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Summary of Meeting of SONZ Board of Trustees held 20th April 2023

The purpose of this summary is to provide transparency on Board matters and provide club members with an overview of our discussion, an update on progress on key initiatives and any other matters of interest to the SONZ community. For the first time the Senior Leadership Team members were invited to attend the Board meeting, to allow a full and informative discussion on the key points for discussion.

Cultural Awareness. Members of the Board and Senior leadership team (SLT) attended a workshop on 13th/14th March. The Programme looked at the historical context of Te Tiriti, interpreting the Articles and Principles and aligning to Te Tiriti – what does alignment / responsiveness mean for SONZ, and how can we use the articles and principles to influence how we work? This was an extremely valuable and relevant session, and will inform how we ensure we are and remain an inclusive organisation.

SONZ AGM. This was originally scheduled to take place on Wednesday 24 May 2023. This date has now been pushed out to 6th June to allow time for the Board to initiate an appointments process for Clubs to nominate candidates for elected membership of the Board. Elected members are able to serve 3 years before being required to stand down or renominate.

Operational Report. The CEO provided a high-level organisational update, highlighting that 2023 continues to be a transitional time for the organisation, with the focus on the Board and SLT operating as an effective and aligned unit. With a strong focus on valuing people, there is a performance review process underway, including increased emphasis on professional development opportunities for staff. There is an identified need to strengthen the way data is used within the organisation, and to seek opportunities for improvement through the rest of the year.

National Summer Games. The Board reviewed the final Review Report on the Games. 993 Athletes and 9 Unified Partners, with 400 Managers, Coaches, Team Assistants and 550 approx volunteers attended 10 Sports over 8 venues during 4 days of events. Over 700 Athletes went through the Healthy Athletes Programme

The Review highlighted some key learnings to be considered and recommendations that will provide a strong base for planning for the next Games in 2025, including:

• Webinars were valued and appreciated, and were especially useful for new head coaches and coaches. There is broad mix of capability and understanding across our coaches and Clubs, therefore more webinars to help coach the coaches earlier would be good. Those questions that can’t be answered at the webinar need to be followed up and communicated.

• Divisioning information needs to be improved – too slow and insufficient detail, at times saw teams/athletes mismatched and small divisions meant only one game a day. Better clarity on rules prior to competition to ensure athletes are training under the correct construct.

• Importance of having multiple methods of communication – webinars (recording them for those who miss out), newsletters, email updates etc helps as all our volunteers have busy lives and many commitments;

• Games Management System – it is critical there are multiple people who can work and understand the system in the build up to and at the NSG

• NSG is a good opportunity to try non-sanctioned SOI approved sports eg cycling, badminton;

Overall, around 85% respondents felt the communication levels in the build up to the Games were good to excellent Most rated the communication through the event as good or better than good.

Alternative funding sources. The Special Olympics New Zealand current fundraising programme is fairly modest, raising approximately $1m per year, primarily through support from Sport NZ, grants from Trusts and some key donors. The Board has been considering the role of philanthropy and fundraising in its future for a number of years, and is interested in assessing the potential for greater support through sustainable and effective fundraising and philanthropic programmes. A professional fundraising organisation has been invited to present ideas for how the organisation can be supported by a sustainable fundraising strategy.

Update from Athlete Leader – Representative Grace Payne gave a verbal update on the build up to the World Summer Games.

Who We Are: You can find out who is on the Board at, and this will shortly be updated to show the formal and informal committees, their composition and the remit of each committee. Also you can find out more as follows:

• the schedule of Board meeting dates (6 during the year) will be published on the Special Olympics website.
• after each meeting we will send out a summary like the one above.

Working together. Your Board sets the direction of SONZ and your executive team gets the job done. Along with the grassroots organisation at club level we all want to work together so that we can be a stronger organisation to meet the many challenges that we face on a daily basis. The Board looks forward to sharing with you more effectively this vision for the future and how we’re going to get there together.

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