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Whanake o te Kōpara case study - Dantaye Simpson

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Youth
Whanake o te Kōpara case study - Dantaye Simpson

When I first found out I was selected for Whanake o te Kōpara 2024, I thought "Oh god. I am new to sport this is not the space for me." I remember on the way to the first Wā, in the car with Dr Sarah Leberman and participant Charlotte Noakes and the deep conversations that arose after a mere two minutes of meeting. I was thinking "Gosh this is going to be a full on programme, what have I got myself into?"

The first Wā was so much fun, I learnt so much about my personal self and how I like to communicate alongside others. The emotional culture deck has become a part of my monthly reflections and is utilized in my relationships with others. I really felt out of my comfort zone, but all the girls made each other feel welcome and that they had all the tools to change the world - one person at a time.

Heading to Christchurch for Wā #2 and the vibes were high. I had caught up with the Manawatū girlies pre Wā #2 and we were all very excited. When we arrived and we saw all the girls I immediately felt at home and at peace. Junior Armstrong's (Sport NZ) community development models taught me so much. What stuck with me the most was "are you doing this for them, about them, or with them?". I will carry that with me forever. Daisy Lavea-Timo and the spoken word session really brought up some thoughts and feelings I hadn't properly addressed and showed me what was going on in my mind and body, releasing some deep things within myself. I left this wā feeling deeply connected to the girls on another level. 

Wā #3 came way to soon. I didn't want to believe it was time for our final gathering. Hearing from Emma Evans (Sport NZ) & Nicky van den Bos (WISPA CEO) really cemented to me that a journey is not linear nor is it smooth sailing which I really needed to hear with where I was at in life. The difficult conversations session is the thing I will take with me the most as a young wāhine Māori in the sport industry.

Leaving Wā #3 I had so many mixed emotions, I have the most amazing network of girls who I know will support me and I will support throughout our journeys. I am so grateful for WotK, and I would not be who I am today without this. WotK is a programme every young women needs to go to. The self journey I have embarked on alongside the leadership learnings and growing my network is something I would not have been able to do, not to this extent without WotK.

WotK has changed my life, and while it may have made me look so deeply at my "why" and now I feel a little lost, it is in the best way. Questioning myself and what I want to do in life and where and how is all a part of my journey. I feel so deeply connected and valued by every other participant of this journey and have never been in a room with a group of Wāhine where we are all there to uplift each other. I am so so grateful and now I have the best network.

Because... your network is your net worth!

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