Nigel Avery takes lead role for 2022 Commonwealth Games

Five-time Commonwealth Games medalist and Hawke’s Bay sporting identity Nigel Avery is warming into his role as New Zealand Team Chef de Mission at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham starting in late July.

The sporting prowess of Nigel Avery would make a great ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ question – having represented New Zealand in weightlifting, athletics and…bobsleigh.

Nigel first represented New Zealand at the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games in 1998, where he won two bronze medals in weightlifting. He then competed at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games winning two gold medals and a silver along with being given the honor of carrying the New Zealand flag in the closing ceremony.

As part of his Chef de Mission duties, Nigel will decide who will carry the flag in and out of Alexander Stadium.

A unique leadership role, the New Zealand Team Chef de Mission champions the needs of athletes inside complex and high-performance Games environments.

The role ensures the New Zealand Team promotes athlete mana, wellbeing and performance at all times throughout the Games period.

“It’s about helping people succeed, so for me it’s all about the athletes and the structures we can put in place around them to ensure they’re supported and to optimise their performance”.

There’s no ‘How to guide’ to the role, but having been involved in the Games environment as an athlete while also being involved in sport administration and coaching, he is well equipped to give his best to the position.

“You are a bit of everything to everyone in the team, whether they’re an athlete or in a supporting role. It’s a bit hard to compare the role to a role in a business but there’s a mix of chief executive but also as a real cheerleader for the entire team. One particular focus is to make sure the entire team arrives and leaves in one piece safely, with a significant emphasis on the health and wellbeing of athletes. Athlete wellbeing is an area that I want to bring even more of a focus to and it will be our number one priority. I believe if athletes are empowered through an environment where they’re needed, wanted, embraced and nurtured, their wellbeing and performance should be fantastic as a result.”

Nigel’s role will build up as the Games get closer. He’s already spent a lot of time with other staff of the New Zealand Olympic Committee as well as meetings with National Sport Organisations via zoom and will host athlete workshops in February and March.

He will then head to the United Kingdom to check out the sport venues and the Games campus.

As well as preparing the team for Birmingham, Nigel will also continue to grow is new business – MortgageMe, a mortgage brokerage, with the support of his wife Shelley.

“Shelley has been incredibly supportive, giving me the push to take up the opportunity to be Chef de Mission.  She will also get more involved in the business.”

The Avery family has a long track record of involvement in sport and father Graeme has been instrumental in the development of the Millennium Institute of Sport in Auckland and our fantastic EIT Institute of Sport and Health at Mitre10 Sports Park in Hastings.