AGM Chair Report 2019
Achilles International New Zealand
Millennium Institute of Sport
17 Antares Place
Mairangi Bay Auckland
Annual General Meeting
25 May 2019
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