New Zealand Development Program

A Journey to The Other Side of The World 

Let's be clear: you can obtain better rowing fitness in your garage. You don't need to take a 13+ hour flight to the bottom of the world to get in better shape.

Arriving with the intent to bring back more than a better 2,000m score for collegiate recruiting often find there are more important things than a lower number (though many find that too).

Athletes do a deep dive into their relationship with the sport. The Dunedin cohort is a thoughtful, extremely mature (collegiate athletes have undergone this program) group of people seeking more from the sport, both on and off the water. 

Real Challenge Supported By Real People. 

This is the most challenging and special experience we offer. The meters generally can run over 100K a week on the ergometer and in the shell. High performance athletes with international experience row out of the club. Select athletes also train at the Dunedin High Performance Centre, which functions as an elite-level research and development facility for multiple sports in coordination with the New Zealand Academy of Sport.

The weather in the "roaring 40's" latitudes is extremely variable, and it's winter in the southern hemisphere. Many athletes leave the Northern Hemisphere summer to travel to a truly different world - and a temporary space where jaw-dropping beauty is as common as sitting on the ergometer on a windy morning. 

We have the opportunity to get outside and see the beauty New Zealand has to offer. Athletes undertake a "training road trip" and spend time in Queenstown, the “adventure capital of the world”, see Milford Sound, and a number of scenic New Zealand venues while they meet Kiwi juniors along the way.  

We learn to respond to challenge together with work and reflection. The program utilizes mindfulness as a method of confronting challenge and is heavily supplemented by the Kiwi cultural mindset towards cheerful embrace of challenge, which has been a catalyst in the country's outsized success in the sport. The Kiwi support team for the program is outstanding, including a nutritionist and a trainer. As one former NZL camper put it: “It is not so much a camp, but a program that has taught me who I am as a rowing athlete and in some ways, a person."

Finally, we provide community service such as teaching Special Olympians how to row as the camp reaches beyond rowing in its spectrum of experience. 

Who May Apply

Maturity and a tendency to thoughtfulness are – specifically – a requirement to find enjoyment here.

Dunedin athletes go through our most extensive admissions process. Students must be able to demonstrate a prior relationship with the sport and athletic drive before being considered for this program. 

Successful completion of the program allows students to understand how they best perform. Students will submit a short initial application. After this, a second round will require a letter of reference from their coach or someone similar. Finally, students will be asked to interview. See the registration tab to apply.

Determing if You're A Fit

It is the desire to use rowing as a ramp to reach deeper within and address how you approach challenge – mental and physical – that characterizes Dunedin Program athletes.

Talent is relative: many come to Dunedin with less than perfect 2Ks - or have never been in a small boat. That said, both of these issues can be remedied durng the program.

If you have questions, we're happy to speak further. 

Set Up A Call To Talk Further

New Zealand Development Program

Glen Sinclair

Rowing New Zealand High Performance Board CEO & Head Coach,
Otago University Rowing Club

Glen directs program operations. He won seven national premier lightweight titles, was a member of the New Zealand Under-23 team in 1996 and the New Zealand University team from 1995 to 2001, graduating from Otago with an education degree. He has been head coach of Otago University Rowing since 2003 and the Otago high performance squad from 2006 to 2008. He has been president of New Zealand University Rowing since 1999 and manager of New Zealand University teams. He has played a key role in integrating university rowing into the fold of New Zealand rowing, and was elected to the board of Rowing New Zealand in 2010 and frequently travels abroad to represent Otago and New Zealand.

David Olson

Sparks NZ Development Program Coordinator

Dave acts as the on-ground program coordinator for our NZ Development program. After growing up on a farm in New Hampshire, Dave attended boarding school where he was first introduced to rowing and living away from home. Following that he completed a successful career at the University of New Hampshire where he received a B.A. in English and a M.Ed. in Secondary Education while putting in countless miles on the water rowing for the university. Dave then taught English at a public high school in the White Mountains for three years before returning to the boarding school and rowing world teaching and coaching at Berkshire School in Massachusetts.

New Zealand Development Program

  • Who:  Experienced athletes aged 16-19 (priority to upcoming high school seniors and college freshmen) who can demonstrate high maturity.
  • When:  June 25 - July 27, 2018
  • Size:  The program is selective; 20 or fewer athletes make the trip per year.
  • Cost:  $5,750
  • Where:  Dunedin, New Zealand at University of Otago. Meals are provided through University College, 600m from accommodation and on the way to and from the boathouse. Rowing occurs at the Otago University Rowing Club on Otago Harbor.
  • Questions:  Email
  • Apply:  The application procedure is under the Registration tab. The application is under the Camp Forms tab. If you have any questions, please send us an email
  • Supervision:  The small program size allows for close overwatch, and live-in pastoral care is available. That said, students are expected to conduct themselves on the same level as their Otago University athletic peers.

New Zealand Development Program

We're happy to consider everyone for our program. Please be sure to read the application guidelines on the overview tab.

The New Zealand Development Program Application Process:

Step 1: Submit an intial application

Step 2: Pay the $50 non-refundable application fee

Step 3: Coach Reference

Step 4: Skype interview

New Zealand Development Program

All pre-camp Forms are made available 6 weeks prior to camp.