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Cheycoda tees up for IWG

Cheycoda Cocks playing a round on the Lansdowne course. PHOTO/FILE

Former Wairarapa College student Cheycoda Cocks is one of a select group of New Zealand women who will attend a major international conference on women in sport.

The International Women’s and Girls Conference [IWG] in Auckland in November is billed as “the largest gathering in the world to advance gender equity and equality in sport and physical activity”.

Cocks was selected for the conference through Whanake o te Kopara, a leadership programme facilitated by Women in Sport Aotearoa and The Shift Foundation.

Whanake o te Kopara is facilitated by Sarah Leberman, who led the inquiry into the death of cyclist Olivia Podmore and is a lecturer at Massey and a co-founder of Women in Sport Aotearoa, along with Fran McEwen – the founder of The Shift Foundation, who also works with Sport New Zealand [SNZ].

“They facilitate a programme for 20 wahine under the age of 25 within the industry, and you had to apply for it, and we have three wananga all over New Zealand, and we get registration into the IWG conference,” Cocks said.

“IWG is a big conference, with over 500 speakers over different topics, and it’s pure personal development and a professional opportunity to go and be a part of it and meet people from around the world.”

After leaving Waicol, Cocks, who was a leading junior golfer, put the sport on the backburner to study at Massey University for a Bachelor of Sports and Exercise, majoring in sport development.

Last year, she worked fulltime at the Manawatu Golf Club while finishing her studies. After graduating, Cocks started working at Sport Manawatu as a project co-ordinator, focusing on developing equitable outcomes for Maori to be physically active.

“It isn’t just physically active – it’s about getting equitable outcomes for Maori, so they decide what they want to do with their lives and have pathways to get there,” she said.

“Really, my role is to be either that support or role model to show other Maori that they can be whatever they want to be.

“I’m probably more connected in the systems change in sport and providing pathways rather than personal outcomes.”

Cocks said one of the reasons she took the Manawatu Sport job was because of then chief executive Trevor Shailer – a former Commonwealth Games boxer.

“He was the only Maori chief executive in the regional sports trust network. He drove a lot of the Kaupapa Maori-based outcomes from SNZ, and he was pretty much my role model.

“But he left here, and now he’s the critical programme director at Te Puni Kokiri.”

Cocks, who represented Wellington in golf until 2020, winning national titles, junior provincial championships, and some quadrangular tournaments, is also gearing up to return to representative golf.

She intends to join a club, probably Palmerston North, to push for a place in the Manawatu-Whanganui side.

She also still retains close connections with Wairarapa and is a member of the Mahunga, Masterton, and Riversdale clubs.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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