Breakfast with Graham Cooney - Former Director NZ Rugby board

21 June Tauranga 2
This event has past.

When: Thursday 21 June

Time: 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Price: Members: $35.00

Non-members: $45.00

Location: Tauranga Club, Level 5, 72 Devonport Road, Tauranga

Governance challenges, unique to a large professional sporting organisation

Governance is a critical component of the effective management of all organisations, including sport. Due to the changing nature of sport organisations, most notably the movement to adopt business models of operation, questions of appropriate forms of governance have attracted increasing attention in the sport sector.

This event not only discusses the history of governance structure, the organisational structure and the governance scorecard; Graham will also be sharing his experiences to help us better understand how to interpret the unique function of board roles in sport organisations.


Graham Cooney

Graham has over 30 years’ experience within governance. His sports governance began in 1998 on the Rugby Southland board, of which he was chair from 2007 – 2009.  This overlapped with his time on the Highlanders franchise board (1999 - 2006) and he also represented New Zealand Rugby (NZR) on the Crusaders board following the Christchurch earthquake. Graham was on the NZR board from 2010 to 2016, where he was chair of the rugby committee for 3 years and on the Audit and Finance committee for 5 years.

Beginning as a founding director of Blue Sky Meats (NZ) Ltd. (A public company formed in 1986 and involved in the export meat trade.) Graham was chair from 2007 to 2016 when he retired from the board. The company has approximately 350 employees and a turnover of more than $100 million. He was on the Council of Southern Institute of Technology for 11 years and the chair from 2002 to 2011. During this time, the zero fees initiative was introduced and despite charging no fees, cash assets grew from about $5 million to $30 million.

Other director roles include Tennis Southern, Bond Contracts, Computer Group NZ and independent chair for the law firm Preston Russell Limited.

Graham’s current governance role, since 2012, is a ministerial appointee to the NZ Racing Board. He is Chair of the Dates Committee, the Net Proceeds Committee and CRIG (Combined Racing Industry Group) and on Audit and Risk. He is a fellow of Institute of Directors NZ, NZIM, and NZ Institute of Primary Industry Management (NZIPIM). Graham was National President of NZIPIM in 1987 and 1988.


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