Kia ora !
The NZ Society was founded 1927 with a mission to provide UK-based New Zealanders a sense community, to commemorate the important dates in the NZ calendar for those far from home, to be a guiding light in fostering relationships between the UK and NZ, and to support New Zealanders doing extraordinary things within the United Kingdom and abroad.
Ninety-one years later, the 2017 / 2018 NZSUK Committee has continued to celebrate New Zealand in England with another busy year of events, partnerships and charitable giving.
I am delighted to present the following report on activities from the past twelve months.
In my first term as President, the Committee and I set out to:
Build our membership numbers back up to 300 from 127
Re-work our Loyal Kiwi Card programme to better honour and reward both our generous partners and our NZ Society members
Get our (insert swearword of choice here) website sorted out and fixed for good
Run a profitable Waitangi Day Charity Ball in 2018
Increase the number and quality of Charitable Grant Fund Awards given out
Start to build our events calendar up past the expected “big four” events
I’m thrilled to report that, although we didn’t get to 300 this year, we have built the membership to 211 as of this week and our efforts will continue in this area in coming months.The New Zealand Society is the oldest social network for New Zealanders and friends of New Zealand in the United Kingdom. The Society’s aim is to provide a setting where our members can enjoy the best that a combination of British and Kiwi culture has to offer and can celebrate the rich historic, sporting, cultural, language and family links shared by our two countries. The goal of the Society in all of its endeavours is to “celebrate New Zealand in England”.
Our Loyal Kiwi Card programme was strategically re-positioned immediate post-AGM last year, and although our efforts here have been somewhat hampered by our website not being as strong as it might have been, the platform for a better return to and NZ Society experience for our Loyal Kiwi Card partners has been set and will be a focus for 2018-2019.
Our NZ-owned ticketing partner company MusicGlue is, at this very moment, rebuilding our NZ Society website into their system; which they will build, host, maintain, support and train us on for free – just because they’re New Zealanders and they’re happy to help. So, within the next three weeks we’ll be very excited to announce the launch of our new website – finally!
Tick! Details to follow in the Treasurer’s Report
We didn’t increase the numbers of awarded Grants, but what we didn’t achieve in quantity, we definitely achieved in quality:
2015/2016 – 18 grants awarded
2016/2017 – 14 grants awarded
2017/2018 – 14 grants awarded (one of these Grants was for £10,000)
Please see the “Charitable Grants” section below for a full report of all Grants awarded this Committee year (June 2017-June 2018). NB: the Treasurer’s Report details the Grants awarded within the Society’s financial year – 01 April 2017 – 31 March 2018.
We have delivered six NZ Society events and attended and supported many others with voluntary assistance throughout the year:
Our first event in June was a wine tasting at Secret Goldmine, 20 of our membership sampled M-Wines and enjoyed Secret Goldmine / Pie Cart catering at a guided tasting with our Loyal Kiwi Card partners Phil Morton from M-Wines and Mike Meehan from Pie Cart / Secret Goldmine.
Our Christmas Fayre in November was a sell-out, again, and as usual the highlight was the Committee leading a performance of Pukeko in a Ponga Tree at double-time and several decibels louder than it really should have been.
The Waitangi Day Church Service was absolutely one of the highlights of our Committee year, where we were fortunate to welcome the Reverend Jo Kelly-Moore, Archdeacon of Canterbury, into the NZ Society world as our Honorary Chaplain alongside our beloved Canon David Parrott from St Lawrence Jewry. We were led in the most uplifting ceremony by Jo and David, treated to some New Zealand anthems and hymns by two of the best voices in the baritone business – on loan from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa’s Foundation, and were generously hosted by our friends at the Worshipful Company of Girdlers for an hilarious and wonderful reception after the service. We really are so lucky.
The Waitangi Day Charity Ball was an absolutely roaring success – and not just because the sound was so utterly awful that everyone was yelling to be heard and shouting the microphones down! We raised £15,000 for the Charitable Fund, acknowledged the ever-stronger relationship between NZ Society and Ngāti Rānana in their 60th year, awarded a never-before-seen Charitable Grant of £10,000 to Dreamcatchers, helping to ensure Hilary Timmins’ series aired in NZ and online from April this year, danced the night away, drank ALL the wine and awarded the Air New Zealand UK New Zealander of the Year Award to the international legend that is Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. What a night!
Our annual evening event to acknowledge ANZAC Day this year was again, absolutely heartbreakingly lovely. The magnificent Paul Beaver regaled us with stories about NZ and NZers in the wars that help keep the collective memory of our fallen heroes alive, three stunningly talented members of Ngāti Rānana sang of our sorrow and thanks to our soldiers and we heard more about New Zealand’s incredible efforts at Le Quesnoy and the Western Front in the world wars.
In May we hosted a stand at London’s Big Day Out, thanks to Russel Fielding from Kiwis in London and our amazing Committee Members who gave up watching the Royal Wedding from the comfort of their armchairs to watch it from Fletcher’s gazebo on the grass instead! The NZ Cellar provided us with a case of NZ wines to give away in a raffle on the day, allowing us to add over 50 new names to our database, some of whom are in the process of converting to NZ Society members.
Four of the lucky Committee also got to attend one of the Queen’s Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace in May, to represent the NZ Society – always a gorgeous floral affair!
The New Zealand Society (UK) Charitable fund was set up in order to foster links and cultural exchange between New Zealanders and the UK. Approved Grants usually support individuals and organisations that contribute to the arts, education, cultural heritage and sport. We have a high track record of Committee approvals of Grant Applications, but we do apply a strict and consistent evaluation process to each application we receive, and we DO occasionally deny applications or insist on more detail / better terms / bigger impact for our Society and our membership where we feel it is required.
This Committee Year (ie since 30 June 2017) we have awarded the following Charitable Grants:
Dreamcatchers – Hilary Timmins’ passion project, a TV series showcasing the incredible breadth and depth of NZ talent doing amazing things in the UK. Hilary’s plans for the Dreamcatchers world includes an education programme, in-flight broadcast of Dreamcatchers on Air NZ international flights, expansion into other countries and territories to showcase our talent further internationally, and already the programme is being aired on NZ free-to-air channels and on-demand services. Dreamcatchers and the NZ Society share such aligned purposes, the same vision for heroing our tall poppies, and a passion for ‘keeping it Kiwi’ by supporting and employing and showcasing NZ talent. The Dreamcatchers team were instrumental in sourcing and providing the largesse of our Waitangi Day Charity Ball Silent Auction prizes this year, a partnership that will extend into next year and hopefully beyond, given how much our organisations have in common. We are extremely proud to be a named sponsor to the Dreamcatchers team and we value the partnership we’ve started this year to create.
Shakespeare’s Globe Centre of New Zealand – to bring young, bright but in-difficulty students over from NZ to enjoy and be challenged by an intensive immersion into the cultural home of Shakespeare. We are always lucky and grateful to be thanked by the SGCNZ in the form of a late-night performance and reception by the Globe students and company while they’re here – keep an eye out in our next newsletter for the date of this very special event to secure your place this year.
London Pacific Fashion Collective: Pania Greenway, Designer – When we attended the London Pacific Fashion Collective event this year, Pania took pains to assure me that, if it weren’t for the NZ Society Charitable Grant, she simply would not have been able to travel to London to showcase her absolutely incredible fashion, and would have missed out on all the international exposure and press as a result.
Foundation of Australian and New Zealand Arts – a close friend to the NZ Society, FANZA helps showcase emerging and visiting talent from the Antipodes in London, and our Grant awards allow them to continue this work.
GAFA Arts Collective – to enable our Pacific Island communities here in London and across the UK to “speak.sing.see.sway.strut.” – in their own words!
Peach Theatre – In 2017 we supported Jesse Peach and his team to put on the UK premiere of the movie “My Year with Helen”, including an in-person with Helen Clark herself and the movie’s director, the amazing Gaylene Preston. In 2018 we again supported Peach Theatre in bringing the Topp Twins 60th Birthday Tour to the stage in London-town, which was the most rollickingly funny evening, and at which Helen Clark AND Jacinda Ardern both appeared.
Mount Felix Tapestry – our support of this incredible initiative, three years in the making, has allowed the tour of this amazing 44-panel tapestry to commence next month in New Zealand. We look forward to its return in 2019 so that more of our Membership will be able to enjoy it, but we’re glad we were able to share it with our friends the Worshipful Company of Girdlers this year as a thank you for their ongoing support of the NZ Society.
Hotspur – this stage performance follows the enormously successful “Iris Dreaming” production by Joanne Roughton-Arnold, soprano, producer, playwrite, in 2016.
The Living Theatre Troupe – this year we are proud to be supporting Professor Ken Rea in his quest to commit the history of NZ’s Living Theatre Troupe to paper, in an ambitious but incredibly valuable project of authorship, curation, research and collaboration in order to preserve our country’s on-stage history.
Katherine Mansfield Society Conference – we are again very happy to be supporting the June conference of this passionate and dedicated society of Mansfield enthusiasts, experts and students. Tickets for this incredible conference are being offered to the NZ Society membership at a discounted rate as a result of our support, so if you’re interested, please do let us know!
Abbey Kayte Artist – you can see an example of Abbey-Kayte’s original work at the Summer Party here tonight, it is the marquee prize in our raffle later this evening. Our help allows Abbey to host an exhibition here in the UK, and supports her efforts to become more involved in the NZ ex-pat art community here, bringing our countries even closer together.
We are extremely proud to be part of a strong NZ network here in the UK, and thank the New Zealand High Commission, Kea, NZBWN, NZWA, NZSN, NZUGA, NZ-UK Link, LNZCC, CAANZ, NZ Society Scotland, KiL, Te Kōhanga Reo o Rānana and Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club for the part they play in encouraging involvement with the Society. Because of these connections we have been able to better serve our membership in informing them of key events happening in our wider community, and raising awareness of the activities undertaken by each unique group.
The Society values its continued relationship with the Worshipful Company of Girdlers, as well as St Lawrence Jewry next-Guildhall, the Reverend Archdeacon Jo Kelly-Moore and the Reverend Canon David Parrott. A relationship which goes back 85 years to 1933, we are so, so grateful to the Worshipful Company of Girdlers hosting of the Waitangi Day Church Service every year, for which we offer an annual gift. This year, we took Master James Maitland and Clerk Brigadier Ian Rees for a private viewing of the Mount Felix Tapestry at it’s UK home in Walton-on-Thames before it left for its exciting NZ Tour.
Enormous Thanks for our Partners’ and Sponsors’ Support
The Society is continuously and generously supported by many businesses, because of which support we are able to host events, offer prizes for our raffles, produce the Waitangi Day Charity Ball, and introduce our community to New Zealand owned/operated businesses/services in the UK.
We would like to thank each and every business who have made contributions to the Society; with special thanks to our Loyal Kiwi Card Partners, all sponsors of the Waitangi Day Charity Ball and our very special sponsor of the UK New Zealander of the Year award, Air New Zealand.
The New Zealand Society is run by an incredibly dedicated voluntary committee. I would like to thank the committee for contributing to our successes in the past twelve months, with acknowledgement of their support, hard work, dedication and positive representation of the Society. Without the hours put in to membership, communications, social media, relationship management, product sourcing, networking, promotion, administration, event creation and event management – we wouldn’t be the thriving group that we are.
The Future of the NZ Society
Looking ahead to the 2018-2019 Committee Year, and in whatever capacity I am involved, our goals as a Committee are shared, agreed and clear.
We will set a Manifesto as a Committee to articulate who we are as a Committee, what we are here to do and achieve on behalf of the membership of the Society and the roles we perform within the Committee, including: how we will abide by and continuously improve the privacy and security of our Members’ personal data, how we speak about the vision and purpose of the New Zealand Society, how we provide varied yet consistent communication, events and benefits to our members and how we will grow the Society and celebrate our wider NZ community successes here in the UK and abroad.
We will achieve our goal of building our membership back up to the magic 300 number.
We will run profitable events, every event.
We will better support, feature, celebrate and reward our Loyal Kiwi Card partners, sponsors and the greater network of community groups and NZ-owned businesses we work with.
And we will continue to run a professional, responsible Committee on behalf of and with thanks for the trust in us for our Membership – but always having fun while we do so!
I have really, really enjoyed a wonderful, challenging, positive and privileged year as President of the New Zealand Society (UK). It is such an incredible experience to be able to promote and support endeavours related to New Zealand, whilst acknowledging the importance of our relationships here in the UK.
I wish all of us on the 2018-2019 Committee all the very best for a fun-filled year – there will be much to be done, much to enjoy, much to achieve and much to celebrate – let’s do this!
President – NZ Society UK