Born and raised in South Africa, Kevin Stoltenkamp visited New Zealand for a holiday in the 1980s and never looked back. The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Head of Refereeing since 2017, we sat down with Kevin to learn a bit more about him.
OFC: You’re a proud South African, but have been in New Zealand for a long time now – do you consider it home?
I moved to New Zealand in 1988 – I came to New Zealand for a holiday and didn’t go back! – and my wife fell in love with the place which says a lot, we’re really enjoying it here.
My sister also lives in Wellington and I will never forget the time when I first moved here, I was watching TV thinking trucks were going past, but it was actually my first experience of an earthquake.
Growing up in a big family, Christmas is important to us so that’s something I miss about being in South Africa the most.
What’s an interesting fact about you?
I was a dual athlete back in the day and I played rugby union on Saturdays and football on Sundays.
I love all sports, but football was my first love.
Did you work in sport prior to coming to OFC?
While I was on ‘holiday’ here in New Zealand I knocked on the doors of Sport Wellington and asked for a job.
I didn’t think anything of it, but I landed my first job coaching Australian Rules in Porirua, Wellington. I knew at that moment I was stuck here.
After six months my manager at the time, Kelly Tunnel, was the one who told me I needed to move to Auckland as she thought I had a lot of knowledge and potential.
When I moved to Auckland I worked for Sport North and Sport Waitakere before becoming the Director of Sport at Massey High School for 12 years.
How did the role at OFC come about?
I went away overseas for five years, came back in 2017 and landed a role as Referee Development Officer at the Northern Football Federation.
One day I went to watch an OFC Champions League match between Kiwi FC v Nadi at QBE Stadium, just outside our offices, and was shoulder tapped by someone from OFC.
I hadn’t been working at Northern for longer than six months, but my manager encouraged me to take the opportunity.
I was fortunate to land this role. I always knew that I was going to get involved with the administration side of refereeing.
What’s the proudest moment you’ve had in your career so far?
I refer to my time in South Africa as I worked in underprivileged communities in both rugby union and football.
There were awesome players and I’m most proud of working with them to develop their mentality, getting them to believe in themselves and reassuring them that the colour of their skin doesn’t matter when they play sport.
Everything that I’ve experienced in South Africa I’ve been able to apply in my role at OFC.