Taranaki team manager moves to Chiefs 05 May 2017


Friday, 5 May 2017

Taranaki team manager moves to Chiefs

Taranaki’s reputation as a breeding ground for talented rugby players, coaches, referees and administrators has been further enhanced with Port Taranaki Bulls manager Nikita Hall accepting a position as team manager at the Chiefs Rugby Club from next season.

Hall, 30, who has been Port Taranaki Bulls manager since 2014, will take up the new fulltime role on 1 September and will continue her association with Taranaki coach Colin Cooper, who will be the Chiefs’ head coach from 2018.

As part of Taranaki Rugby’s franchise relationship with the Chiefs, for the past two Super Rugby seasons Hall has been seconded to the Chiefs in a media manager role, returning to Taranaki for the Mitre 10 Cup season.

“I’m really excited about the chance to challenge myself further in a team manager’s role. These opportunities are so rare, you have to throw yourself at it if you get the chance,” Hall said. “I’m really thankful to Taranaki Rugby and the Chiefs for being so supportive of me working across both organisations for the past two years and enabling me to take this next, life-changing step in my career.”

Born and bred in Taranaki, Hall has always had a close association with rugby, with father Peter and, more recently, younger brother Berny having pulled on the amber and black jersey. Having studied marketing, management and media at Victoria University, Hall worked in marketing roles in Wellington, before joining Taranaki Rugby in 2011 as a marketing and public relations executive.

With Taranaki team manager Shane McDonald moving on, Hall was approached to take over the manager role and credits McDonald, Cooper and Taranaki Rugby chief executive Mike Collins for encouraging and supporting her transition into a position in which she had no previous experience.

“They showed a lot of confidence in me to take on the job and I’m really thankful to Taranaki Rugby for that. I have had huge support from the leadership group, and the players have been my biggest support and biggest advocates. They have rallied around me since the start,” Hall said. “I have found my niche and I love working as part of a team and working for a common goal.”

She praised Taranaki Rugby for being a “truly high-functioning provincial union” that encouraged career development and was open to ideas from the “amazing, driven” people throughout the union.

“It’s a family here – it gets in your veins. It’s not necessarily the results on the field that I get the biggest buzz about, it’s also the development of players, and the connections with family, sponsors and the community,” Hall said. “It’s the things the team do outside of the game, such as being proactive and getting out into the community to volunteer on their days off – that shows the great culture and environment here.”

At the Chiefs, Hall will take over from long-time team manager Stu Williams, who is retiring. Hall got her first taste of team management when she “shadowed” Williams at a Chiefs Super Rugby game in 2013, and said Williams, along with Chiefs chief executive Andrew Flexman, and the Chiefs organisation had been “exceptional” support in the past few years.

With the landscape of Super Rugby changing next season, with fewer teams and a different competition structure, she expects the logistical side of the manager job – booking flights, accommodation, and generally making sure the team is where it is meant to be and when – will take up a fair amount of time before the season proper kicks off next February.

“I’m hugely excited to continue this journey with the Chiefs – an organisation whose values I am deeply aligned with personally. They’re innovative, driven and people-focused,” she said.

“It’s a massive role with heaps of responsibility, but I’m so ready for this challenge and will give it everything I’ve got. It’s a chance to work in a great environment alongside Colin Cooper, who is an exceptional coach, team management member and person – really supportive, open minded and empowering.

“The ambition to succeed will drive me in the challenging moments and hopefully I can make a contribution to the team’s success.”

 Cooper said Hall had outstanding qualities for the role.

“She has great empathy with management and the players and she’s someone I can really trust. She’s a worker, a planner and an organiser and we have similar ideas and values about how we want to run a team,” Cooper said.

Collins praised Hall for her work with Taranaki Rugby and said she had contributed greatly to the Port Taranaki Bulls’ success in recent years.

“Nikita has been fantastic. She had no rugby team management experience, but her great skillset and personality made her an instant success,” Collins said.

“Part of what we want to achieve as a union is to develop our players and support staff, and it’s satisfying when people go on to bigger and better things, so we wish Nikita all the best in her new role.”

Taranaki Rugby has advertised for the position of Port Taranaki Bulls team manager. Applications close on 12 May.