Two time Olympian and current chief executive of Sport New Zealand, Peter Miskimmin, will be in Dublin at the end of May to deliver the keynote address at this year’s Federation of Irish Sport Conference, which is scheduled to be held in Trinity College Dublin on Thursday 31st May. Appointed Chief Executive of Sport New Zealand in 2008, he has overseen New Zealand’s most successful Olympic Games (Beijing, London, and Rio) and driven a significant step change in community sport thinking and implementation.

The theme of the Conference is “Sport: The New Zealand Way. Grassroots to Greats. What can Ireland learn?” Miskimmmin, and his colleague Geoff Barry who heads up Sport New Zealand’s Community Sport programme, will share the experiences that have helped to create highly successful programmes across all areas of sport in New Zealand. Full details of the Conference and how to book can be found at

Minister of State at Department for Transport, Tourism, and Sport, Mr. Brendan Griffin TD will in attendance to open the conference. Sarah Keane, who has done such a wonderful job since taking over as President of the Olympic Council of Ireland will address the topic of ” Why Olympic Sport is Important”, while Mary O’Connor chief executive of the Federation will look at what could be achieved by Irish sport with more targeted investment in people and programmes.

The success of sport in New Zealand, both in terms of participation and also at High Performance level, has been referenced by a number of Ireland’s politicians in recent years. The Taoiseach Mr Leo Varadkar TD, referenced in his election manifesto New Zealand’s haul of 19 medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics as a target that Ireland should be aiming to match. New Zealand with a population similar to Ireland has also enjoyed major success at increasing participation levels across all sports, as it uses sport to create a healthier population.

Speaking about the Conference Mary O’Connor said that the Federation was delighted that Sport New Zealand had agreed to participate. ” They really have been successful at all levels of sport and it is a real coup for the Federation that they have agreed to participate, and to share the plans and strategies that have made sport in New Zealand so successful. I would urge anyone with an interest in the future of sport in Ireland to attend. I have no doubt that given the similarities between our two countries that we will discover insights and initiatives that might equally apply to Irish Sport. “

The Speakers;

Peter Miskimmin, the CEO of Sport New Zealand has a wealth of experience as an athlete, coach, and sports leader.

Prior to his time at Sport NZ Peter spent 17 years at New Zealand Post, where he held a number of senior management roles in the sales, marketing and commercial sides of the business. A two time Olympian (Los Angeles and Barcelona), Peter has been Captain of the New Zealand Men’s Hockey Team. He played 150 test matches for his country and twice won the New Zealand Hockey Player of the Year Award. He is currently a selector for the national men’s side, the Black Sticks.

He has served on the Boards of the New Zealand Olympic Committee and the New Zealand Sports Foundation and SPARC. He was member of the New Zealand Olympic Committee’s Athletes Commission for ten years (1992 – 2000) and was Chair for eight of those years. In 2000 Peter established the Olympic Club of NZ and was President for twelve years. He has also attended the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Geoff Barry is currently the General Manager of Community Sport at Sport New Zealand and came to the role in late 2012, after three years as Chief Executive of the Canterbury West Coast Sports Trust. Previous to that he had been chief executive of Surf Life Saving New Zealand for nine years.

As an administrator he has held positions on the national board of Water Polo, Surf Life Saving and NZ Universities Rugby League. He has also been active at committee level in international lifesaving.

Geoff has been responsible for leading the development and implementation of the 2015-2020 Community Sport Strategy. The Strategy is a material shift from a historic focus on partners and more traditional competitive sports. Sport NZ is now a ‘Participant-focused’ organisation with emphasis on understanding participation and participant decision making and influencing the system to respond. With a young person focus, Sport NZ is looking to develop a life-long love of being physically active by improving the quality opportunities, support, and experiences in sport, recreation, and play.

Sarah Keane is the Chief Executive Officer, Swim Ireland and President, Olympic Council of Ireland. Sarah is the first Chief Executive Officer of Swim Ireland – the National Governing Body for Swimming, Water Polo, Diving and associated Aquatic Disciplines on the island of Ireland. She has held this position for over ten years.

Sarah was elected (February 2017) as the first female President of the Olympic Council of Ireland. She was first elected to the Board of the Olympic Council of Ireland in 2014. Sarah represented Ireland at the European Olympic Council’s Women in Sport & Leadership Talent Event in Poland in April 2015.

Sarah is a qualified solicitor and is a Matheson Alumni having worked with Matheson Solicitors, a leading Irish law firm, prior to taking up her CEO position with Swim Ireland.

Sarah is also a member of the Board of Ireland Active (an umbrella body for many organisations involved in the leisure and fitness industry in Ireland). She is a former member of both the Board of the Federation of Irish Sport (the umbrella body for sporting organisations in Ireland) and the Irish Sport Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel.

Mary O’Connor is CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport. She is a native of Cork and has worked in sport all her professional life and is an avid sports fan.

In 2016 Mary graduated from University College Cork with a Masters in Voluntary and Community Sector Management. Before joining the Federation of Irish Sport, Mary worked with the Camogie Association as Director of Technical Development and Participation. She excelled in this role and led the association in to an unprecedented era of growth. Under her direction as Acting CEO of the Camogie Association in 2013, she successfully guided the association through change in the form of the new affiliation model for individual members, which saw camogie ensure a more equitable membership structure for all clubs.

Mary has represented her native Cork in both Camogie and Ladies football amassing a total of 12 Senior All Ireland medals over a 16-year dual intercounty career. She has won All Stars in both codes, national leagues and provincial titles and more recently was honoured with an Honorary Doctorate from University College Cork (2012) in recognition of her amazing contribution to sport in Ireland.

For further information please visit  early bird tickets are priced at €30 with general admission at €35 and a special offer of buy six get one free.