It was fantastic to be part of the NZ contingent that travelled to Australia to compete in the Australian MTBO Champs a few weeks ago. This included riders selected to represent NZ in the ANZ challenge – the first time this has taken place since 2019, following the disruption covid created in the last 3 years. What a fantastic trip! Riding again in Australia on some interesting and intricate maps was definitely a highlight, as was catching up with many Aussie friends who we hadn’t seen for some time. But the real highlight was being part of the Kiwi contingent, about 25 people of all ages, from all corners of NZ, but who came together and created a great team atmosphere that was fun to be part of, and motivating to compete with. These trips have always been pretty special (in fact it was through my first Australian MTBO trip that I met my wife!). So it was great seeing many new-ish faces on this trip, people who bring new energy and which hopefully bodes well for seeing MTBO further developed in different parts of the country.
Sport renewal is something that is important across all facets of orienteering. Without it, the sport can stagnate, people burn out, and events reduce in number. So it was pleasing to see some of the results from the recent member survey which indicate that overall, the sport is tracking pretty well. Notwithstanding there are areas we need to pay attention to and focus on, and we will be exploring these in the upcoming Presidents and Club forums in October. If you can’t make either of these events we will be generating a report with the results and this will be available after the club forum is held.
I look forward to connecting with many of you at the forums in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we have been pretty busy in our local club preparing for the NZ Orienteering Champs in Easter 2024. Russell Higham has pretty much completed the mapping for Crater Block, on the slopes of Mt Tarawera, which in his words promises to be one of the best Nationals maps for many years, and which will be the venue for the Long, Middle and Relay. If you have been unsure about attending this Nationals I would urge you to make the effort – access to this special map and area is a one off, so will be a singular chance to run in this amazing landscape.
That’s it for this month, happy running
Peter Swanson | ONZ Board Chair