Our Team


Sarah Anderson, Executive Director

Sarah has extensive experience working to create and support high-quality sporting environments for young people within New Zealand.

After graduating from the University of Otago with a degree in Physical Education, Sarah worked in local government supporting community sport and recreation programmes. Sarah then joined New Zealand’s government agency for sport, Sport NZ (formerly the Hillary Commission) where she worked for over 10 years in various roles within the Coaching, Relationship Management and Young People’s teams.  This wide-ranging experience has given Sarah a sound understanding of the New Zealand sporting system, the strengths and challenges that face various stakeholders from a national level through to grassroots, as well as an extensive network of stakeholder relationships.

Sarah has also worked in the private sector at the International Rugby Academy of New Zealand, and tertiary education at Ara Institute of Technology.

A strong believer in the value of sport and it’s contribution to the overall well-being and achievement of young people, Sarah is delighted to help shape an exciting new era of tertiary sport in New Zealand. 

Setting up office in Christchurch, Sarah is a keen mountain biker and trail runner and is enjoying the adventure landscape that the region has to offer.


Tiwai Wilson, Marketing and Events Manager

Tiwai is an experienced sports administrator with a passion for enabling and facilitating opportunities for people to participate and excel in their chosen sports.

After completing a Bachelor of Physical Education degree at the University of Otago, Tiwai started his career as Competitions Support Officer with the Willetton Basketball Association in Perth, before then being asked to join the team at Basketball Western Australia where he managed the Western Australian Basketball League. 

Upon returning to New Zealand Tiwai was employed by the University of Auckland, starting out in a Sports Coordinator role and progressing on to become Acting Sports Manager from September 2018 to December 2019. 

Leading one of the country’s highest-performing sport departments at the University of Auckland, Tiwai developed excellent skills in managing staff as well as student volunteers and guiding them to effectively encourage students to engage in sport. 

Tiwai's main passion is for participating in and supporting sports and outdoor pursuits, as well as assisting others in doing things they enjoy, cooking, experiencing new things and spending time with family and friends.


UTSNZ Governance

On behalf of the key stakeholders, the Board of University and Tertiary Sport NZ (UTSNZ) is responsible for the active stewardship of the organisation to ensure its future well-being for the benefit of members and other current and future stakeholders. The UTSNZ Board Charter outlines these responsibilities: Board Charter

The following position description outlines the purpose and primary responsibilities of UTSNZ Board Members:
UTSNZ Board Member Position Description

Board of Directors

Nicola Clayden (Chairperson)

Nicola is a highly experienced management professional with 25 years’ experience in the sport and wellness sector, including 20 years at the University of Waikato. Currently, Nicola is Sport Project Manager at the University of Waikato where she collaborates with many stakeholders and works toward positive student sport experiences.   

As illustrated by her involvement in projects such as the development of the Hillary Scholarship Programme, sport facility projects and wellness activations, Nicola is motivated to enhance the environment so as to enable people to be more active. 

With a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Otago and a Diploma of Strategic Management from the University of Waikato, Nicola's successful leadership has been achieved through her commitment to focused strategic and sustainable outcomes. 

Nicola was the inaugural chairperson for the new University and Tertiary Sport entity in 2016.

Residing in Tauranga, Nicola enjoys the outdoor lifestyle and supporting her two children in their various endeavours.  

Chris Atherton (Treasurer)

Chris is a Chartered Accountant who has worked in audit, general practice, the public sector and in commercial environments both in the UK and in New Zealand. He is currently a Business and Finance Manager at Massey University based in the Manawatu but covering campuses in Wellington and Albany as well.

Chris is a lover of all things sporting, but in particular has a passion for football (soccer) and has most recently played in social teams for Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Social Development.

A father to three sons who have played football, rugby and basketball competitively, Chris has a firm belief that commitment, competitiveness, team spirit and fair play are all qualities that young people can gain through sport. Chris is a firm believer that involvement in sport improves the well-being of young people, their families and the communities that they live in, including the university community.

Garry Carnachan

Garry is the Executive Director of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Sports Council (NZSSSC) and has considerable strategic experience in enabling young New Zealanders to achieve their potential through sport. Under Garry’s stewardship NZSSSC have increased their number of sanctioned sports events by 60% over the past 10 years, and developed a number of professional learning opportunities for school sport personnel including the NZ Teachers’ Games.

Garry’s industry experience and insight has been utilised by most national sports organisations in planning approaches to youth and school sport. He has assisted Sport New Zealand through project leadership of the ‘Sport in Education’ project and membership of the ‘Thought Leaders Group’ responsible for developing the SportNZ Talent Plan.

Currently a director on the AFL New Zealand Board and a member of the NZ Community Trust Regional Advisory Committee, Garry has also previously served on the NZ Olympic Committee Education Commission and worked for the Hurricanes franchise.

Garry lives on the coast in Taranaki and is a keen surfer and skier. 

Sarah Cowley-Ross

Sarah is a retired New Zealand Olympic track athlete, whose career  focused on the high jump and the heptathlon. She competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games and two Commonwealth Games and is a current New Zealand Olympic Ambassador. Sarah also competed in three World University Games whilst completing degrees in communication and physiotherapy.

This unique background in communications, high-performance sport and health, has led Sarah to a career as a wellness champion. In between being a mum-of-two and physiotherapist, Sarah is also a presenter, guest speaker, columnist for Healthy Food Guide, and mentor.

Believing that sport is more than physical exercise, that it is a pathway, Sarah thinks that it is really important for all people to be involved in sport and particularly young people. She looks forward to seeing UTSNZ grow to achieve its strategic goals in the future for the benefit of young people and New Zealand.

Sarah is an aspiring director and currently serves on the NZ Olympic Committee Athlete's Commission and is a selector for Athletics NZ.  

Anne-Marie Parsons

Anne-Marie  is Associate Director, Student Engagement and Wellbeing at the University of Auckland. In her role she is responsible for ensuring that students are well supported and engaged throughout their University life. She has specific responsibility for the Health and Counselling Service, the Early Childhood Education service, Student Engagement (including student clubs and groups, university-wide orientation, co-curricular engagement, leadership and volunteering), Faith and Spirituality services. Anne-Marie is also responsible for Student Wellbeing which is focused on tackling systemic issues that contribute to student distress and supporting the creation of an environment and conditions that enhance health and wellbeing. 

Prior to joining the University of Auckland in 2017, Anne-Marie worked for the University of South Australia for more than 12 years. During this time, she held various roles including the Director of the Student Engagement Unit, the Deputy Director of Student Experience and Manager of Strategic Projects. While at the University of South Australia she established UniSA Sport, the institution’s peak sporting body for representative, club and recreational sport. 

Anne-Marie has a Master of Enterprise, Business Administration, Management and Operations from the University of Melbourne and Bachelor of Arts, Law from Flinders University of South Australia.

Bruce Meyer

Bruce has worked within tertiary sport for over 15 years and is the Manager of Sport and Athlete Support at AUT University. Highlights of his time in that role have included hosting and winning New Zealand University Games, driving the creation of what is now University and Tertiary Sport NZ, and enabling AUT to become an inaugural member of the Athlete Tertiary Friendly Network. He still gets a thrill out of helping and seeing high-performance athletes go on to represent New Zealand and graduate from AUT.

Bruce has significant international administration experience. He was part of the support crew that travelled to the 2017 World University Games in Taipei, in the role of Athlete Support Manager. He was Chef de Mission for the 2016 FISU World University Futsal Championships in Brazil, and has tour-managed several AUT teams to compete internationally.

Passionate about all sports, Bruce has represented his region for rugby, and internationally for ultimate frisbee. He has recently developed a passion for off-road distance running in some of the amazing places New Zealand has to offer

As a Dad for five children, Bruce enjoys coaching, managing and watching them play sport in his spare time.

Darcy Knox (Student Representative)

Darcy brings to the Board experience and an understanding of sporting organisations as well as a unique first-hand student perspective of UTSNZ tournaments as a member of both the National Tertiary 3x3 and 5x5 Basketball Championship teams from the University of Otago. Darcy has a sound understanding of what makes national level events successful from the perspective of an athlete, a team and the organising body. 

Darcy also has playing, coaching and refereeing experience in his sport of Basketball. 

Jacob Mulholland (Student Representative)

Jacob is in his second year of studying towards a Bachelor of Sports Coaching majoring in leadership and sports science at the University of Canterbury and is a current member of the UTSNZ Student Athlete Commission (SAC). Jacob has valuable experience organising events within the SAC and outside of it with the UC Sports Department. He has been involved in multiple UTSNZ events and belives sport is a major part of life as a student and that it should be one of the most inviting and enticing parts of university life.

Basketball is Jacob's main sport and playing overseas in the USA has given him a multitude of experiences that he has brought back and looks to implement in New Zealand. Jacob currently plays for the University's Under 23 and Premier Club sides as well as representing UC at the 5x5 and 3x3 Nationals at UTSNZ events. 

He also has a strong background in community volunteering and was nominated as the New Zealand representative to attend the FISU Volunteer Leader Academy in 2020.

Student Athlete Commission

The UTSNZ Student Athlete Commission is a voice for student-athletes. Representatives act as a student led advisory board and help to implement student-focused initiatives within their respective universities...