Andrew Leslie Resigns as Recreation Aotearoa CEO

The Recreation Aotearoa Board wish to advise members and stakeholders of the resignation of Andrew Leslie as CEO. Andrew, who has been with Recreation Aotearoa for 11 years, will be leaving to take up the position of CEO at Nuku Ora (formerly Sport Wellington).

Recreation Aotearoa Board Chair, Michele Frey, says Andrew’s resignation comes with mixed emotions.

“This is absolutely fantastic for him and for the industry; we wish him all the best with this new opportunity. After 11 years at the helm of Recreation Aotearoa, it’s safe to say that Andrew has left a huge legacy and big boots to fill.”

Michele notes that the development of the Recreation Aotearoa Te Whai Oranga strategy, in which Andrew played a key leadership role, ensures the organisation is in a strong position to move forward.

Andrew says he is also experiencing mixed emotions about the announcement. He says, “it is an exciting step for me, but one that is also tinged with sadness. I have put my heart and soul into Recreation Aotearoa, and it is difficult to step away. However, I am really looking forward to this new opportunity to lead Nuku Ora and am extremely motivated to build on the great work the Nuku Ora Board and staff have done to introduce a strategic direction that aligns well with my passions and values.”

During his time as CEO, Andrew has lead Recreation Aotearoa through a sustained period of significant growth.

“I am extremely proud of what has been achieved over the last 11 years. The organisation is vastly different now, in terms of size, scope, and sustainability from when I started. The achievement I am most proud of is the creation of Te Whai Oranga and what it embodies in terms of a commitment to Te Tiriti, accessibility to recreation, and response to climate change.”

“Above all, what I’ll remember most is the heartfelt support the Board, staff, and people throughout the Recreation Aotearoa whānau provided me during the most challenging period of my life, following my accident. It was critical to my recovery knowing you were all there for me and had my back. Recreation Aotearoa is an organisation that truly cares for its people, and I will never forget that.”

Nuku Ora Board Chair, Dianna Taylor, has expressed her delight with the new appointment. She says, “we are delighted that Andrew has accepted the CEO position and look forward to him joining Nuku Ora as we continue our focus on delivering positive outcomes to our region. I would also like to acknowledge Andrew’s work at Recreation Aotearoa and their journey over the last 11 years of his stewardship.”

Andrew’s last day with the Recreation Aotearoa will be 2 December. The Board will soon be advising members and stakeholders of the process and timeline for the recruitment of a new CEO.

Key highlights of Andrew's tenure as Recreation Aotearoa CEO

  • The development and implementation of the 2020- 2025 bicultural strategic plan, Te Whai Oranga.
  • The first industry organisation to achieve Governance Mark for the second time.
  • Spearheading the delivery of the Atua Matua initiative to the recreation sector, a programme centred on learning from the environment and recreation through a Te Ao Māori lens.
  • Recipient of the 2021 C.K Doig Leadership Award.
  • Leading the kaupapa around accessible recreation.
  • A key driver in the organisation’s response to climate change and CarbonZero certification.
  • Transformation and expansion of Recreation Aotearoa partnership and funding streams.

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