Guest Rugby Coaches and Mentors at the New Zealand Sports Academy

New Zealand Sports Academy Guest Coaches and Mentors

As one of the foremost rugby schools in the world, we enjoy an established relationship with experienced and esteemed professional rugby coaches. Our extensive networks have enabled us to gain the support of high profile sports people.

Through our trust; Te Kaihanga Sports Trust, we offer a mentoring programme through our “Rangatahi Development Programme”.

Our participants enjoy communicating and learning from successful role models.

Guest Coaches:


Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford

  • Ex All Black Captain
  • Māori All Black
  • Auckland and North Harbour Representative
  • Buck is the only undefeated All Black Captain who brings specialist knowledge in forward play and great mentoring skills.


franoFrano Botica

  • Ex All Black, Māori All Black and North Harbour Representative
  • Kiwi League
  • NZ Warriors & Wigan Representative
  • Frano provides specialist kicking & goal kicking expertise including techniques, methods & training systems to improve accuracy & success


Dr-Farah-PalmerDr Farah Palmer

  • Ex Black Fern
  • Captained the Black Ferns to successfully win three consecutive World Championships (1998, 2002 and 2006)
  • Completed her Bachelor of Physical Education (with Honours) Farah commenced working towards a PhD in sports sociology which she completed at Otago University in 2000
  • Senior Lecturer in Sports management at Massey University
  • Director of the Maori Business Research Centre at Massey University from 2003 to 2006

matttepouMatt Te Pou

  • Former coach of the NZ Māori Team
  • Former Super 12 Assistant coach to Chiefs
  • Since coaching the NZ Māori team Matt & Jim have achieved a World record with 26 wins in a row



kiwisearanckeKiwi Searancke

  • Former Waikato NPC player
  • Coach/Assistant Coach for Waikato
  • Coach Glasgow Warriors, Poverty Bay
  • Assistant coach NZ Woman’s Black Ferns
  • National Academy coach Irish Rugby Football Uni


 tawera-nikauTawera Nikau

  • Waikato and Auckland representative
  • Former player for York Wasps, Sheffield Eagles, Castleford Tigers, Cronulla Sharks, Melbourne Storm & Warrington Wolves
  • Former player for the New Zealand Kiwis and New Zealand Maori representative teams
  • Current New Zealand Kiwis selector
  • In 2008 Nikau was inducted as one of the NZRL Legends of League and Carrington Tigers Hall of Fame

DSC03140-275x300Hika Reid

  • All Black from 1980-86 playing 40 games with 9 test matches.
  • Played for NZ Maori, the Bay of Plenty and Wellington provinces.
  • Coached professionally in NZ, England and Ireland and  has returned to NZ to continue his contribution to Maori rugby.

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“In 2006 I enrolled into NZ Sports Academy to better my Rugby skills. I didn’t know what to expect but all I knew, I wanted to succeed in Rugby.

At the Academy, we lived and breathe Rugby…..literally! Starting 7am on the dot (there were punishments if you were one minute late) with Shaun Tata, we hit the gym with strength and core training all rugby related then by 9.15am we’d be all showered for a 15 min breakfast then straight into the classroom learning all rugby fundamentals. After Lunch we then hit the field for the rest of the afternoon working on fitness, drills, skill work, games, breaking down every little drill such as passing a ball and tackling.

This was all a huge shock to me. Darrel and Shaun (our coaching staff at the time) broke us in to pieces mentally and physically but taught us to learn to love the toughness. I cannot explain how much I enjoyed having them as a Coach pushing us to the absolute limit to get the best out of everyone. It truly amazes me how much knowledge they have of the game which they broke down into steps to give us a better understanding.

After graduating in 2007 at the Academy, I made move to Australia to succeed further in my rugby career with the Surfers Paradise Gold Coast Dolphins but really struggled to do so due to injury after injury. I got back into the gym for rehab and to focus on my weak points. Since day one at the academy I always loved being the gym, Smashing PBs, learning the correct form and techniques in lifting, and seeing great results in your body. Darrel and Shaun taught us how to look after our bodies from injuries and because of that, I had a speedy recovery.

By the end of my recovery, I decided to change codes and challenge myself with the discipline and dedication of Bodybuilding and Powerlifting.

2013 – North QLD WFF Fitness model – 1st place
2013 – Southern Hemisphere WFF – 5TH place
2014 – QLD INBA Fitness model
2015 – Australasia WBFF Muscle model – Top 20
2015 – Central QLD Vector Powerlifting champion (Total 620kg)
With the mental toughness and dedication I inherited from the NZSA, I took in everything I’ve learnt into my preparations and succeed numerous times. I am a Scaffold Supervisor currently preparing for the Australasia WBFF Championship and hoping succeed to WBFF Worlds next year in Las Vegas. I strongly recommend anyone to join the NZ Sports Academy as it has had a huge impact on my life.”

Billy Hicks, Rotorua