Shanee Kiriau

Shanee Kiriau

Community & Digital Delivery Manager, Women in Sport Aotearoa – Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa/International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport
Bachelor of Sport and Recreation in Sport Management & Bachelor of Business in Marketing, Advertising, Retailing and Sales

She loves contributing to social change in sport, says sport and recreation alumna Shanee Kiriau who is now the community and digital delivery manager for Women in Sport Aotearoa – Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa and is involved in the International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport.

“I’m responsible for key digital and community strategies and projects, which includes leading the digital delivery of the IWG Women & Sport Secretariat and World Conference 2018 – 2022 and establishing a national network of women in sport and physical activity community. I get the opportunity to innovate and creatively apply my digital expertise to advocate for women and girls worldwide. I’m lucky to have such amazing leaders who continuously empower, value and help me contribute towards the journey of gender equity and equality.”

Shanee has had a number of recent achievements she is particularly proud of, and says she is proud to bring together likeminded organisations to help deliver towards the needs of local wāhine and kōhine in their respective communities.

“I contributed to leading a young women’s leadership programme in collaboration with ICC Cricket and six local partners to 65 young women nationwide, in parallel with the Cricket World Cup 2022. I’ve also led the virtual delivery of the 8th IWG World Conference on Women & Sport, the world’s largest gathering in the world to advance gender equity and equality for women in sport and physical activity. The opportunity to bring together influential leaders within the sector to inspire collective action for women and girls worldwide has been a unique opportunity.

“I’ve also been involved in leading the development of the IWG Insight Hub, which is a collection of research, case studies, toolkits and news designed to empower and advance gender equity and equality for women and girls in sport and physical activity worldwide. Another project I’ve led was the establishment of a national women in sport network, which works together to achieve positive change for women and girls in play, active recreation and sport here in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

The right university environment
Born and raised in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, Shanee moved to Auckland because she wanted to make a positive contribution to women and girls in the sports sector and enrolling in AUT offered the best pathway towards her dream career.

“I had a taste of full-time work experience in the Parks, Sport & Recreation department with the Wellington City Council and I knew that sport and recreation was the area I wanted to pursue. AUT offered an amazing double degree programme that could be completed in four years, with flexible options to include workplace experience. AUT also had strong industry relationships with some of the sport organisations I endeavoured to work for in the future, which was an attractive selling point for me. The smaller classes also meant more one-on-one attention with lecturers.”

There were plenty of highlights throughout her time at AUT, says Shanee who captained the AUT women’s basketball team and was on the AUT Sports Governance Club Committee in addition to her studies.

“My semester-long marketing project was a huge highlight, and my sport management internship with Women in Sport Aotearoa was equally mind blowing. Both opportunities allowed me to gain real-life working experiences within the sector, while giving me the autonomy to take the lead on a project that would benefit the organisation. They both opened opportunities to network, turn knowledge into practice and understand what shared leadership felt like.

“Another highlight for me was Gaye Bryham’s insight, one of my favourite lecturers, speaking on the topic of leadership and the multi-faceted lenses used to view leadership. She discussed the power of the word ‘yet’ and how this small change can reframe and empower us to exercise leadership. Simply adding the word ‘yet’ to the end of an internal conflict becomes an opportunity to revisit and embrace ‘I can’ at a later date. This gave me a huge sense of confidence and acceptance by allowing myself to evolve rather than accept the ‘I can’t’ type of thoughts.”

Advice for other students
Shanee, who graduated in March 2021, has some great advice for other students.

“One of my favourite quotes I learned in my entrepreneurship class was ‘It’s not what you know or who you know, it’s who knows what you know’. This positively integrates the power of knowledge and relationships to create collective action. This quote has guided me significantly towards whom I connect with to share my insights, to help elevate the collective towards action in creating positive change within our community.”

It’s important to always be true to yourself, she adds.

“Be authentic! Being true to your values will always lead you towards the direction that was meant for you.”

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