2021 RUAFC Chair's Report
He taonga rongonui te aroha ki te tangata
(This whakatauki focuses on: goodwill toward others should guide our actions and our behaviour. Compassion for others, caring for people in need, respecting the rights and the dignity of others and simply enjoying the company of friends, relatives and members of various groups are all encompassed in this proverb).
Tēnā koutou katoa
Governance and accountability are as equally important to the success of the club as the pathways and membership. It is all interlinked and the pathways and membership will never flourish and reach their fullest of potential if the operations of the club are less than sound.
Despite all the effort of the last two years getting the t’s crossed and i’s dotted, we know there is more to do. Never before has there been the demands on a volunteer club to operate in the same manner as a professional outfit, but we are rising to this. This is time consuming, places demands on individuals and the club as a whole that have not been there before. It means we needed to look at how we are operating to meet our obligations, and saw the best way to get consistency to enable a solid foundations was to delegate (in May 2019) the day to day operations to a Coordinator, with the Committee overseeing the governance but allowing everything that is needed for the operations of a senior club to happen in a timely, consistent manner. There is no doubt this has benefited the club’s operations and Governance.
Getting everything in place for real progression is a process and one that if it is rushed will be as harmful as not ever starting the process. Steady careful process can be frustrating, but like painting the preparations you do determine the quality of the finished product.
As well as listening, governance needs to look at the bigger picture, understand and be able to implement the overall needs. Integrity in leadership does not come from being yes people. 2021 saw the club being described as being well on its way to be a model club for inclusivity.
I especially wish to acknowledge the hard work Lesli and Sam have put into making sure the Club’s accountability, transparency, and sustainability to its members, to its external stakeholders is in place with sound processes and procedures which ensure we meet the obligations and regulations we operate within. This work has gone a long way towards protecting the clubs ability to operate, supporting the coaches and players to do what they love, coach and play football.
Achievements of the past 12 months are now showing the hard work which started in 2019 has paid off despite COVID affecting everyone in 2020. It’s also been a busy year, lots has been accomplished so the report is long and I make no apologies for that – we’ve been busy.
The Committee do need a special shout out – as well as the governance responsibilities, the work carried out to keep the club costs down during uncertainty was a measure of the importance the club’s sustainability means to us as a group, and the time and material goods which has been donated by Lesli, Sam, Brendon, John, Jono and myself really is going above and beyond, and how quietly we have gone about this to ensure club costs were kept in check when the Club’s income had been affected by COVID, has perhaps, with hindsight, been to our detriment.
So here I provide a detailed oversight of the last 12 months, split into four sections: Players/teams/coaches, Facilities, Club Administration, Other areas of operation, before concluding.
Player membership / teams / coaches
Facilities – The committee have spent much of 2020/2021 advocating for our current and future needs - with Council stating that NHP will not be used for football as soon as they can find somewhere else it means they did not want any money invested at NHP for football - so as well as needing to be aware of our future needs and ensuring we are heard on this. Council also want to move away from clubs owning lights and so won’t support any enhancements to ours when we are told NHP can only cope with 1.5 hours use a week. We have had ongoing discussions in 2019, 2020 and 2021 with Council and their consultants re their vision for the Westbrook sports precinct and what our needs are and would be. As a result, our advocating has resulted in:
Club Administration – after the last AGM the Committee drew up a list of roles and responsibilities which needed to be focused on, unfortunately not everyone who had said they wanted to be on the Committee ended up being able to commit the time, and so the slack was once again taken up by the core few again. Despite this lots has been progressed:
Other areas of operation
If I have missed anyone out my sincerest of apologies, it was not my intention but another good reason to move the AGM to February!
To keep progressing we have to ensure due diligence is in place in every decision. This club now has more collective knowledge of senior club administration than it has for a number of years, direction has been gently re-introduced, we are in the best position to move forward and the membership is very much part of this. We have to ensure protections and accountabilities are in place – our constitution currently does not protect our future from all the daily things which might look insignificant or innocuous in isolation but will add up to damage the gains that have been made and will continue to be made for the good of football. Priorities needed to happen, hindsight is always a wonderful thing, however it stands that the current committee have been laying the foundations, the necessary preparations, to move forward with confidence, with certainty, with integrity, with sustainability.
Because we have to build here, for here, to be successful for longevity, this has to be aim of everyone involved in football including the governance. A good football club develops individual’s footballing skills, it also develops a sense of belonging, grows team players and becomes a community in its own right, this is happening here within RUAFC. One size does not fit all when we are growing the membership to ensure footballers of tomorrow. Coaches have to be allowed to be authentic through their own coach development to deliver the best for football.
Football is NZ’s largest code, and with the foundations we have been able to realise over the last 2 years we now have the opportunity to grow further and develop individuals and the football overall being played here in Rotorua. It has been a pleasure to Chair a dedicated and committed core committee, who in every decision and moment involved with club governance has put the club purpose and wellbeing at the very heart.
It is fantastic that so many are now interested in the governance at RUAFC to mean for the first time ever the positions are truly contestable in accordance with the constitution. This is how the membership gets the representation it wants, so please read the nominations, and members should take this opportunity to attend the AGM and vote on who gets to lead your club forward.
Nāku noa, nā
On 15 December 2021, a special general meeting resolved to adopt an updated constitution. This updated constitution provides the clarity and accountability that all clubs need in their governing document, it will help those who take on the responsibilities in the future and provide the membership clear guidance on what should be happening on their behalf.
It provides representation where there was not before, including giving junior members aged 16 and over, and senior members aged 16 and 17's a voice.
There is now rotation to ensure continuity and stability in governance.
We are very grateful to the work by committee members and the outside support we had to undertake this huge piece of work in a relatively short period of time. A piece of work which always centred the membership as a whole.
The updated constitution was accepted by Incorporated Societies on 17 December 2021 and is now our legal document by which the club is governed.