View from the Chair – March 2023
By Christo Peters - Fri 31 Mar 2023 11:09pm

Many clubs have concluded their summer series events, with the focus shifting to Autumn events with the prospect of some more challenging terrain on farms and forest maps.

One of the great highlights of Autumn is the Katoa Po night relays, hosted by Orienteering Taupo. I love this event and try to make it every year – it is a fantastic mix of social, fun, and competitive activities that makes for a really special experience. This year it was especially pleasing to see healthy numbers, up from previous years. This was no accident, and all credit to Taupo who in the past few months have invested a lot of effort into finding out what orienteers want and tweaking the event accordingly. This kind of approach is great to see, and a reminder that across much of the sport we need to look at how to make improvements and adapt, to keep the sport relevant and healthy.

Whilst Taupo’s example is one of pro-active action, we should also recognise that re-active action is also sometimes needed. The recent disaster affecting many parts of the country following Cyclone Gabrielle, also majorly impacted the venues for the planned NZ Orienteering Champs in the Hawkes Bay. It was with some relief that we were able to talk with Jane Herries and James Watson and learn that club members were safe. However plans for the NZ Champs were majorly disrupted. Impressively though, the Hawkes Bay team remain enthusiastic to hold the champs, with the most sensible option being to push it back to Labour weekend.

As happens with many major event disruptions, a domino effect of changes took place, with the South Island Champs being moved off Labour Weekend, and a new Easter 4 day carnival was hastily put together by Wellington and Red Kiwi’s. Big thanks to all these clubs for their willingness to make things work, and adapt to some challenging disruptions. Having endured 2+ years of Covid we thought we were through this kind of thing, however I guess mother nature had other ideas. It does highlight however the impressive resilience and adaptability of the orienteering community.

Lastly, and on the subject of change and adaptation, please don’t forget the AGM which is coming up end of April. There are important changes being tabled to be voted on in this meeting, notably changes to the Levy and Affiliation policies, and the Constitution. The Council has made every effort to engage with clubs and members on these changes, which are intended to make improvements for the sport. However it is essential that these reflect the interests of Members, so please take time to read the proposed changes and have your say through your club.

In the meantime I look forward to seeing many of you at the Easter Carnival. I have had a summer and autumn of brevets and mountain bike racing, so am looking forward to getting my teeth into some quality orienteering again.

See you out there and happy running!

Peter Swanson


Ph 027 302 4863


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