View from the Chair – October 2023
By Christo Peters - Sat 4 Nov 2023 9:02pm

Big congratulations to Hawkes bay Orienteering for hosting a very successful NZ Orienteering Champs over Labour weekend. Jane Herries, James Watson and the team pulled off an impressive achievement, having had their plans for hosting Nationals at Easter severely disrupted following the awful damage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle in February. I remember talking with Jane and James straight after this happened, firstly to check on the welfare of club members, but also to ascertain what should happen around Nationals plans given the enormous damage across their region. Amazingly, they remained keen to continue with the hosting, albeit at a later date, and it says a lot about the culture and attitude of the Hawkes Bay club that they took this on and pulled it off despite the hurdles. So big congrats and a huge thank you to the Hawkes Bay team for making this happen. And congrats also to all the new National champions who came out on top over the weekend.

I was sorry I could not be there in person myself over the weekend, but by all accounts it sounds like some great courses and terrain were on offer. I was also sorry to not be able to participate in the 50th anniversary celebration dinner and awards night, which by all accounts was a great evening. Leading up to this I spent some time reading two very important documents; a 50th anniversary journal produced by Bryan Teahan, which contains an amazing array of archived information and snippets relating to orienteering in NZ over the last 50 years, and secondly, Stuart Payne’s updated History of Orienteering in NZ. Both very worthwhile reads, and they reinforce the very rich history that has been built around orienteering, and which underpin the sport that we have today. So very big thanks to both Bryan and Stuart for their work on these publications, which truly are taonga that help keep us connected to our roots and past.

Congrats to Kiwi athletes competing overseas, with some notable performances by Kiwis at the Australian Champs featuring strongly in the placings in elite senior and junior grades. You can read more in Malcolm Ingham’s HP news, but worth a special mention is that several young juniors also delivered some outstanding performances, which is especially impressive given that they were competing in Australian (unfamiliar) terrain. This bodes well for the future, and it is fantastic to see the high levels of performance, skill and capability being displayed at these younger and elite grades.

There is a lot happening across ONZ, and we recently held the Club Forum which had a good number of attendees and some great discussions around topics such as the health of the sport, landowner relations, and sharing good practice across ONZ and clubs. We discussed the results of the recent member survey, which gave some great insights to how the sport is doing at club and national levels. Overall, the indications are that the sport is in a healthy place so lots of positive takeouts. Notwithstanding there are issues and opportunities for improvement that are also highlighted and which will help inform business plans going forwards. Information on the survey and outcomes from the club forum can be found on the website or via the General Manager, and clubs will be given survey results specific to their clubs as well that can be discussed at club level.

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to announce that I am standing down as Chairperson of ONZ from December. I will have been in this role almost 5 years and it is time for a change. I have put a lot of energy and time into this role, and have very much appreciated being part of a forward thinking and capable Board, and wider group of ONZ folk who are so dedicated to the sport. I will remain on the Board at least until my second term as Board member ends in 2025. However this change allows me to focus on some other orienteering priorities (notably, being part of the organising group for Nationals 2024), as well as my own business interests which have sometimes taken a back seat in recent years.

Looking forwards, I am very pleased to share that Sarah O’Sullivan will be taking on the role of Chairperson until the AGM next year. Sarah has been a very positive contributor to the Board since she joined in April, and will bring that same positivity and energy to the Chair’s role. Interestingly Sarah becomes the second female Chairperson of ONZ (the first being Jane Harding), so this is another very positive step for the sport. We are also keen to talk with people who would consider joining the Board in the next two years, and who wish to be part of a forward thinking and progressive set of people. If this interests you, please get in touch with myself or any other Board member.

That’s it for this month,
Happy running

Peter Swanson  |   ONZ Board Chair
027 7140915
onz-chair@orienteering.org.nz

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