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Massey leads the way as New Zealand’s first athlete friendly university


Swimmer Amaka Gessler, Massey Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey,
New Zealand Academy of Sport athlete life manager
Susan Thomason and New Zealand hockey player Blair Tarrant.

Massey University has become the first New Zealand university to sign up to a new ‘Athlete Friendly Tertiary Network’ set up by the New Zealand Academy of Sport.

The academy has recognised Massey’s drive to nurture high performance athletes and wants all universities to join the network.

The network will be made up of tertiary institutions that agree to adopt a set of guiding principles to support New Zealand’s high performance athletes to combine their sporting and academic aspirations.

“We’re delighted that Massey is the first member of the Athlete Friendly Tertiary Network. It is very fitting given the considerable support they have given athletes,” the academy’s athlete life manager, Susan Thomason, says.

Massey Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey says the University has placed huge emphasis on creating a supportive environment for student-athletes both on and off campus.

“We believe Massey is the number one choice for athletes who want to successfully combine their sports careers with their study. Massey allows athletes to study and sit exams wherever they may be in the world, and with the flexibility they need,” he says. “On campus, our Academy of Sport gives young student-athletes the support they need to achieve in their chosen sport and academically, and our campuses are home to high-quality facilities.”

The University employs a high performance co-ordinator who is dedicated to supporting student-athletes with all of their sporting and academic requirements.

This year, Massey is the largest tertiary provider for 119 of the Prime Ministers’ Athlete Scholarship recipients. At last year’s Commonwealth Games, 41 members of the team were Massey student-athletes, with 31 winning at least one medal. Eight of the 10 medallists at the 2010 World Rowing Champs were Massey students.

The value of athletes being able to pursue academic studies is well documented and the Athlete Friendly Tertiary Network will enable a more structured and effective system for both athletes and tertiary staff.

Massey University led the way to sign the agreement followed by Victoria University, AUT University and the University of Waikato.

Massey student-athlete and double Commonwealth Games medallist Amaka Gessler is in training for the World Swimming Championships and World University Games, both in China, this year. “But I’m also continuing studying towards a Bachelor of Science,” she says. “The flexibility and support offered by Massey makes it possible to continue my studies while preparing for, and competing in, these big events.”

Bachelor of Business Studies student Blair Tarrant has just returned from Malaysia with the New Zealand Black Sticks hockey team. “It’s really good to have an opportunity to continue to study while travelling with the Black Sticks. I was studying internally but have switched to distance-learning, with Massey’s help, this year because of overseas commitments.”

Massey University – Number one for high performance athletes

Massey University has a long history of providing the support elite athletes require for studying while competing on the world stage.
  • Massey University is the chosen tertiary provider for the majority of elite athletes, including scores of Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallists and others who are making a mark internationally.
  • Massey University has the expertise in sport science, sport management and nutrition that provides ongoing research to improve performance.
  • Massey’s Academy of Sport provides student-athletes with key sport science services to assist in athletic development, physical conditioning, sports nutrition and sports psychology, all provided by NZAS accredited providers.
  • Massey offers a range of benefits through its Academy of Sport programme, including individually tailored athlete support, sport scholarships for academic fees, travel funds for assistance with international competitions, gym memberships and training gear, and practical seminars on the latest developments in the sporting world.
  • The University is home to the School of Sport and Exercise, headed by some of the country’s leading sport science researchers.
  • Research clusters across Massey’s three campuses are highly regarded internationally and include:
    -Wellington: Exercise prescription and therapy, rehabilitation, biomechanics, endurance sport nutrition
    -Manawatu: Skeletal muscle physiology and metabolism, environmental exercise physiology, physiological modelling, motor control, sport performance
    -Albany: Cardiovascular physiology, team sport nutrition and performance
  • The School of Sport and Exercise also has leading researchers in sports management, teaching the business skills and sports-related subjects needed to gain a place in the industry, whether in management or coaching.
  • Through Team Massey, elite equestrians now have the chance to study at Massey while competing at the highest level. A team of experts is supporting the young riders to combine study and an equestrian career. Team Massey includes internationally recognised riders and coaches, equine experts in nutrition and physiotherapy, as well as human performance experts, who mentor and support students accepted into the programme.
  • The University boasts arguably the top sporting facilities in New Zealand.
    -Best equipped recreation centre in Australasia (Albany campus).
    -Sport and Rugby Institute the University’s High Performance Centre.
    -Equestrian arena and recreation centre (Manawatu campus).
    -Recreation centre (Wellington campus).

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