This sporting life

A GOOD MOVE: Stefan Pishief and his wife Rena Kohere had talked about leaving Wellington and coming to Gisborne with their children Henarata (left), Mokena, Aniwa and Kirianu. Then Stefan landed the role of chief executive of Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti and their dream came true. Picture by Liam Clayton

THE temptation is strong to say former gambling compliance manager Stefan Pishief took a punt in leaving his Internal Affairs job in Wellington to move to Gisborne. But the fact is, his wife Rena Kohere has whanau connections up the Coast and Stefan landed a job as chief executive of Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti.

Moving to Gisborne, settling in, getting their four children started in new schools, finding a place to live and navigating his new job was a big step though, says Stefan.

“But it feels like the right move. Especially with my wife who has whanau connections here. When you come here people want to know how you are connected and where you are from, so that’s been good.”

Having made Gisborne his home, he has found renewed passion in his role as the Sport Gisborne’s chief executive.

He is particularly impressed by the breadth of activities Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti is involved with.

“This is a really good organisation. Partnering with sporting, health and community organisations enables us to do good things in the community. No matter your level of sporting ability, or your state of health, we’re here to help. Everyone deserves a positive, active, healthy future.

“It’s an absolute privilege to take up the reins for such a successful organisation as Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti. I’m committed to continue the journey of working with others to produce significant sport and well-being outcomes for our community.

“I see the benefits. I have four kids. I want them to be active. Sport is a tool for physical and mental wellbeing.”

Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti wants everyone in the community involved and much of the organisation’s focus will be on helping the wider community to be more active and help their wellbeing, he says.

“My stance is that communities involved in decision making is a good thing. My ideal model is where communities have a say.”

A primary challenge is to ensure Tairawhiti has the sporting facilities it needs and can afford.

“Another challenge is in keeping people active. There are a lot of barriers — time, distractions presented by digital technology, anxieties.”

For some people those challenges can compromise commitment to traditional sports.

“There is more desire in people to do what they want when they want. The move is away from the traditional model. Our challenge is ‘how do we support those sporting codes to adapt to changing preferences?’

“How do we appeal to people in the community to meet changing times?”

'Unique factors'

Another challenge is to find ways to leverage the region’s “unique factors” that mean sports such as surf lifesaving and waka ama thrive here. He is keen to find more opportunities to enhance the East Coast as a drawcard to attract more people to this region.

“The question is, how can we contribute most to our community? With sport there is a component that could be economically beneficial for this region.”

Stefan grew up in Whangarei but lived and worked in Wellington for close to 20 years.

“Rena and I had loosely asked ourselves ‘why are we in Wellington?’, because neither of us is from there.”

They talked about moving to Gisborne with their four children but did not follow up on it. Then the opportunity to take up a role with Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti arose and Stefan grabbed it.

Moving to Gisborne gave Rena, Henarata (11), Kirianu (7), Mokena (5) and Aniwa (3) the opportunity to better connect with their whakapapa. Stefan has a connection with the region too. In the 1970s, his father worked at Cook Hospital and his older brother was born here.

Stefan has previously participated in sports such as basketball, football and rugby at school and has been a member of a boxing club. Since his arrival in Gisborne he has joined the basketball league and has played in badminton and twilight netball leagues.

He has never surfed but now he’s keen to give it a go.

He is not a committed swimmer either but he navigated the deep end he found himself in when Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti was tasked with helping to run in quick succession the Titirangi Mount Everest Challenge, the Gisborne Herald quarter marathon and the Logan’s Sporting Excellence Awards.

He loved every minute of it.

With 1400 people registered for the Titirangi Mount Everest Challenge, community participation in the event was a “staggering achievement”.

“The number of climbs undertaken by some people was incredible. Each time I climbed the maunga I saw climbers who were enjoying being in each other’s company.

“I realised they were involved in something special.”

The challenge is to find ways for those participants to keep that momentum going, he says.

THE temptation is strong to say former gambling compliance manager Stefan Pishief took a punt in leaving his Internal Affairs job in Wellington to move to Gisborne. But the fact is, his wife Rena Kohere has whanau connections up the Coast and Stefan landed a job as chief executive of Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti.

Moving to Gisborne, settling in, getting their four children started in new schools, finding a place to live and navigating his new job was a big step though, says Stefan.

“But it feels like the right move. Especially with my wife who has whanau connections here. When you come here people want to know how you are connected and where you are from, so that’s been good.”

Having made Gisborne his home, he has found renewed passion in his role as the Sport Gisborne’s chief executive.

He is particularly impressed by the breadth of activities Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti is involved with.

“This is a really good organisation. Partnering with sporting, health and community organisations enables us to do good things in the community. No matter your level of sporting ability, or your state of health, we’re here to help. Everyone deserves a positive, active, healthy future.

“It’s an absolute privilege to take up the reins for such a successful organisation as Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti. I’m committed to continue the journey of working with others to produce significant sport and well-being outcomes for our community.

“I see the benefits. I have four kids. I want them to be active. Sport is a tool for physical and mental wellbeing.”

Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti wants everyone in the community involved and much of the organisation’s focus will be on helping the wider community to be more active and help their wellbeing, he says.

“My stance is that communities involved in decision making is a good thing. My ideal model is where communities have a say.”

A primary challenge is to ensure Tairawhiti has the sporting facilities it needs and can afford.

“Another challenge is in keeping people active. There are a lot of barriers — time, distractions presented by digital technology, anxieties.”

For some people those challenges can compromise commitment to traditional sports.

“There is more desire in people to do what they want when they want. The move is away from the traditional model. Our challenge is ‘how do we support those sporting codes to adapt to changing preferences?’

“How do we appeal to people in the community to meet changing times?”

'Unique factors'

Another challenge is to find ways to leverage the region’s “unique factors” that mean sports such as surf lifesaving and waka ama thrive here. He is keen to find more opportunities to enhance the East Coast as a drawcard to attract more people to this region.

“The question is, how can we contribute most to our community? With sport there is a component that could be economically beneficial for this region.”

Stefan grew up in Whangarei but lived and worked in Wellington for close to 20 years.

“Rena and I had loosely asked ourselves ‘why are we in Wellington?’, because neither of us is from there.”

They talked about moving to Gisborne with their four children but did not follow up on it. Then the opportunity to take up a role with Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti arose and Stefan grabbed it.

Moving to Gisborne gave Rena, Henarata (11), Kirianu (7), Mokena (5) and Aniwa (3) the opportunity to better connect with their whakapapa. Stefan has a connection with the region too. In the 1970s, his father worked at Cook Hospital and his older brother was born here.

Stefan has previously participated in sports such as basketball, football and rugby at school and has been a member of a boxing club. Since his arrival in Gisborne he has joined the basketball league and has played in badminton and twilight netball leagues.

He has never surfed but now he’s keen to give it a go.

He is not a committed swimmer either but he navigated the deep end he found himself in when Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti was tasked with helping to run in quick succession the Titirangi Mount Everest Challenge, the Gisborne Herald quarter marathon and the Logan’s Sporting Excellence Awards.

He loved every minute of it.

With 1400 people registered for the Titirangi Mount Everest Challenge, community participation in the event was a “staggering achievement”.

“The number of climbs undertaken by some people was incredible. Each time I climbed the maunga I saw climbers who were enjoying being in each other’s company.

“I realised they were involved in something special.”

The challenge is to find ways for those participants to keep that momentum going, he says.

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