Who We Are

We believe that quality sport coaching helps grow, nurture and develop our young athletes to become better athletes, better people, and better New Zealanders.

Coach For Life Foundation

The Coach for Life Foundation has been established by Jon & Sue Tanner and a group of foundation Trustees via their Charitable Trust, the Sport Development and Innovation Charitable Trust with a clear objective of growing the quality of youth sport coaches in New Zealand.

Our Philosophy

We believe that quality sport coaching helps grow, nurture and develop our young athletes to become better athletes, better people, and better New Zealanders. 

If we can enhance the capability of our sport coaches we believe young athletes will have richer sporting experiences and are more likely to stay in sport longer. 

To achieve this the Coach for Life Foundation is committed to delivering programmes of work that provide our youth sport coaches with resources and inspiration to enable them to  provide quality sporting experiences for our rangitahi athletes across New Zealand and across multiple sports.

Leadership Trustees

Jon Tanner

Jon was born and educated in Hamilton, attending St Paul’s Collegiate. From there Jon, went to Otago University where he gained a BCom and represented Otago in provincial hockey, as well as being first selected for the Black Sticks Men’s Hockey team in 1982. Jon is currently a director and shareholder of Craigs Investment Partners and is actively involved in the community having held a number of board and trustee roles including Momentum Waikato, St Pauls Collegiate, Donny Charitable Trust, University of Waikato Foundation, Hamilton Gardens Development Trust and the Hamilton Golf Club. He also had significant fundraising roles for other organisations including the Neuro Research Charitable Trust, Halberg Trust and Hockey NZ, and for major projects such as the Waikato Regional Theatre and Hamilton Gardens.

In addition to his highly successful business career, Jon has remained passionately involved in sport, and in particular Hockey, where after a successful coaching career he established Midlands hockey in 1998, was a Hockey New Zealand board member and a founding chair for the Hockey Foundation. Youth sport coaching is an area of particular passion, based on the wonderful sporting experiences Jon enjoyed growing up and his belief there is a need to support and develop both the quality and quantum of youth coaches, coaching our best youth talent, in New Zealand. 

Jon was awarded the Companion of the Queen’s Service Order for services to hockey in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list, a Hamilton Civic Award for services to the community in 2014 and the Sport Waikato Hare Puke Award for Leadership in 2019. 

Dean Armstrong

Dean is a technology executive and entrepreneur, and a sportsperson who believes that great sporting experiences enrich lives, help people to grow, and ultimately build stronger communities. Dean is an active club and representative hockey goalkeeper with a career that has seen him represent Counties-Manukau, Waikato, Midlands, and New Zealand. A Hillary Scholar and NZ University Blue, Dean has also held various coaching, administrative, and governance roles including as a Director of Midlands Hockey.

Away from the sporting world, Dean is an engineer, founder, and executive with a passion for building high-growth technology companies that deliver positive human impact. He holds a degree in mathematics and computer science, a Ph.D in the field of wireless communications and is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors. 

Dean lives in Hamilton with his wife and three young children who are all active sport participants. He is passionate about the wonderful contribution that sport can make in our lives and communities, and is committed to supporting the Coach for Life Foundation in its mission to ensure that positive sporting experiences are available to all youth throughout Aotearoa. 

Kirsten Petrie

Kirsten is from Ōtautahi, Christchurch, where she played hockey and softball at school, club and representative level. Kirsten completed a Bed (PE) at Christchurch Teachers College and then her Masters, before she moved to a lecturing role at The University of Waikato. Since moving north Kirsten has completed a doctorate focused on the professional learning of HPE for primary school teachers and taught across undergrad and postgrad qualifications in initial teacher education, sports coaching and pedagogy and health. She is currently the Associate Dean Academic in Te Wānanga Toi Tangata, and held other leadership roles at the University as the Chair of Sport and Leisure Studies, and Foundation Dean of Te Huataki Waiora School of Health.

Having begun coaching in her early teens as a member of Harewood Hockey Club community, she has continued to contribute to sport as a coach, manager and board member. As a volunteer for more than 30 years, Kirsten understands the importance service roles play in ensuring all tamariki, rangatahi and adults have opportunities to participate and experience personal success through participation in sports. 

Kirsten has worked closely with Sport Waikato, Sport NZ, Physical Education NZ, schools and RSO’s, in support of initiatives focused on the development of educators (teachers and coaches), practices, and systems, that enhance the experience of tamariki and rangatahi in HPE, sport and active recreation.

Alex McKenzie

(BPhEd, BA, MA, PhD)

Alex was born in Hamilton and educated in Gisborne and the Kapiti Coast, where he attended Kapiti College. From there, Alex went to Otago University where he gained degrees in Physical Education and Social Anthropology. This was followed by a Masters Degree and PHD in Sport Psychology from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.

Upon returning to New Zealand, Alex spent 10 years at the University of Otago as a lecturer in Sport Psychology at the School of Physical Education before moving into High Performance Sport with a Professional Development role with both the Highlanders and Hurricanes Super Rugby Franchises. Alex was then asked to establish the Coach Accelerator Programme for High Performance Sport New Zealand. During his 10 years in this role there were over 80 graduates from the programme including Steve Hansen, Mike Hesson, Noeline Taurua and Tom Wilmott. Over the last four years Alex has established his own consultancy business.

From a coaching perspective, Alex has been involved at a community level coaching many sports but has significant involvement in rugby where he has coached both men, women and youth through his involvement at Otago University Rugby Club and Paraparaumu College.

At a governance level, Alex was an inaugural member of the New Zealand Academy of Sport South Island.

Leadership Executive

Andrew Gaze

Andrew is a born and bred Aucklander, educated at Auckland Grammar and then at AUT. Andrew started his career in accountancy, before moving into sales and marketing roles including 13 years with the adidas Group, where Andrew was Marketing Manager for adidas NZ, responsible for launching and commercialisation of adidas’ global partnership with NZ rugby, at the time adidas International’s largest sports marketing investment. He then spent four years in Amsterdam as the Global Head of Rugby, where he led the rugby business unit. In this role, he renegotiated an extension to their NZ Rugby contract, signed the British and Irish Lions for their tour of NZ in 2005  and was involved in securing and leveraging partnerships with individual athletes including Jonah Lomu, Jonny Wilkinson, Dan Carter and Richie McCaw.

After 11 years working internationally, Andrew returned to NZ in 2012 and has held executive leadership roles with both Konica Minolta, TruTest and Datamars. Additionally, Andrew has served on the board of both Hockey NZ and Kristin School and has been involved in community sport as a coach, manager, referee and umpire.

Andrew, recently joined Coach for Life Foundation as  Chief Executive and is excited about the opportunity to grow the holistic coaching capability of our youth coaches.

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