1973 50 years historic
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Compass Point – February 2021
By Christo Peters - Sun 28 Feb 2021 2:49pm
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Note from the GM

After a quick transition in, out and back into lockdown, most of New Zealand is again back operating at Level Two and Auckland is at Level Three.  We continue to navigate this period of uncertainty as we look forward to returning to another period of uninterrupted orienteering.

The national major events calendar is largely locked in for the coming year with the first of these events, Nationals, scheduled for April 2nd.

ONZ’s National Council have held their first meeting of the year.  At the meeting many topics were covered including membership feedback on our new strategic plan and decisions around national teams in what looks likely to be another year heavily impacted by Covid, – topics covered in this edition of compass point.

In this edition we also profile Wairarapa Orienteering Club and their move back into hosting events.  We also interview ONZ Events Liaison Russell Higham in our new regular slotGetting to Know ONZ.

Finally, a big thanks from and Russell and me for all the work put in behind the scenes to roll-over the new database.  The information from the database this has made it infinitely easier to process club membership returns, and while the system is still not completely perfect, club feedback has been very positive to date.

Christo Peters   |   ONZ General Manager and 
View from the chair
View from the Chair February 2021
It is pretty incredible to think that this time last year, the storm clouds of COVID were just looming on the horizon. Little did we know the immense disruption and impact it would have on our lives and on our sport. At a national and club level we scrambled to make sense of the changes, learnt to adapt, and figured out ways we could continue to run the sport within the bounds of the restrictions we all faced. I’m pleased to say the sport has come through well, and clubs and orienteers demonstrated a great ability to adapt and make changes on multiple levels. It is with this in mind that I have much confidence in the sport to meet other future challenges as well. Our draft strategic plan, shared with you all prior to Xmas, maps out a number of ambitious goals and initiatives to address these challenges and to modernise how we run the sport. These are changes that will take months and years to embed and we will share more on these initiatives in due course. One of the big areas we need smart solutions for is that of volunteer burnout – it is complex, but there are many things we can do straight away to improve this issue. One of those things is through having good volunteer recognition practices – we know from research that burnout is much more likely to occur in environments where there is a lack of recognition. So this is a good time in your clubs to review how you approach this, and if needed, implement some better practices. At a national level we are very keen to see people recognised, and to that end we would love to see more names put forward for our national awards, which will be announced at Easter. So, please take some time to think about who has stood out in your clubs, and put a submission (or two) in to us at ONZ. We look forward to hearing some of the stories and examples of what people have done, and to celebrate these come Easter!
It is great to see orienteering underway across the country, and I am super excited about the major events coming up – especially the National Foot champs in Woodhill, and the National MTBO Champs in Otago. I can’t wait to be part of these and to see many of you there!
Happy running

Peter Swanson   |  Elected Chair of ONZ Council

Wairarapa Orienteers are coming out of hibernation.

Wairarapa Orienteeers stalwart Jim Barr describes his club as having been “in recess” for nearly a decade. During this time club members have continued to compete at various events around the country, but the club has not hosted events.

On 6th December last year something changed.  The return of former member Brian Teahan, and with him, the Winter Classic Event.  The Winter Classic was created as a memorial event to a Wairarapa member, so it was fitting that the first event run by the club for years was the Classic.  Despite being a small event with 37 participants, three-quarters of those taking part were not members – signaling a renewed interest in orienteering events in the region.   Continue reading.

Despite having a three part-time staff, many of the key functions of ONZ are performed by volunteer committees.  These include team selection, mapping and technical national standards and rules…  At present we are looking for an individual to join our Junior Development Committee and Mapping Committee.  If you are interested please look at the role descriptions here.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email our GM.

The Year Ahead – National Teams in 2021

The decision about sending teams overseas is a complex one.  It is clear that while vaccines are being slowly rolled out around the world, Covid-19 is still prevalent in many countries.  In New Zealand, our government has prioritised three international sporting (Olympics, Paralympics & Rugby World Cup) events with regard to their discretionary managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) places and Sport NZ has been heavily involved in advocating for these events.  We have also seen some of our higher profile professional sports teams temporarily relocate to Australia to allow them to take part in their competitions.  

Like most other sports, orienteering must apply directly to MIQ to get places for any New Zealand-based athletes to overseas events like the World Orienteering Championships (WOC) and Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC), World Cup Events or our annual Southern Cross Challenge with Australia. The majority of MIQ places (90%) allocated to New Zealanders living overseas who are returning home.  The remaining 10% are discretionary places shared among everyone else – visiting overseas teams, essential workers coming into NZ, returning national teams – including those “priority sports events”.  Continue reading

February High Performance Update

February always seems to me to be the month of the best weather and, for someone like me coming originally from the north of England, generally too warm for really serious orienteering. Nevertheless, it is the month when things (notwithstanding SOW) generally start to kick into action, thoughts start (I hope) to focus on training programmes, the ONZ Champs, trials and plans for the entire year. With that in mind I have included below the latest information I have on preparations for international events, and the start of training through a Matt Ogden inspired camp at Waitangi Weekend.  Continue reading

Malcolm Ingham


ONZ has been contacted by a PHD student from Edinburgh University who is conducting his research on mental fatigue in orienteering.  He is looking for experienced coaches to take part in a survey as part of this research. If this interests you and you meet the criteria below, please contact Nicholas on nicholas.lam@ed.ac.uk

Potential participants must fulfill the following criteria:
(1) having at least 10 year’s experience in coaching or competing in orienteering, 
(2) having represented once as a national team coach or athlete in an international orienteering competition, 
(3) having the ability to read and write in English fluently, 
(4) having reached the age of 18 or above to complete the written consent form.

The information sheet for the project can be found here.

New Coaching Resource

In 2020 the Coaching Working Group (CWG) was formed with two key tasks:
(i)  To produce a national coaching resource that anyone interested in orienteering can use
(ii) To produce a national coaching framework and accreditation programme to aid in the development of coaches nationally.

The new resource can be viewed here.

The working group was made up of Gene Beveridge (ONZ Training Co-ordinator & Group Convener), Jean Cory-Wright (ONZ National Coaching Co-ordinator), Kieran Woods (2020 Coach of the year) and junior development aficionado Michael Croxford.  

Before the platform officially goes live and is accessible through the ONZ website, ONZ is encouraging feedback on what has been produced. Please have a look and if you have feedback email our GM.

Russell started orienteering at the relatively young age of twenty-five.  I say relatively young, as he has now been orienteering for more than forty years!  Despite his longevity in the sport and his intention is to mirror the likes of the Jim Barrs and Bunny Rathbones of the world (still involved in their eighties), Russell continues to be an enigma to many.  He is not someone regularly medalling in his class at major events, and those that know him tend to be involved mapping or in the administration of our sport.  Despite this, Russell’s job as ONZ Event Liaison is essential to the running of our sport.  To better understand Russell and his role, I asked him a few questions:

Tell us a little about your work background?  In 1996 when I left my job as a manager for Telecom, my wife and I decided to purchase a rose-growing business in Levin.  I had been a member of Wellington Orienteering Club before the move and had been involved in mapping.  Once in Levin, I joined the Red Kiwis Orienteering Club.  When the rose business was up-and-running I found I had a bit of seasonal downtime over the winter and began looking for other activities.  I have always been interested in the outdoors and around 2005 I was at a local petrol station when the Makahika Outdoor Pursuit Centre owner pulled up in her branded car.  I asked her if she wanted an orienteering course and map developed for the centre She said yes, and fifteen years later I am still there.  Initially I was teaching things like bush craft, orienteering and navigation.  Over time this evolved into a range of things including taking groups through the Duke of Edinburgh adventurous journey programme.  About 7 years ago I became involved in Land Search and Rescue where I’m currently team leader at the Horowhenua branch.  About six years ago I was asked by the then ONZ GM if I would fill the role of Event Liaison being vacated by Neil Kerrison – I declined.  The position received no applications so the then ONZ Chairperson, Dave Turner approached me directly and asked if I would take on the role, telling me “He always got his person”.  I re-evaluated the role and accepted the ONZ Event Liaison role in 2015.

What was the Event Liaison position like when you started?  When I started, the four Regions (Northern, Central Districts, Wellington and Southern) had long since fallen apart.  I found myself in a role that had very little in the way of systems which was a challenge.  The GM at the time (and the current GM) was not an orienteer so I found myself having a dual role of assisting her with the technical nuances of orienteering.  At the time the role was ten hours a week.  Five years on, I’m still on the same hours. 

What do you do for ONZ?  I guess in many ways I’m a gap-filler, doing stuff at short notice that would put undue stress on clubs.  ONZ has three regular part-time paid staff (myself , Roger our online co-ordinator, and our GM) which means that if something comes up and it is not part of our jobs, someone has to take it up.  Yes, in my time at ONZ I have looked after the scheduling of Major events, but I have also found myself creating the ONZ health and safety plan, including the protocols, creating the guidelines and taking enrolments for the Junior Camp including a stint as manager, running mapping and Controller training, managing film crews covering the NZSS and NISS events and managing the new membership database.  For me orienteering is something I love to do.  I’m lucky that part of what I do in our sport is paid – mapping and the 10 hours per week I spend in the Event Liaison role.  Over and above these roles, I sit on ONZ’s technical committee and the Red Kiwis Club Committee where I’m involved in running events and looking after the website.

What has been the biggest change in your role at ONZ?  Probably the new major events schedule system which was developed by Pete Swanson. This whole issue was really fraught and gave me the most angst. It was a mess and far beyond an official to fix alone. For my role, the ability to have zoom meetings with the regions and determine who can host major events up to three years in advance has been really positive and really good for our sport. 

Why don’t most orienteers know you?  I practise the art of staying under the radar, being naturally shy.  I have limited interest in elite orienteering so am not really involved in that scene other than occasionally helping ONZ Performance Leader Malcolm Ingham out with the odd event.

Recently we have received a number of questions about the process for allocating Major Events and where this information can be found.  Major Events are allocated on a three-year rotation between the three ONZ regions – Tūāraki (Northern) Region, Pokapū (Central) Region & Taitonga (Southern) Region.  Events are allocated three years in advance where possible and clubs meet by region each year to decide who will host each of the region’s major events in that year.  Details of the three-year allocation Major Events Schedule for a three year period as well as individual major event listings can be found on the ONZ website under events.

NZOC 2021

The North West Orienteering Club (NWOC) team has preparations for New Zealand Orienteering Championships (NZOC) 2021 well underway, to be ready for an exciting Easter Weekend of orienteering and renewing friendships.
Online Entries
Online entries (www.entero.co.nz) are now open. Standard fee entries close Friday 12 March 2021, a rapidly approaching deadline. Late fee entries close Friday 19 March 2021, with a 50% late fee added to the standard entries. 

Late entries received after Friday 19 March will only be accepted at the organisers’ discretion.  
Please be familiar with the Covid-19 policy for NZOC2021 before registering online. This policy document follows Government and ONZ Covid guidelines on gatherings and social distancing and provides clarity on our cancellation policy, event fee refunds as well as practical guidelines during the event, depending on the Covid Alert Level at that time.  

Read more
We’re on a roll! We’ve been busy this Summer planning some MTB orienteering fun. Join a whole community of bike lovers at an MTB map fest. It has a been a long time due to lockdown and virtually what the world has handed us in the last year. But now we are getting ready to meet-up for a  MTB orienteering gathering. We are lucky enough to be in NZ, so let's just relish it and ride together. 

So what is it going to be like?
Matt Bixley is working alongside Conal Boland-Bristow for the long event at Naseby. Matt says it is a pleasure to work with Conal who is one of our top NZ MTB orienteers who has ridden on the international MTBO champs, and it is fab to have Conal bringing his expertise to the course. Matt says he is not really a mountain biker but was surprised how much he enjoyed riding around. Read More
What is your national Council up to?
The February ONZ Council meeting was the first of the year and it was a very busy one.  Council discussed the feedback received about the 2021-2024 Strategic Plan and the Annual Business Plan.  As a result of this feedback, a final document will be produced incorporating a lot of the feedback provided by members.  The decision whether or not to send teams overseas was another key discussion.  At the meeting the 2020 membership numbers were discussed and the 2021 affiliation levies generated from them were approved.  Despite Covid, club membership increased in 2020 which is a positive sign.  If you are interested in following what the ONZ Council has been doing, please feel free to look at approved minutes here.  These are posted after they are approved as true-and-correct at the following ONZ meeting. If you have any questions about council please feel free to contact Christo our GM.

Membership Feedback on Policy Updates

In addition to the business covered above, Council approved three policy updates which can be found below.  We are asking for membership feedback over the next two weeks (by March 14 2021).

B15 Medals and Certificates – changes highlighted in yellow

Council approved an update to reflect changes to category names that appear in the updated ONZ Rules.  The change replaces the 20A category with the 20E category as a category for which ONZ will supply medals. 

G1 Appendix – International Team Purpose and Selection Criteria  – changes highlighted in yellow

Council approved a small change to this appendix found in the policy section of the ONZ website.  The change allows for a single trial to be used to determine the selection of JWOC teams.  The small change was brought about because of the uncertainty brought about as a result of Covid-19.

G6 International Team Funding – changes tracked in red

Council approved the removal of the flat athlete contribution fee.  It was acknowledged that while the fee provided certainty for athletes, it was unsustainable as it did not limit the amount the contribution that ONZ would be expected to provide.  The policy has been updated to reflect the change in ONZ Council budgeting in with specified amount is approved for each overseas trip..  This amount is to cover expected to cover the official coach(es) and manager expenses.  It these expenses exceed this amount the balance will be evenly shared among the athletes for whom the coach(es)/managers are responsible. 

Please send any policy feedback to Christo our GM.

How can we help?   Me pēhea mātou e āwhina ai?

If you have a particular topic you are looking for on orienteering? Try browsing the search function on the ONZ website or search for an area under news and views in the main menu at the top of the page  – you may find what you need. If you have an enquiry about the sport, do get in touch via any of our media below or fill in our contact form here

Happy orienteering!
   Editorial deadline:

We love to read about all kinds of navigation events from every corner of NZ. We are keen for news and updates from places we cannot get to. So do share your passion with photos, events, links, and info about your club. Send something in by the 20th day of the month so it can be published at the end of the month

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