How Far We Have Come

The Foundations​​​​​​​

The seeds of Sports Chaplaincy NZ were laid in 2011 when the Rugby World Cup was being hosted in Aotearoa New Zealand. SCNZ’s founding CEO, Ross Georgiou, recognised this as a good opportunity to provide pastoral care for sportspeople and developed an initiative (called Engage) that would enable churches to partner with the Rugby World Cup to provide home hosting programmes, volunteers to serve at the games, and chaplains to provide pastoral care to the teams.


The First Five Years (2013 - 2018)

At this time there were less than a handful of sports chaplains, and to fuel growth, it was time to establish a formalised structure. In 2013, based on the highly effective model of Sports Chaplaincy Australia (SCA), and with plenty of support and encouragement from SCA, a governance board was recruited, and Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand (SCNZ) was incorporated as a charitable trust.  

Over the next five years under Ross’s leadership, SCNZ began the process of laying strong structural foundations, developing a regional framework with “Regional Leaders” overseeing the training and growth of SCNZ in their area, and growing a localised training and accreditation process, while at the same time seeking opportunities to place sports chaplains. During these early years, supply of chaplains was greater than demand for chaplains.


The Last Five Years (2019 - 2023)

In mid-2017, Ross and his family relocated to Europe to establish the Global Sports Chaplaincy Association. Phil Pawley, a kiwi who had returned to NZ after living in the UK where he had been a chaplain to the St Helen’s Rugby League Club for ten years, was appointed to the role of National Director in March 2018. 

Over these last five years, SCNZ has experienced considerable growth in the placement of trained and accredited sports chaplains through growing its regional strategy, strengthening its supporter and funding base, and through deep relationships that have been formed with various sporting bodies. As at 2023 we have 100 accredited and placed chaplains serving 18 sporting codes across the country. The tide has well and truly turned and demand for sports chaplains significantly exceeds supply. But this is just the beginning. Our vision is to have 200 sports chaplains serving across Aotearoa by the end of 2025.

As of 2023, our board holds 7 very committed men and women, and the SCNZ Staff has grown to 8 Regional Leaders and 3 National Office Staff:

Jacolize Becker (Auckland North)
Onosai Auva'a (Auckland South)
Murray Hunt (Waikato)
Willie Bryant (Manawatu)
Wes Smith (Wellington & Tasman),

Rodney Read (Canterbury), and
Sarah & Shane Auld (Southland & Otago)

National Director Phil Pawley
Operations & Training Manager Matt Hawkins, and
Communications Officer Michaela Jameson

Our Values

​​​​​​​Whanaungatanga Relationship    |    Whakapono Faith    |    Whaiaro Character    |    Whakaute Respect    |    Rangapu Partnership

Initial Branding

Our first logo was designed to represent Christ’s love and strength, as well as the strength and movement involved in sport.

The specific elements and what they symbolised were: 

  • Uplift, celebration, and support – the position of the arms
  • Movement – three overlaid, off set triangles, dash through the midriff
  • Community – three overlapping triangles
  • Strength and diversity - colours of red, deep purple, and blue 
  • Figure of a person – gender neutral, representative of a range of sports
    (a figure-skater, a runner crossing the finish line, a weightlifter, etc)

Updating the Logo 

At the start of 2020 SCNZ’s branding went through a refresh. The redesign simplified the logo while retaining much of the imagery that expresses movement, care, action, love, community, and support. The blue and teal colours reflect the Pacific Ocean and Aotearoa New Zealand’s place as a Pacific nation. Inspired by tāniko patterns representing the weaving and binding together of perspectives and stories, and the kākahu/korowai representing covering, protection, support and adornment, we introduced diamond and triangular shapes into the background of SCNZ’s visual media.

Not long after this, the scope of branded clothing available to our staff and sports chaplains was further developed enabling all those involved to proudly wear the new look SCNZ logo.

Celebrating 10 Years of Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand

From just a handful of visionaries and a couple of sports chaplains, we have grown to a ministry that impacts sports communities throughout our nation.​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​This year we are celebrating ten years since SCNZ officially began, and we are celebrating it with two key events: Global Sport Sunday, and our national Get In The Game Sports Chaplains Hui.

Global Sports Sunday

Our first major event was Global Sports Sunday on 17th September 2023. We saw 50+ churches to take up this initiative and focus one Sunday on the huge missional opportunity on their doorstep. Beyond providing Sports Chaplains, there are many other ways churches can get involved with their with their neighbouring sports clubs and teams through acts of kindness and voluntary service. Global Sport Sunday will help focus the Church on the amazing opportunities that sport presents.

Get In The Game - Sports Chaplains Hui

The second major event was our Get In The Game Sports Chaplains Hui, on October 27th – 28th. This was be our first national gathering since 2016 and was absolutley awesome! Since 2016 we have grown dramatically and we saw 100+ Sports Chaplains and trainees gathered at the AUT Millennium in Rosedale, Auckland for 48 hours of fun, networking, sharing, encouragement, worship, and teaching.