The new role has been introduced after the external Black Ferns review which highlighted the need to strengthen the team environment with specific focus on culture and leadership.
Buntings’ credentials are world class, having been involved with the Black Ferns Sevens set up for a decade, overseeing their success at every international tournament, and most recently leading the Chiefs Manawa to an inaugural Sky Super Rugby Aupiki title.
New Zealand Rugby’s High Performance Women’s Manager Hannah Porter said Bunting’s strength in leading team culture makes him an ideal fit for this role.
“Bunts’ on field achievements are well documented but one of his great strengths is growing and supporting authentic, inclusive high performing environments that empower those within.
“We think his ability to work with the coaching, performance and other management staff to align their vision and goals will enable the players to really flourish,” said Porter.
Bunting said the work done on connection and culture off the field will go hand in hand with on field performance.
“If we get our connection right, who we are and what our identity is, it will drive on field performance. My role will be making sure there is real alignment and connection, because a light is going to shine on this team like never before and we need to decide what we want to be in that light.”
Working alongside the coaching group of Wayne Smith, Wesley Clark and Whitney Hansen is something Bunting said he is looking forward to.
“It’s a cool group of coaches, so being part of that and having a voice is pretty special. Both the players and management are an awesome group, so it’s a great opportunity to work with everyone and make sure, when the pressure is on, we are still enjoying the journey.
Bunting has begun work with the management team and will join the Black Ferns squad at their next camp. The squad for the upcoming Pacific Four Series will be named next Wednesday, 4 May.