia has joined us as our Marketing & Communications Advisor Kaitohu Whakatairanga, Papaho.

She comes with a passion for great design with a degree in Visual Communication Design from Massey University which uplifts her Marcomms practice. She has experience in both the Sustainability and Recreation sectors.

She enjoys all things textiles and sewing, making clothes for herself, her nieces and nephews.

Email: olivia@nzrecreation.org.nz

MoST Content Management V3.0.8333