- Nick Paterson CA has been the chief executive of Drug Free Sport New Zealand since July 2017.
- The role combines his deep experience as a forensic accountant and fraud investigator with a love of sport.
- Working in the athletes village the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast was a career highlight.
I’m from Newcastle in northern England, but as a kid I spent a couple of years in Raymond Terrace near Newcastle, Australia. I loved all sorts of sports.
I graduated from UCL [University College London] with a Bachelor of Mathematics in 1995 and needed a job. Becoming a chartered accountant appealed as a ticket to work overseas. In the grad program at EY my specialty was audit, but working on the collapse of Barings Bank captured my interest in forensics. I also loved running and ran my first London Marathon in 1998.
After qualifying as a CA, I took a gap year that included three months in New Zealand. Fox Glacier and the Milford Track were two highlights. I just fell in love with this country. I went back to London, got promoted, bought and sold a house but, within a few years, had made the move.
I worked at PPB McCallum Petterson, PwC and EY, then joined the NZ Serious Fraud Office where I was GM investigations before taking a secondment to the NZ Gambling Commission. I’m still blown away by the stunning scenery here. Especially when competing in events like the Motu Challenge or the Coast to Coast.
I’d been in Paris to watch Lance Armstrong ‘win’ his fifth Tour de France and was a fan. I’d defended that guy. Watching his confession on Oprah I was appalled, not just by the cheating but the way he treated others. As a fraud investigator I was fascinated by how my skills might be applied.
Less than a year into my role as CE of Drug Free Sport NZ, I had to pinch myself on a visit to the White House to discuss anti-doping strategies with international counterparts including Travis Tygart from the US Anti-Doping Agency – who was the guy who got Lance Armstrong.
"As a fraud investigator I was fascinated by how my skills might be applied."
Walking around the athlete’s village at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, I had a moment where I thought ‘wow this is something’. I’ve got three awesome, sporty kids, and a job that says to them that clean sport is something to be valued.