Horse Power NEC Taupō NEC Christchurch

Strengthen & Adapt

The Strengthen and Adapt programme is a government response to COVID-19, that provides sports organisations and networks with the opportunity to strengthen their capability and capacity post-pandemic, and create a better future for those who take part.    

The Strengthen & Adapt Roadshows are now completed as Equestrian Sports NZ continues a nationwide programme funded by Sport NZ to boost recreation among participants and athletes across all sports.   We will bring you  updates as it evolves over the next period. 


Here is a copy of our ESNZ Strengthen Adapt Project Final Summary November 2023

We know that not everybody was able to attend our Roadshows, so we welcome your thoughts by joining in our participant survey before 21 December found here :

The Strengthen & Adapt programme includes multiple sports codes, and has been rolled out in four “waves” since July 2020.   Equestrian Sports NZ was selected for the third wave that has included Snowsports,  Special Olympics and the Halberg Foundation among others.  Other waves have included high profile mainstream sports such as Netball, Cricket, and Rugby;  high performance sports including Athletics, Tennis and Rowing; and a fourth wave has included sports Squash, Outdoor Education and School Sports to name a few.  

According to Sport NZ, the original programme was designed in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, when there was little understanding of what a COVID environment really meant for sport and physical activity in Aotearoa.  The programme has since evolved to deliver for multiple partners who are now driving change in order to help create a stronger sector for the benefit of all, into the future.

Source: Swimming New Zealand

Some examples of projects now in implementation include Swimming NZ forming a national collective (see pic) with other aquatic sports such as Diving NZ, Water Polo, and Artistic Swimming to improve efficiency in delivering safe water experiences; and Golf NZ partnering with its 14 District Associations, NZ Māori Golf and NZ PGA to pool resources and bring the golf workforce together under one strategy.

Equestrian Sports CEO Julian Bowden says, “The kaupapa of Strengthen and Adapt is to enable sports like equestrian to co-design a future across all arenas of our sport to share ideas and future build. 

“The equestrian landscape is very broad in this country.  Almost everyone has a connection with horses at some stage in their lives, and the lucky ones get to explore the sport further,” he says.

Sport NZ has found that the sports organisations that have been most successful are those where there has been deep stakeholder consultation.


A recent Roadshow conducted by ESNZ.

“Our organisation has links at multiple levels across the sector, so we are mindful of the many challenges the sport faces.  We want to dig deeper into the root causes and take everyone along for the journey.  We can work collaboratively to design solutions that will build the long term sustainability of a recreation we’re all passionate about, that also offers a competitive pathway.”

ESNZ has been funded by Sport NZ to conduct the programme, and is being supported by a social media campaign and direct communication with equestrian organisations and community groups throughout the country. Workshops have been held at eleven locations across Aotearoa New Zealand, co-ordinated by Equestrian Sports NZ National Development Manager Ashra McAvinue.   [Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Tauranga, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Wellington, Manawatu, Taranaki, Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury, Otago, Southland, West Coast].

For more information on Sport New Zealand Strengthen & Adapt: