AGM Chair Report 2019

Achilles International New Zealand

Commonwealth Room

Millennium Institute of Sport

17 Antares Place

Mairangi Bay Auckland


Annual General Meeting


25 May 2019

Chair Report

Welcome to the Athletes, Guides, Ambassadors, and Funders who are not only here today but

represent the exciting work that has taken place over this last 12 months. To be the Chair during this

year has certainly been both challenging but equally rewarding and I am honoured to be able to

contribute to the continuing development of Achilles and setting examples of what can be done.

I am very much a sportsperson but am not allowed to run and so I do get frustrated about not being

able to participate but equally to spend time with all participants whether it is at the airport

travelling with the team to New York vs. standing on the finishing line at the Cigna Wellington Round

the Bays event and seeing those who at all levels compete with pride, the successes of achievement

gives me personal satisfaction that we are contributing to this growth and success. This is why we do

what we do.

To see the expansion of events such as participation in the Sydney Marathon and the further

development of the Auckland ASB Marathon where now wheelchair sport is a recognised category is

fantastic. I make special mention of Mike Lloyd who pursued his ambition to run 10 New York

marathons as a blind runner and yet has Parkinson’s as well.

Within a short time we continue to deliver some changes that certainly puts great foundations in

place to go forward. This includes; increasing our members, supporting more events both nationally

and overseas, the establishment of a further 2 chapters in Dunedin and Whangarei, continuing to

build our communication structures with the help of Alana and managing our chapter resources.

The rest of this year leaves significant work ahead of us to continue this journey and ensure that the

growth of Achilles is maintained. With the help of the CIGNA team we have received large amounts

of media exposure that assists us to again engage with both the public and members alike.

Equitable funding is always a challenge for any NSO and without the support of key funders we

would not be in the position of growing the organisation. It is important that we recognise several of

these including, CIGNA New Zealand, The CIGNA Foundation USA, Pure Sports Nutrition, Foundation

North, The Lotteries Grants Board, Four Winds Trust just to name a few. As a Board we still need to

develop further commercial opportunities.

A key partnership we have operationally is with Parafed Auckland and they have supported John

tremendously well. Special thanks need to go to Tom and his team. This partnership is now

organically expanding via other Parafed boards and locations with good success. This has allowed us

to grow with local support.

I want to take time out to recognise 2 Board members who have contributed significantly to Achilles

over many years and have now decided to move on. Tenille Burnside and Rosa Carter have held

senior positions by way of skills, experience, and contribution to the growth of Achilles and we wish

to recognise those contributions and thank them whole heartedly. We wish both all the success for

the future and you are always welcome and we know you may be looking over our shoulder.

A challenge for all is always “what is next” and it is this challenge that the Board will rise to in the

next 12 months.

We all enjoy our involvement in sport for different reasons. Because of that the emphasis on the

things that we think are important will always differ, and that is the conundrum facing all of us who

want Achilles to prosper. I took on the role as Chair at a very exciting time for our organisation. I am

pleased to report that we have got on with changes and growth that we aspired to achieve, and I am

confident that our members are seeing that. For some, this has taken them by surprise, but the

majority of our members are pleased that we are getting out there and giving things a go. The Board

and National Manager believe that we may not always get things right but the alternative of doing

nothing, in a rapidly changing sport and leisure market, will hurt our appeal and the chapters that

are the backbone of Achilles.

Well run, professionally administered chapters, that act as a hub for community activities, which

offer fun and relaxed leisure activity for lots of people, and a path to further success in sport for

others, will prosper in the increasingly diverse sporting world of the future. As we enter the age of

technology it is important that we embrace the advantages that technology has to offer, that we

seek out the young and not so young people who understand technology and that we look for new

ways of communicating with people who expect things to happen now, not some time in the future.

Just as important though is the need to provide a place where people can be “human” and enjoy the

social interaction that we all know comes with sport.

My thanks go to John for getting around the Chapters in New Zealand and collecting a wealth of

information. It confirmed that while membership numbers are still climbing, we cannot be

complacent and ensure that our events do provide appeal and challenge to all our athletes at all

levels. We manage a sport that is in a significant growth phase. A very pleasant position to be in and

it is important that we recognise the needs of both our casual and our competitive athletes. Armed

with this information the Board made decisions around events and backed the introduction of new

events that will once again raise the profile of both the athlete and Achilles.

While some of our members had mixed opinions on some of the events that have been put on hold

for a year, the conversations were well worth having and they will influence the future direction of

Achilles both here in NZ and Internationally. My thanks go to my fellow Board Members who have

responded to the challenge of setting a new future for Achilles. They have done everything that has

been asked of them and they are committed to working in a change environment. Your individual

efforts are greatly appreciated. Everyone on the Board believes that we must move away from a

membership model that is not sustainable to one that allows recognition of participation at all levels

and that members understand that their contribution plays an important part in our future growth.

Helping Chapters to thrive and prosper is the No1 goal of the Board. The current suggested model

for achieving this may not have found universal favour amongst our members but it is something

that needs to be achieved.

We hope that we continue to deliver a benefit to members and that in return we can promote a

sport that has a high profile within New Zealand and continues to be recognised internationally as a

Chapter that builds growth. You help us deliver the benefits that and brings to so many people

within New Zealand the feeling of integration within able bodied events. The social wellbeing of our

communities is well served by our sport and our members. Finally, a special thanks goes to the high

performers of our sport. To all of you involved in the events both here and Internationally, achieving

PB times and leading others to follow through inspiration you deserve recognition for the effort, the

passion and the time that you put into the game. Your love of the organisation is recognised, and

your voices are heard. We all want Achilles to thrive and prosper and for now our emphasis is on

getting more people through the front doors of our chapters and those yellow shirts of Achilles

become an everyday occurrence when considering the participation and integration of disability


Kindest regards,


Allan Smith

Board Chair

Alana Lythe