ONZ Compass Point – April 2020
By ONZ Online Coordinator - Roger Woodroofe - Mon 27 Apr 2020 10:30pm
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Orienteering NZ - Find Your Adventure

In this issue:

  • GM’s foreword
  • View from the Chair
  • ONZ Covid-19 Update and Alert Level Guidelines
  • Legends of Orienteering – Robyn Davies
  • AGM
  • ONZ Annual Prizegiving
  • New Slack resource sharing platform
  • Maprun
  • Major Events Update
  • Lightbox and Neon free trial

GM's Foreword

Over the past few weeks a lot of work has been put into creating alert level guidelines for clubs and individual orienteers.  This document can be found on the ONZ website along with the revised club event guidelines. These documents have been produced in conjunction the most up-to-date information from the Government and Sport NZ and will undoubtedly be updated as more information is available.

Discussions continue to take place around the rescheduling of both national and international events.  A summary of the most up-to-date information we have is included in the major events section.

Our Annual General Meeting and National Awards ceremony took place using a zoom video conference on Wednesday 15 April.  At the AGM Robyn Davies was awarded life membership – recognition of half a century of involvement in orienteering!  Robyn features as this month’s Legend of Orienteering.

ONZ has launched a new Slack resource sharing platform that we are encouraging all orienteers to sign-up to.  More information can be found in the article below.

Rolf Boswell has kindly written us an article about Maprun which many clubs and individuals have been asking about. In reading the article please be mindful that ONZ guidelines do not allow for clubs to be setting group or competitive events at levels four or three.  This limits use of apps like Maprun to individual bubbles in local areas.

Finally, included in this edition is a promotion for a free trial of Lightbox and Neon through Sky – something we do not do generally include in our newsletters. ONZ has a high trust relationship with our members so wish to make it very clear that we have chosen to include this promotion because of the support Sky Sport has shown us. Specifically Sky Sport has covered the cost of filming and production for the 2019 National Secondary School Championships. We expect this relationship to continue this year.


Christo Peters

View from the Chair

Despite the absence of competition the last month has been pretty busy at a national level, with the major urgent priority being how we adapt and respond as a sport to the COVID-19 situation. ONZ has been working hard to stay abreast of developments around the crisis, ensuring we are well informed around the MoH and government guidelines, taking advice from Sports NZ, as well as medical specialists who are attached to the sport, and working closely with clubs to help navigate how we adapt what we do under the different restriction conditions.

The Presidents call with club Presidents and representatives at the end of March was a really useful session and a great chance to discuss how clubs were responding to the situation and what their needs were where ONZ could assist. There were many great ideas, with many clubs looking at how they could adapt what they do and continue to offer benefits to club members despite the reduced calendar. From an ONZ perspective it further highlighted the need to be able to more easily share ideas, information, and resources – something we had identified before the COVID19 crisis, but which has become more urgent. To that end ONZ has established a sharing platform where clubs can share ideas, learning, resources, and ask questions. The sharing platform is called OChat and uses a technology platform called Slack. Access to it can be gained by following the link on the ONZ website and anyone already signed up to it can directly invite others as well. As well as being a place for clubs to share ideas and resources, ONZ intends to also start developing resources which will also get posted up there in due course – especially learning resources on mapping, course setting, technology use, etc.

One area of real interest currently are app based event tools such as Maprun, and so we encourage people using these tools (and any resources) to get on OChat and share their experiences and learning. On the topic of Maprun, many members have been asking questions about its suitability under different lockdown conditions. It is important to understand that Maprun is simply a technology for running an event, so the need to comply with the different levels of restrictions still have to be met whether using Maprun or any other method. It should be emphasised that level 3 and 4 restrictions do not allow any competitive events to be run at all, so anything that is organised under these levels must only be local solo training exercises, and nothing that could be interpreted as a competition. This is explained in the latest COVID19 guidelines that Christo sent out last week and which we hope everyone will have read.
We have been impressed with the efforts of clubs to comply with the restrictions, and operate in the spirit of what the lockdown restrictions are about. We know many orienteers are itching to get out and compete again, however our advice is just be patient, and remember this is a temporary situation which we will get through.

Another thing I wanted to share was the success of the AGM and prize giving. Amazingly we had the highest number of AGM attendees for over 15 years (possibly longer but this was the period we checked numbers back to), so the fact that it ran “virtually” did not seem to put people off and we were still able to field questions and have discussion around points of interest. It raises the question on whether we should run AGM’s virtually every year, perhaps supplemented by a separate club forum where more open discussions could happen, and I would be keen to hear from people on their thoughts on this as a model we could follow going forwards. I know hosting the AGM during our most major competition can be a hassle for many people who might otherwise be focused on organising, socialising, parenting and such like, so maybe this could be a good model going forwards. A highlight of the meeting was the awards presentation (something we would intend to continue doing face to face going forwards), and it was fantastic to share some of the success stories from across the sport and have those people present to accept their awards. I would like to make special mention of our new ONZ life Member, Robyn Davies, who was a very worthy recipient and who we are delighted to welcome to the very select group of life members in our sport.

Lastly, I would like to welcome our two new Council members on board; Guy Cory-Wright and Tom Reynolds who are both already adding value to Council in some of the discussions we have been having in recent weeks. They replace Jane Harding who has completed two terms on Council, including a stint as President, and Lyn McBain who completed one term on Council – both have contributed greatly and we thank them for their contribution. The next few weeks will be interesting for us as  we come out of severe lockdown conditions. Please contact ONZ if you have questions around how you manage this as a club, and we look forward to hearing how clubs adapt their activities and start to build local events once more.

Stay safe and happy running

Pete Swanson
027 302 4863

Covid-19 Novel Coronavirus Information and Updates

ONZ continues to seek regular updates and advice from a number of organisations so we can do our utmost to keep members informed. We are all undoubtedly welcoming the small changes that come with a move to alert level three. However, only at level two do orienteering club events and group training become feasible. ONZ has produced a guide for orienteers to clearly explain what can and can not take place at each level. Please click on the image below to be taken to the full ONZ Alert Level Guide on the ONZ website.

Guide to acceptable Orienteering Activities during Government Alert Levels

Refunds for National Championships

Message from organizers – Upon postponing Nationals, Orienteering Wellington has undertaken to refund all entry fees to participants.  Could clubs please inform their members that all nationals participants can either have their entry fee refunded or ask for the funds to be held by organizers. Either way, organizers would be extremely grateful if participants could contact Gerald (O Wellington Treasurer treasurer@wellingtonorienteering.org.nz ) to let him know which option they would prefer.

Rescheduling of National Championships

ONZ will be working with hosts Orienteering Wellington in the coming weeks to look at potential dates for nationals later this year. We are currently reasonably hopeful these can still run within this calendar year.

Oceania Championships

Message from organizers – Along with the rest of NZ and the world, it is too early for any of us to make sensible decisions about whether we will be able to go ahead with the Oceania Orienteering Championships in January 2020 due to national and international travel restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The organising group anticipate being able to make a firm announcement by June at the earliest and August at the latest. Watch this space, and in the meantime, stay safe.

Robyn Davies - Legend of Orienteering

This year marks fifty years of Orienteering for Robyn Davies, during which she has been involved in nearly every facet of our sport. To recognise this milestone, Orienteering New Zealand has awarded her with life membership.

During our interview, Robyn described herself as someone who has “coached, managed and cooked”.  Yes, she has undoubtedly done more than her share of these things, but this fails to recognise that she has been involved in the creation of approximately half the country’s clubs, won national titles, represented New Zealand on the world stage, been a national selector, international delegate, Vice President of our national Federation and was responsible for the creation of one of our oldest international competitions.

Robyn’s involvement in Orienteering started in 1970 when she, husband John and her young family were in Scotland as part of their working OE.  At the time the school where John worked took a bus load of participants to a Orienteering Event.  Robyn helped out and took part in her first event in the novice category.  Two years later when the family was in Canada Robyn made the leap to competitive competition.

In 1972 the family returned to New Zealand and continued their involvement with Orienteering.  At the time there were considerably fewer opportunities for orienteers in both New Zealand and Australia.  During an event in Auckland Robyn met a visiting Australian Team.  One thing led to another and New Zealand invited themselves back to Australia the following year.

1973 was the first year Robyn won the National Open Women’s orienteering title.  At the same time she was quickly became an integral part of the national sport, being heavily involved in promotional work and becoming a national selector – a role she would continue in until the late 1980s.

In 1974 Robyn and John created the Pinelands Orienteering Club.  At the time John was a geography teacher and Robyn was a reliever at the Putaruru High so naturally the club included many school aged kids.
Robyn continued her advocacy for youth that year inviting an Australian Team that included juniors back to New Zealand in what is now known as the Pinestars Challenge – a challenge that has now lasted 47 years!

A change of occupation from teaching to being a travel agent saw Robyn becoming the organisor of overseas orienteering travel for both visiting Australian Teams as well as numerous New Zealand team and individuals wanting to compete overseas.  One group to South Australia had 105 competitors!

In the mid-1970s New Zealand became a member of the International Orienteering Federation and New Zealand was able to send teams to the World Championships for the first time.  New Zealand’s first World Championships team was sent in 1976 and Robyn was one of a handful of competitors selected to represent us.

In 1977 Robyn and John had an NZOF mission (or as Robyn put it – an Orienteering Holiday) to Christchurch where they established the Canterbury Orienteering Club (now Plains and Peninsula Orienteering Club) with the assistance of a friendly representative from the City Council Parks and Recreation Department.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Robyn and John traveled on a number of Orienteering Holidays.  These trips helped establish a many of the North Island’s Orienteering Clubs.  Over this period the couple formed the Central Districts Orienteering Association which oversaw the 5-strong clubs in the Central North Island.

The couple became synonymous with orienteering nationally and were responsible for introducing a numerous individuals to our sport.  Personalities like John and Val Robinson, Simon Addison and Lyndon Haugh all entered orienteering through the Pinelands club, a club Robyn was ultimately made a life member of.  Robyn’s memory of those from the Pinelands era is impressive – so much so that after our interview she asked me where I had grown up and worked.  She then proceeded to ask if I knew former Pinelands member Graham Peters (no relation) – Head of Physical Education at my secondary school!

In 1984 Robyn was New Zealand’s delegate at an important International Orienteering Federation General Assembly where the Federation put together a bid for being included into the Olympic Games.  The following year Robyn continued her involvement in international orienteering when she was named as a member of the jury for the World Championships being held in Australia.
Between 1993 and 1998 Robyn was heavily involved with the national federation holding the position of Vice President of the New Zealand Orienteering Federation.

Robyn currently resides in Canterbury where she is a member of PAPO Club she co-founded in 1967.  She continues to share her love of our sport helping out at events and even volunteers as cook at a junior development camps!  Her passion for orienteering continues to rub off on other members of her family including  daughter Jan Harrison and grand-daughter Sophie Harrison who have both followed in Robyn’s footsteps –  the family can now boast three generations of New Zealand Representatives!

OrienteeringNZ Annual General Meeting - Wed 15th April 2020

April 15 marked the first time that Orienteering New Zealand has held a ‘virtual AGM’ using Zoom Video Conferencing.  The meeting was well attended with 62 attendees and only one club unable to attend.  Checking digital records, this means that it is the best attended AGM since at least 2005 – the date first date we have electronic records for.

At the meeting Robyn Davies was awarded life membership – a fitting tribute to a true pioneer of our sport!  These was also a considerable discussion around the reporting of secondary school figures, specifically the reporting of events not run by clubs.  This topic is something that will continue to be discussed.  ONZ Chair Pete Swanson has informed clubs that this will be the focus of the next President’s Call meeting.

We thank everyone who attended and contributed to the meeting.  Draft minutes will be circulated to clubs shortly.

Orienteering NZ Prizegiving 2020

Like the AGM, our annual awards were announced by video conference on Wednesday 15th April.  Below is a summary of this year’s recipients.  A full explanation of these award criteria and information on each recipient can be found at https://www.dropbox.com/s/844qbsk78p7njgo/2020%20ONZ%20AWARDS.pdf?dl=0

2020 Orienteering New Zealand Awards

Services to New Zealand Orienteering – Gillian Ingham (Wellington)

President’s Award – Rolf Boswell (Waikato)

International Performance Award Lizzie Ingham (Wellington)

Kapati Havoc Trophy – Joe Lynch (Plains and Peninsula)

Coach of the Year – Kieran Woods (Auckland)

Mountain Bike Orienteer of the Year – Georgia Skelton (Counties Manukau)

Rogainer of the Year – Tane Cambridge and Tim Farrant (Plains and Peninsula)

Administrator of the Year – Jeni Pelvin (Dunedin)

ONZ Volunteer Awards – Malcolm Ingham (Wellington)
                                          Karen Beckman (Hawkes Bay)
                                          Jan Harrison (Plains and Pensulia)
                                          Michael Wood (Hutt Valley)
                                          Steve Oram (Auckland)

OChat NZ ochatnz.slack.com New Sharing Platform

NEW Club resource sharing platform

ONZ has established a platform for clubs and orienteers to share ideas and resources that can help club operations and running events. This includes (but is definitely not limited to) topics related to COVID-19, use of app based event tools such as Maprun, and even updates.

The platform we are using is called Slack, which many people may already be familiar with. Anyone can register and login to Slack to get access to this, by clicking on the following link: https://join.slack.com/t/ochatnz/shared_invite/zt-debc0704-pfsQazStx~jq5pLS51RwoA  We urge as many people as possible to use this and start sharing ideas, tools and resources which may be of interest to other clubs and orienteers. The success of the platform will rely on participation and sharing.  Once you are logged in, you can also directly invite others onto the platform as well. ONZ will be working on developing some resources in the coming weeks and months which people may find of value, and we will be communicating more on this in due course. In particular we will be keen to hear from people who may be interested in producing content, and who may have skills and knowledge suited to the training/learning area.


MapRunners – Orienteering made simple and cool.

Orienteering Waikato have been using MapRunners technology at events since 2017 and now use it for all our Urban events with great success. The level of interest from other clubs has been rising and we have been happy to share any information we have.

Perhaps the easiest way to portray the potential of MapRunners is to describe our Urban Rogaine series.  We run 10 events on successive Wednesday evenings from October – December. These events have been steadily growing in popularity and have the following advantages:

  • No Controls to put out or pick up.
  • No need to visit the area prior to do course planning.
  • No Computer system needed at the event.
  • Instant results online including GPS tracks for all competitors.

We have taken it a step further and don’t even need to create/update our own base map. We just tap into the Open Street Map resource.  We also don’t need to muck around trying to organize a bunch of Setters & Controllers. We employ an experienced club member who designs all 10 courses from home (1-2 hours effort for each course). This means we can focus on ensuring the rest of the event is well run and is fun for the competitors. We have a prize giving after each event and also series champions etc

Because we had such great success using MapRunners for our Urban Rogaine’s, we have also started using it for our Summer Series (Park or Sprint ‘Linear’ Orienteering series). After 2 seasons I think we have had reasonable success with this. We have tried a few different ways of administering and delivering the event/courses and I think we have now figured out a fairly successful approach which we intend to keep using.

So what is MapRunners?

MapRunners has a smart phone app “MapRunF” that competitors load onto their phones. This software is the brainchild of Peter Effeney an Orienteer from Brisbane. With a bit of funding from Orienteering Australia but mostly with a huge amount of enthusiasm, Peter has created this app which is now used in Australia and in other countries around the world.

How does it work?

MapRunF uses the GPS on your smartphone to track your location. When you get within a few meters of the control site, your phone beeps and vibrates to tell you that you that the app has registered the control. If it is a Rogaine, you are automatically allocated the control points and can keep running without a pause. If it is a linear orienteering event, the app ensures competitors do the controls in the correct order and allows for the normal complexities such as pivot controls.

What’s the catch?

Like any technology, it is not perfect. Because GPS accuracy varies between phones and between locations, the competitor can sometimes be required to move around until the control is registered on the MapRunners app. As with any technology, a small proportion of competitors may have trouble with their phone or the MapRunF app, resulting in them getting an incomplete result. Our experience is that the number of problems is steadily reducing as phones and the MapRunF app become more reliable.

What is the cost?

Currently, there is no charge to use MapRunners although we have sent Peter a gift or two. There is now a donation option on the website.

 Should your club use MapRunners?

This depends on the quantity and quality of club events that your club currently delivers. Although MapRunners delivers a bunch of advantages, it generally does NOT provide the same precision as an SI Orienteering race. The fact that one competitor may have to run a few more meters to get their GPS to register means that it is hard to see how it could be used for a championship race, but for a normal club event, what a runner benefits on one control, they will probably lose on the next, so it averages out over the run.

If you are a club that is delivering a comprehensive programme of events using Sport Ident AND you have no problem finding course setters AND people to run the Sport Ident, then it is hard to see why you would want to use MapRunners technology.
MapRunners could help your club in 2 ways:

  1. If your club would like an easy way to boost the number of events in their programme, then it is real easy to create a series of MapRunners Urban Rogaines. We at Orienteering Waikato could make a series of events and race maps all ready to go for any urban location in NZ without even visiting the location (sorry we are not offering!).
  2. If your club is struggling to have the volunteers with the time or skill to run the Sport Ident system (do you have the same person(s) who sits and operates this system at every event?) then having some events using MapRunners can ease the pressure and reliance on these people.

How do you get started with MapRunners?

We set up a test event, printed a few maps and invited club members to come and try it for free at a certain day/time. In return they had to stay at the end and if give feedback. (this was pre Covid19!)
You can start by having a look at the website http://maprunners.weebly.com/. There is a heap of information on the website including instructions on how to get started including the email address to contact MapRunners. The MapRunF App offers various options to get started easily, and try it out, without needing to publish a full event. See: http://maprunners.weebly.com/maprunf—new-user.html

If you were willing to pay someone for a few hours, then our resident MapRunners Rogaine course setter might be willing to help out and create you an event. (No, O Waikato does not normally pay our course setters, but setting 10 events is a big ask!)
There is a discussion thread on www.maptalk.co.nz with some ideas and suggestions from users of MapRunners in NZ.


This article is written while NZ is at Alert Level 4 which of course means it is inappropriate to set up a MapRunners event as your club members are not supposed to drive to exercise. (With MapRunF “QuickStart” you can easily create an event from your own front door). Once the Alert Level drops it may be possible to use MapRunners to have an event and yet maintain social distance and avoid a gathering.  An example approach could be to make an Urban Rogaine event that is available over a weekend with the map being sent by email or put on website for competitors to print themselves prior.

Good Luck
Rolf Boswell (Orienteering Waikato)

Major Events

We continue to work with event providers and other key organisations to update you on the current status of events during these difficult times.  Below is the most up-to-date information we have:

National Major Events Calendar

Following the great work done in regional planning meetings, we will be looking to confirm the calendar dates that were provisionally discussed. We understand the impact of COVID-19 on major events over the next year. We hope we will have a better view of this that will enable some firmer plans to be agreed in next couple of months.

National events and major regional events can not take place until New Zealand is at level one.  For this reason all ONZ sanctioned national events remain postponed. We are having discussions around possible options to reschedule but as you can imagine, these are largely hypothetical at the moment.

School Sport New Zealand sanctions the North Island (NISS), South Island (SISS) and New Zealand Secondary School Championships (NZSS).  In consultation with hosts Dunedin, the SISS event has been cancelled.  In the past week School Sport New Zealand has postponed all events on their national calendar to at least the end of the July school holidays.  This means that ONZ will be talking with NISS and NZSS hosts Counties Manukau and Hawkes Bay in the coming week to discuss options.

International Events Calendar

The IOF wrote to all member nations asking for urgent (three-day turn-around) feedback about hosting international events.  Following this feedback the IOF has made the following decisions:
(i) The World Orienteering Championships (WOC) is currently postponed to October.  A definite decision about the event going ahead will be made as late as 1 July 2020.
(ii) The Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC) will be rescheduled by October 31 2020 if they are to run this year.  If this is not possible, the event will be cancelled and the IOF has stated that 2021.  Organisors have been told that if this is to be the case, they should include a special class for “last year” 2020 JWOC athletes to compete in. The latest update from the IOF said they are looking at rescheduling in the fall of 2020 and are considering possible co-ordination with WOC.
(iii) The Orienteering World Cup will have fewer in events this year.  The IOF has declared that there will be an absolute maximum of four international event periods in 2020.  This means that the World Cup may be supplemented by using the EOC as an additional round.
(iv) The 2020 World University Orienteering Championships (WUOC) in Russia have been cancelled.
(v) The 2020 World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships (WMTBOC) in Czech Republic were originally cancelled but this decision has now been reversed with the event now scheduled to take place in Finland between the 9th and 13th September 2020.

Neon / Lightbox Free Trial

Kia ora Orienteers,

Hopefully you’re been able to get out and about and stay active during these challenging times, as we all do the right thing and stay home to look after each other. Way to go NZ!

If you need a little more entertainment, our friends from Sky Sport are offering free trials for Lightbox & Neon, showing blockbuster movies and award-winning TV.  They have also thrown in the chance to win 1 of 10 Neon 12 month subscriptions when you subscribe.

In 2019 Sky became supporter of Orienteering New Zealand, covering the costs of filming and production cost of the 2019 National Secondary School Championships, a relationship we expect to continue this year when the event will be televised for the first time!

Now is the chance to sign up, enjoy the free trials and show Sky some love from the athletics community, so we can see more athletics on TV in the future (and free trials are pretty sweet too, so why not!?)

Orienteering New Zealand

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