The appointment of new Chief Executive Emma Hodgkin marks a new era for hockey in Canterbury, with the born and bred Cantabrian believed to be Canterbury Hockey Association’s first female CEO.
The mother of three will transition from her role as Netball Mainland’s Commercial Manager in the new year, taking over from Rod Templeton who’s held the post for 8 years.
Her collaborative ethos is something that no doubt swung the role in her favor as the sport looks to continue its transition to Nga Puna Wai.
“It’s exciting what can be achieved if organizations achieve true collaboration,” said Hodgkin. “Both up and down an organization and across from one to another, so I guess one of the key things I’m looking forward to is cementing that transition to Nga Puna Wai and creating a true sense of collaboration with the other sports and as a hockey community too.”
“Being able to work across a wide spectrum of the sport from community level to high performance was a real attraction for me,” she added. “And being able to help hockey develop and grow strategically is what excites me the most.”
Whilst this is the first Chief Executive role for Hodgkin, her experience in governance and with multi-organizational collaboration has her primed for the challenges ahead. During her time at the health precinct advisory council as the Executive Office Hodgkin drove the development of the strategic plan with partners the Christchurch District Health Board, Matapopore (Ngai Tuahuriri/ NgaiTahu), Ara and the Universities of Canterbury and Otago. She was also at Sport Southland during the establishment of Sports House which incorporated twelve different sporting organizations under one roof.
“I’m really delighted. Being in a role like this has always been a goal of mine. So, to achieve that with hockey, it’s really exciting and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
“There were definitely times of uncertainty and trepidation during that time at the Health Precinct Advisory Council, but we all worked together and as a result, there’s some great work that’s been achieved there.”
Hodgkin says ensuring the community and club side of the game is nurtured and supported is also one of her key focuses. “My background is in the community and I’ve always felt that that’s where the true heart of a sport lies – in its volunteers, administrations, and players. We can’t lose sight of why we’re all here and our primary goal – to give children and young people (and us old folk as well) the opportunity to be part of something, to learn about the team environment and to develop a love for physical activity and sport. If we get that right, then the high-performance side will flourish as it’ll be well supported by a great playing base and culture.
After studying a Sport and Recreation degree at Lincoln University the passionate sportster headed south where she also played national provincial rugby for Southland whilst working for Sport NZ and Sport Southland. She later returned home to Christchurch and completed post-graduate qualifications in Public Health and Public Sector Management while working for the Ministry of Health and a number of other organizations through her consulting business.
However, her return to sport came after coaching her son’s rugby team. “That’s when I realized how much I missed the sporting environment and the sense of community that it brought. Once I finished the contract I was working on, I took some time to determine where I wanted to go next and decided back in sport would be best for me. Sixteen months later here I am, and truly loving being back in the environment – sport is home for me.”