|It has been a super exciting month with many orienteers competing overseas (so many I started to wonder if anyone was left in NZ!), and some great results by a number of elite, junior, and age grade orienteers – all covered in detail elsewhere in this compass point, so won’t detail here other than to say fantastic to see kiwis doing so well on the world stage across many competitions. Congratulations to all the placegetters, and thanks also to the officials, supporters and volunteers who helped with the teams. As I write this another team has just departed the country; the NZ MTBO team who will be competing in the Australia NZ Challenge at the Australian MTBO Champs – the first since 2019, and great to see happening again post covid.
At a national level there are a few things happening of note. It has been great to see the results of the 2023 Orienteering Member survey come through. This year we had a huge response, 355 valid participants, and a ton of rich information to draw insights on around clubs, the sport overall, ONZ, and some specific areas that we know are important for the health of the sport. Preliminary insights indicate the sport is in a pretty good place overall, with evidence of many positive things happening at club level and how the sport is tracking. Notwithstanding there are issues and areas of opportunity highlighted as well, and we will be collating this all into a report that people can access in due course. We are also looking at how information relating to specific clubs can be shared with those clubs directly (where the datasets are big enough), which will help them get useful insights at that club level. Importantly, we will be exploring some of this in the upcoming Presidents and Club forums happening later in September and October.
The member survey is something we established in 2019 at a time when we realised we needed better engagement between ONZ and clubs, and in response to issues which were simmering at that time. Since then the ONZ Council (now Board) and GM have focused very much on how we can build better engagement between clubs, members and the national body, and ensure that national body plans and priorities are informed by club and member views. We have invested significantly into building a stronger social media presence, improving communications through newsletters, updates, and website, and established more robust processes for engagement with clubs – this includes running annual presidents and club forums, consulting on the annual business plan and strategic plan, and member surveys. Despite these efforts we know some members still feel unaware of what ONZ does, so there is more work to do to improve in this area. Our challenge, as always, is how best we can address the issues, needs and priorities in the sport with the limited resources we have available at a national level, so we look forward to exploring this at the upcoming forums, as well as through the business planning process which will happen at the end of the year.
There is a lot to do. However in amongst the work we have as a Board (and myself as Chair), it is important we enjoy the sport as well. As with any of the high demand volunteer positions which exist across the sport, we need to ensure we don’t lose our love for what the sport is really about, which is great people, doing some great events in some awesome places. On that note I am really looking forward to joining the NZ MTBO team in Oz next week, having some battles on the bike with fellow kiwi and Oz competitors, enjoying the camaraderie, and the excitement of racing on new maps in a foreign land. Wherever you are this next few weeks, I hope you “find your adventure” with some orienteering that excites you too.
Happy running (and biking)
Peter Swanson | ONZ Chairperson
027 302 4863
Share this on: