Friday, May 29, 2020
Tradition was upheld at the 109th Bay of Plenty Rugby Union AGM but it just looked a bit different. The 38 clubs and affiliates from across the region joined on a zoom call to undertake this years AGM, a first for the union. Due to gathering restrictions of Covid-19, safety came first and clubs willingly supported this unique gathering.
In probably the shortest version of the meeting also, the agenda items were swiftly dealt with in less than 20 minutes. There were no sausage rolls and cold drinks on screen but also no 1 hour road trips for the meeting. Clubs appeared happy with the meeting and with a few tweeks this format could become the new norm.
Chairman, Paul Owen announced the appointment of new Independent Director, Hellen Faulkner. Hellen becomes the second female Director on the current Board after Kiriwaitingi Rei joined last year.
Paul Owen, commented Hellen’s appointment is welcomed, at a time where the game is changing and the unions business extends internationally. This is further acknowledgement that the Board is seeking more diverse membership and a range of skills that can assist its strategic intent.
Hellen Faulkner, commented that the relationship with China Rugby Football Association is very exciting and she looks forward to assisting the union to develop this partnership further.
The union reported its 9th consecutive profit to its members and these results have assisted the Board and Management to deal with current Covid-19 related issues better than some other provincial unions.
On the field, the union was able to achieve another growth in playing and referee numbers. The performance of the Steamers in winning the M10 Cup Championship and gaining promotion to the Premiership for 2020 was a highlight for the community.
CEO, Mike Rogers commented, while acknowledging 2019 provided many successes, the impact of Covid-19 has been severe. I want to acknowledge the work of the many club and school volunteers who are currently doing a huge amount of work to resurrect the community rugby season and get their teams on the field. This is a huge undertaking amongst the uncertainities of income from sponsorship and without funding from class 4 gaming.
The union had previously confirmed that affiliation fees would be wiped for 2020 and the union was in discussions with trusts to access sanitation supplies.
In a variation from the carpark discussion post meeting, a number of club delegates stayed on the zoom call for a further 30 minutes to carry on the debate about the upcoming club draw and formats, some things never change!