Annual Report 1990

Hugh Canard sums up the years achievements and coming challenges for the NZRCA.

A problem has arisen in that the Registrar of Incorporated Societies has deleted the NZCA from the register. This goes back to 1976/77 and is due in part to lack of communication and having an obsolete address. It is pointless to analyse why this happened, except that now we have a constant Box Number we will receive mail, regardless of changes in officers. We have to re-register and by the time this report is received the necessary procedures should be underway.

With this historical oversight behind us it is time to review the current status of the NZCA, examine our achievements in the past year and determine what needs to be done.

The Association faced a number of issues this time last year. In alphabetical order:

  • Conservation Resource Law Reform Bill
  • Waitaki water rights
  • Mohaka Hearings
  • Kawarau Hearings
  • Wanganui Hearings
  • Finance: Lack of co-ordination in funding applications and changes in the 'rules'
  • Instruction: Some regions weak, Assessment stage of NZCA Instruction Scheme
  • Polo: Much interest, but needing more national co-ordination NZ, skills lagging compared with Australia
  • Publications: Magazine, Inventory of Caffyn books
  • Racing: LDR activity mostly outside the NZCA, Lack of depth in sprint racing
  • Safety: Advances in technique/gear
  • Slalom: Lack of funds for the task in hand, growing pains
  • Touring: Queen's Chain, Conflict with other recreationalists

We also needed to address the issue of our Constitutional structure.

The Executive will report on these matters in depth but an overview shows that there has been progress on most of tasks at hand. Of course 1990 brought us another crop!

Conservation matters occupied a lot of my time and I represented the NZCA at the Mohaka and two separate hearings on the Kawarau River. John MacKay also sent in submissions and appeared before the parliamentary committee on the RLMR Bill. I want to personally thank all the canoe clubs and individual paddlers who sent in written submissions and appeared at these hearings. Finances under Douglas Hull have steadily improved. Reporting to the various portfolios has been departmentalised so that we know the current status of each discipline. To clear up one widely held misconception, Slalom does not 'beg' money from Racing, or vice versa. The NZCA operates one bank account in which cash is managed. Due to the timing of cash flows in and out of the account, it is quite common to payout money to one portfolio in advance of its cash being received. All funds are earmarked to the discipline that raises those funds.

Instruction continues the 5 year plan and we now see the end result in NZCA instructors of high calibre. Instruction is the cornerstone of canoe club activity and I have observed those clubs with good instruction programmes flourish and those which do not, wither and die.

Polo has taken off in some centres with large numbers of teams playing regularly right through the winter. The next stage is to spread the word and get Polo into all regions. The NZCA magazine still suffers from infertility problems. It comes down to the volunteer(s). The NZCA Executive, concerned about the difficulties of regular communication to all paddlers, decided to experiment with a very modest newsletter to each individual member of affiliated clubs. These have been posted after each Executive meeting. The direct method of distribution has proved that there are many clubs who do not reach their members with any 'NZCA' information, such as regional events, conservation and instruction. It also indicates that some clubs understate their membership, presumably to reduce their affiliation fees. There is a remit on this subject and it can be discussed fully at the appropriate time.

Racing now has a very ambitious program and I am heartened to see not only some younger competitors in sprint racing, but also some regional LDR activity (including veterans) being run under the NZCA banner. There is a lot of work yet to be done to involve those people who actually are running such events independently (multisports and local canoe clubs) in the overall NZCA scene.

I would remind all people under 30 that you need a few people over 30 or 40 or 60 to run events and some of these people want to paddle too.

Equipment has always been available to improve safety on rivers but the necessary skills to use it have not been a feature of the NZ scene to date. Safety and Instruction have been working closely together, resulting in the River Rescue courses and the integration of safety into our Instruction program. Another instruction video is now ready covering trips on moving water and I admire and thank Tim and Neil and those dedicated volunteers who made this video in mid-winter.

Whitewater slalom now has the incentive provided by the Olympics in 1992. This has proved a mixed blessing as not only has it generated the depth of interest and family support required but also a number of what I will politely call 'growing pains'. Slalom has to make the transition from a loosely organised sporttoatightlydisciplined sport and this will cause problems for officials and competitors alike.

I have two things to say about Slalom. One - is that all those seriously involved need to put aside personalities and get in behind the Slalom Committee, and two - that the Slalom Commodore has the full support of the NZCA Executive.

Last but not least is Touring, John MacKay has done an excellent job in this portfolio and has contributed to the Executive across the board. We all still take access to rivers and lakes for granted. Changes to the law pose a serious threat to this access and we may yet see the user pays/permit situation that exists in other countries develop here.

Constitutional Reform

This subject was considered by the Executive. Two remits are on the Agenda for this AGM. One proposal is to allow associations with canoeing as one of their activities to affiliate with the NZCA. The intention is to open our Association to the wider world of canoe related activities in New Zealand. The move, if passed, and taken up by those associations for which it is intended, will inevitably bring about other changes in our structure in the years ahead.

The other, and not mutually exclusive proposal, is to re-organise the NZCA on regional lines. This is the de-facto situation already in Auckland and Canterbury and it is a pleasure to work this way. It does, however, depend on the quality and commitment of the regional representatives for its success and it is expensive in people as we have to replicate the portfolios in each region.

These possible changes will bring with them a new set of challenges but I believe that to do nothing is the worst thing we can do.

The Future

Our priority for the NZCA is to form stronger links with other canoeing groups. We need to place ourselves in relationship with Maori, Polynesian and Asian paddlers in this countrv. It seems ironic to me that we probably have better contacts with other countries. The other organisations I have spoken to desire their autonomy as much as we do. This seems to be a good starting point for any relationship.

Conservation issues will continue to loom large for us as energy, mining and other recreationalists compete for our waterways. All forms of paddling are at risk, even flat water. We must reach all canoeists with this message.

The Olympics will increasingly involve the NZCA in the next 2 years. Bill Garlick is our representative on the Olympic & Commonwealth Games Association and just happens to be the Chairman. The incoming Executive may have a new structure to establish. When the discussion is over I hope all member clubs will support their elected representatives, keeping in, mind our primary interest is out on the water.

The NZCA Executive

Douglas Hull is not offering himself as Treasurer this year and on your behalf I thank him for his work on the accounts for the past 5 years. Douglas has built on our relationship with the various funding bodies and the new Treasurer will inherit the benefits of his work in this important area. John MacKay has been on the NZCA Executive on a number of occasions and we have benefitted from his experience and knowledge once again for the past two years in the Touring portfolio.

We continue to be fortunate in having the services and wise counsel of Barbara Levido. We bought a fax machine which is a mixed blessing for her, but a big improvement in our communications.

The Executive has an increasing workload as we set ourselves higher goals. My personal thanks go out to each and every member for their hard work and the way each contributes to the overall progress of canoeing.

Hugh Canard