History of Drug Free Sport NZ
The origin of the Agency can be traced back to 1988 at the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (now the New Zealand Olympic Committee). The infamous positive test on the Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson occurred in that year at the Seoul Olympics. This gave great profile to the issue of drugs in sport and reinforced the expectation that the next major Games, the Commonwealth Games to be held in Auckland in 1990, should be clean.
The NZOCGA responded to this by instituting a testing programme for all athletes who were in contention for selection to the New Zealand team at those Games. The Hillary Commission (now Sport and Recreation New Zealand - SPARC) contributed to the cost of that programme and the overseeing committee was convened by Ian Boyd.
After the Games, the Hillary Commission boosted their funding and contracted the NZOCGA to run a programme which would cover a wider range of predominantly Olympic sports although some non-Olympic sports, such as Rugby Union, also chose to join the programme.
At the same time the Commission established a Task Force to examine the issue and recommend what steps needed to be taken to address the problem. That Task Force reported back in February 1991 with two primary recommendations:
1. That a National Policy on the Misuse of Drugs in Sport be adopted by government.
2. That a New Zealand Sports Drug Authority be established by Statute.
The first step towards this was the establishment of the Drug Free Sport NZ (initially as a stand alone committee of the Hillary Commission) in Auckland under a Board chaired by High Court Judge, Sir Graham Speight (who retired as Chair at the end of 2000).
In 1994 the NZ Government signed the International Anti-doping Arrangement, an agreement between five (now ten countries, Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland and South Africa) countries to co-operate in anti-doping matters to improve each country's anti-doping program. This arrangement continues to be in place.
In January 1995 the Legislation came into force establishing the Agency as a Crown Entity and providing for a Board which is appointed by the Minister and answerable to him.
Founding Chair Sir Graham Speight was replaced by David Howman at the start of 2001. David had been the Agency’s legal counsel to that point and in 2003 was recruited by the fledgling World Anti-Doping Agency and was soon appointed as that organisation’s Director-General. Otago University Associate Professor David Gerrard became the new Chair in 2003. The World Anti-Doping Code came into force in 2003 with the Agency becoming a signatory. This process created a manageable but undesirable tension between the Regulations set out in the New Zealand Legislation and the requirements of the Code.
New legislation was drafted and in January 2007 the Sports Anti-Doping Act came into force. This legislation changed the name of the organisation and aligned the New Zealand Rules directly with the requirements of the Code. In addition it enabled those same Rules to be adopted directly by New Zealand national sporting organisations enabling a seamless process for Code implementation.
In February 2011 David Gerrard was replaced by Michael Heron, an Auckland based lawyer, as Chair of the DFSNZ.