Invercargill business advisor and project manager Bevan Ellis has been appointed to chair an expanded Sport Southland Board.
Ellis, who has been a trustee of the regional sports trust since 2018, replaces Steven Kennedy, who passed away earlier this year.
“It was a bitter-sweet appointment with Steve’s passing, but I’m really looking forward to taking on the challenge. They are big shoes to fill. Steve was really well connected and knew Sport Southland so well, he was a great guy to serve under,” Ellis said.
Along with Ellis and current Sport Southland board members Chris Peddie, Alex Crackett, Aaron McKenzie and Nigel Finnerty, a recent recruitment process has seen the addition of four new trustees.
Newfield Park Primary School principal Sonya Carey and Southland District Council Group Manager, Services and Assets, Matt Russell have been appointed for three years.
Kindergartens South general manager Nikki McRobie and Invercargill lawyer and general manager of MSK Ultrasound Southland, Katie McRae have been co-opted onto the board for the next two years.
Having greater representation from across the community would add depth to the decision-making process as Sport Southland develops strategies in response to a changing landscape which includes a focus across the full spectrum from play and active recreation to traditional sport, Ellis said.
“We wanted to expand the board because having some more diversity of thought…around the table will be really helpful,” he said.
The pandemic has had serious repercussions for the sport sector, but also shown that people are thinking differently about being active, so the future was both challenging and exciting, Ellis said.
“Sport Southland is a key player in the community. We’ve got a lot of thinking and rethinking to do as we come through the Covid-19 crisis and into a new normal and what that’s going to look like.”
Sport Southland had a significant part to play in supporting the wellbeing of the community, Ellis said.
“Sport Southland has evolved. The sport corner of what we do is still really important, and I think we are showing really good leadership in that space, (supporting) clubs and regional sports organisations. More and more it’s around activity, it’s just trying to get our next generation active in whatever way that is.”