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MEDIA RELEASE

New chief executive for recreation and sport agency

Nicholas Hill has been appointed chief executive designate of the new recreation and sport agency. He will take up the position on 23 October and become chief executive once the legislation creating the agency is passed towards the end of the year.

For the past 10 years, Mr Hill has worked at a senior level within the energy sector most recently as general manager, commercial (NZ) of Fletcher Challenge Energy. Prior to that he worked for ECNZ. He was for a number of years with Treasury as an economic and financial analyst. He is currently working as a commercial adviser to Santos Ltd in Adelaide.

Mr Hill said he was keen to get to work on setting up the new agency and addressing the challenges highlighted in the report of the Ministerial Taskforce into Sport Fitness and Leisure.

"Our key priority has to be building a more active and healthy nation. This will depend on providing strong support for community based organisations and creating a sound and stable structure for high performance sport," he said.

John Wells, chairman of the Hillary Commission board which will become the first board of the new agency, said Mr Hill had been chosen for his vision, strategic thinking ability and strong leadership skills.

"The Ministerial Taskforce into Sport Fitness and Leisure signalled there needed to be a significant change in sport and recreation. We believe Nick has the right attributes to take the new agency forward," he said.

"Nick has a successful track record of leading business and organisational change with creativity, energy and enthusiasm. He has a strong mix of private sector and government experience which will be critical in achieving the Government's vision of a healthier, more active and successful sporting nation. What's more he has analytical and marketing skills that will be extremely valuable as the recreation and sport sector undergoes change."

Mr Hill is 40 and has degrees in law and arts. He played rugby for Otago University U20, and plays tennis, touch rugby and golf socially. He enjoys walking and tramping with his family.

The recreation and sport agency is being set up to achieve the Government's vision for a healthier and more active nation. It will integrate key functions of the Hillary Commission, the New Zealand Sports Foundation and the policy arm of the Office of Tourism and Sport.

As chief executive designate Mr Hill will focus on establishing the new agency until the legislation creating the organisation is passed. Peter Smith will continue as acting chief executive of the Hillary Commission until the new agency comes into being.

View Nicholas Hill's biographical details.

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Contacts for more information:
Nicholas Hill, Chief Executive Designate 00 61 8 83593324
John Wells, Chairman 021 905 6491
(Currently in Europe - available on Wednesday between 10am and 11am NZT)
Debbie Hannan, Communications Adviser 025 501 353




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