Last week we held the AGM for ONZ, where we presented the annual report for 2022 and passed two important changes for the sport; a revised constitution and a new Event Levy and Affiliation fee policy. I won’t go into the detail of what these changes are, as these have been described elsewhere, including previous communications from ONZ. However it was really pleasing to see so many people in attendance, almost 40 in total, which indicates a positive and high level of engagement between clubs and the national body. The fact that these things all passed with clear majorities was also pleasing, indicating some alignment between club and national perspectives and interests.
Whilst the AGM was very positive, there was a comment made after the meeting finished that surprised me; implying that the primary value ONZ provides is the liability insurance cover for clubs and members. I was surprised because in the meeting we presented the annual report which detailed the huge amount of activity that the almost 40 ONZ people deliver in support of the sport, as well as the great things clubs and athletes have delivered and achieved. The insurance component is such a tiny part of what ONZ provides, but it seems to be what some members think as a major part of the value offering. It struck me that often the focus is on the direct benefits which clubs receive, which include things like insurance and other tangible deliverables. However what people may be missing are the intangible benefits that may not be so apparent – the “system” that enables orienteering to happen across different clubs across the country, including things like rules, competition structures, quality and technical standards, systems, mapping, membership and financial processes, major event coordination, selections of athletes and teams – the list goes on. All of this takes some effort and coordination, in fact 40 odd people are involved in maintaining and delivering both tangible and intangible benefits each year. And all clubs receive the benefit of this being maintained, even if some of this is intangible.
This year marks 50 years since Orienteering NZ was established (formerly called NZ Orienteering Federation). It is no coincidence that many of our major clubs also emerged around that time. I often think that those people who were active in establishing and growing the sport then had great foresight in establishing a national body. They recognised that separate clubs, not aligned was not a sustainable or optimal way of growing orienteering, and so the NZOF was born. Our federated model is a huge strength for the sport – we are most definitely stronger for it, and better together than apart. It is my belief in the importance of this model which personally motivates me to give my time to ONZ, something which I know many of my council (soon to be Board) members and other ONZ role holders also feel. In the end all of us, whether in clubs or ONZ, are guardians for the sport – we stand on the shoulders of those that have been before, and we try to add value and do our bit.
We look forward to sharing more on the 50th celebrations in due course, with events planned for later in the year. We also look forward to presenting the annual ONZ awards which were announced at the AGM, but will be presented in person at the Labour weekend Nationals. Congratulations to all the award recipients. We know many others have been doing great stuff as well, however the awards give us a chance to celebrate the great efforts and people that make orienteering so good.
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