Connecting Coaches

The 2018 Connecting Coaches conference will be held in St David Lecture Theatre, University of Otago, Dunedin.

Dates 30 November 2018 – 1 December 2018


Attend and you will meet coaches from many different sports all collaborating on how to be a better coach. Together we’ll answer:

  • What are Kiwi coaches good at?
  • What do Kiwi athletes best respond to?
  • How can we lift our coaching individually and collectively?

Whatever your level, Connecting Coaches will give you the tools, connections and inspiration to grow as a coach.


Friday 30 November: 10:55 am – 6:35 pm; Cocktail hour: 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Saturday 1 December: 8:30 am-3:20 pm


Robyn Cockburn

Robyn has more than 25 years’ experience working as a consultant researcher, strategist, facilitator and educator. She is the Director of Lumin working with a team of people in the arts, recreation, arts, sport, education and health sectors. She works at national, local and community levels with organisations and individuals, and uses creative, people centred approaches. Past clients include local authorities, DHBs, the New Zealand Olympic Committee, NZ Women in Leadership, Creative New Zealand, SportNZ, Skills Active, New Zealand Recreation Association, Outdoors NZ, Sports Trusts, Tertiary Training Institutes, Dance Aotearoa New Zealand, Entertainment Venues Association of New Zealand, New Zealand Rugby Union and Victoria University of Wellington. Robyn recently supported NZ rugby’s respect and responsibility review as a researcher and writer.

Farah Palmer and Wesley Clarke

Dr Farah Palmer best known as the former captain of the NZ Black Ferns. She graduated with a Bachelor of Physical Education in 1994 and gained a PhD in sociology of sport at Otago University in 2000. In 2006 she was awarded Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to women's rugby and sport. Farah was a member of the Taskforce on New Zealand Sport in 2000 (which played a significant role in the formation of SPARC) and is currently a member of the New Zealand Sports Disputes Tribunal and NZ Rugby Board.  She has a passion for Maori research and development and she’s a member of the Centre of Research Excellence – Maori and Academy of Maori Research and Scholarship, as well as being the Director of the Maori Business Research Centre at Massey University. In 2018 Farah was appointed to the board of Sport NZ.

Wesley, husband of Farah is passionate about Coaching. He has an extensive Rugby coaching portfolio as a 15’s, Rugby 7's and Women’s Rugby coach, a coach developer at the New Zealand Rugby Union and a professional coach in the ITM cup in New Zealand. Wesley is also a World Rugby Coach Educator. 

Kathryn Berkett

Kathryn has her master’s in educational psychology and is certified as a Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics practitioner. Kathryn has extensive experience in this area. She has worked and trained, nationally and internationally, on the subject of neuroscience for over fifteen years, delivering to a variety of organisations including Primary and Secondary Teachers, the Police, Child Youth and Family, Prisons, Kindergartens, Parents, Recreation Groups, Mental Health Professionals, Politicians and Corporates. she has mastered the knack of getting across research-based, neuroscientific information in a way that is easy to understand, internalise and translate into practice.

Alex McKenzie

Alex has been involved in high performance sport for over 25 years in numerous capacities.  After graduating from the University of Otago with degrees in Physical Education and Anthropology, Alex went on to complete a master’s degree and PhD in Sport Psychology from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.  Upon returning to New Zealand he spent ten years as a lecturer in sport psychology at Otago University, during which time he worked with numerous high-performance athletes and teams as a mental skills consultant, as well as coaching rugby at age-group, premier and representative level.  He was an inaugural board member for the New Zealand Academy of Sport and went on to work as a Professional Development Manager for the Highlanders and Hurricanes Rugby Franchises. 

In 2008 Alex was asked to lead the development of the newly established Coach Accelerator Programme and was the Manager of that programme until April 2018.  During that time he has overseen the professional development of some of New Zealand’s finest high-performance coaches.  Over 70 coaches from over 20 sports have participated in the Coach Accelerator Programme since its inception, and these coaches have coached athletes and teams to win numerous Olympic, Commonwealth Games, and World Championship titles.  Many of the coaches have won national and international coaching awards, with Steve Hansen (All Blacks Head Coach) and Gordon Walker (Kayak Coach) named as Halberg Coach of the Year on four occasions. 

Further keynote presenters will be announced soon.


Here are some accommodation options that we recommend.  


$200 incl GST


At own expense. Some options are Supershuttles, Kiwishuttles, Airport Shuttles Dunedin.

For more information, contact 

Proudy presented by Otago Academy of Sport, in association with Sport New Zealand.



Speaker slides from the 2015 conference

Other downloads


Connecting Coaches 2016

Connecting Coaches 2015