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Positive vibe at National Council ‘11
The scheduled release of the new RSA brand added a strong sense of anticipation to this year’s National Council annual meeting in Wellington on November 14-16.
At the formal opening, the new governor-general, Sir Jerry Mateparae, challenged the RSA to be fit for the future. RNZRSA president Don McIver’s inaugural address concentrated on how the RSA would achieve this, and the importance of not losing the momentum.
He also acknowledged Anzac of the Year Dr Brian McMahon, new Badge in Gold and life member John Campbell, and introduced an emotional message from National Bank RSA Cyril Bassett VC speech competition winner Cervantee Wild, who was unable to attend because of NCEA exams.
Prime minister John Key announced a new policy for veterans wishing to attend World War 2 70thanniversarycommemorations and the opportunity of the forthcoming World War 1 centenaries. He was accompanied by three fellow ministers, along with senior defence and police staff.
At the cocktail reception, sponsored this year by NZATM, delegates were able to reunite with old friends – and also get the opportunity to mix with dignitaries and snap a photo with Willie Apiata VC, attending his inaugural council meeting as a Badge in Gold and life member of the RNZRSA.
Earlier in the day, the council began with a remembrance service with at the National War Memorial, and more than 350 delegates and observers laid poppies at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.
Back at the Michael Fowler Centre, the business and hospitality workshop discussed in detail how to implement the new RSA club principles identified in the brand strategy. Meanwhile, the pensions and welfare workshop presented the first two modules of the new training resource that will be rolled out regionally early next year.
In the afternoon, a very well attended pensions and welfare forum heard Col John Boswell, recently back from deployment to Afghanistan, describe conditions, the impact of modern deployments on rehabilitation, especially mental health, and challenge the RSA to provide a value proposition for current New Zealand Defence Force personnel to join. The third annual future forum, was day two, was the scene for the launch of the new RSA brand. RNZRSA chief executive Stephen Clarke playfully used an airplane-flight metaphor – “Flight RSA 2016 and Beyond”. RNZRSA vice-president David Moloney outlined the organisational strategy and changes to governance, including the NEC’s recent decision to establish an executive management committee.
DesignWorks’s Chris Meade and Paul Johnson took delegates through the new RSA brand to much interest and positivity – some “passengers” called for its implementation immediately. They were supported by business coach Ian Brooks in his presentation on how to make transformation happen at local RSAs.
The session finished with National Office staff, dressed in new tee-shirts and caps, coming into the auditorium to hand out brand kits to spontaneous applause.
But delegates got a further surprise when they left the forum – the RSA brand shop had popped up in the two hours they had been inside and they had the opportunity to have their own branded merchandise as a souvenir of being there at the beginning. The shop was just one of a number of trade displays designed to show the value of corporate partners to RSAs and members.
The business of remits went smoothly, with some important resolutions providing authority to establish a RNZRSA trust, to undertake a comprehensive review of the national and local rules to align with the new strategy, and to provide all serving NZDF and police personnel with free membership as well as investigate the establishment of their own association.
During the conference, delegates also heard from the leader of the opposition, the ministers of veterans’ affairs and defence, and the Australian RSL national president Ken Doolan who, because of calendar clashes, made a special one-day trip to Wellington, underlining the Anzac spirit and bond between the two trans-Tasman veterans’ organisations.
Delegates departed on Wednesday with a new appreciation of the value of attending National Council – one that reinforces the significance and relevance of the RSA in New Zealand society.
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