Rugby Educator Programme 'Ako Wāhine' set to return in 2021

What is believed to be a world first women-only Rugby Educator Programme Ako Wāhine is set to return in 2021.

The programme is the brainchild of former Black Fern and New Zealand Rugby Women’s Rugby Game Development Manager Vania Wolfgramm and launched its inaugural workshop in late 2020.

The World Rugby accredited programme saw 16 women with backgrounds in coaching, refereeing, managing, and administrating to come together for the weekend course.

The aim of the Ako Wāhine World Rugby accredited programme is to build a confident and competent network of women to develop and deliver female-specific rugby developments and programmes. 

“We know there are amazing wāhine in our game and often they don’t have the opportunity to put their hands up – this programme creates a space that is deliberate for them and they can then take those learning back into their rugby community.” said Wolfgramm.

The feedback from the course has been positive, and Wolfgramm said they have seen tangible outcomes with participants searching out new roles and opportunities.

“This initial group of women have a whole lot of mana and a desire for progress and that is really exciting to be a part of.”

Those that took part in the first programme will reassemble next month to connect and share best practise with upskilling opportunities.

The Ako Wāhine programme will then go nationwide, with Wolfgramm in the process of confirming dates for Central and Southern workshops.

Wolfgramm said the course isn’t just specific to rugby, with representatives from rugby league and netball involved in the first workshop.

“This isn’t just about rugby, it is important to keep building the capability of all our women to continue to grow and drive women’s sport,” said Wolfgramm.