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Update from Pam Elgar – Auckland Hockey Chair

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Dear Presidents, Club Officers, Life members, volunteers and the greater Auckland Hockey Community.

I wanted to take the opportunity to reach out to everyone and give an update on recent changes within the Auckland Hockey Board following the recent AGM. Firstly, I was appointed as President of Auckland Hockey Association at the AGM where we also welcomed 5 new elected members onto the board. They are Sarah Anderson (Somerville Hockey Club), Marc Dudley (Western Districts Hockey Club), Khush Kullar (Waitakere Hockey Club), Jenny Pooley (Somerville Hockey Club) and Mark Robinson (Howick Pakuranga Hockey Club).

They join Abbie Gunning and Mandy Barker who remain on the board from their previous appointments.  My role is also as Acting Chair of Auckland Hockey Board and Neil McCorkindale and Trish Rangi also sit in on board meetings as the men’s and women’s presidents.

We were also thrilled to announce at the AGM the appointment of James Sutherland as the new Auckland Hockey CEO. James moves into the role after six years as Auckland Hockey General Manager and the board has complete confidence in James’s abilities and fully supports his appointment. Following James’s appointment, he engaged the assistance of Denise Smith to help with the senior and youth competition draws which has already proven to be a huge success. Denise will continue to work for AHA part-time going forward.

To assist the new board to settle in and better establish itself, I will be sitting as acting Chair for the next few months to ensure that we have a strong and formal governance structure within our board going forward. Abbie Gunning has been appointed as Secretary of the board and has already helped implement online board reporting portal which helps to ensure accountability of action points and agenda items for meetings. This new board aims to put a priority on communication and openness as we build a community that’s a lot more approachable and to ensure complete transparency with our clubs, our member and the hockey public in general, so there are never any surprises.

I am pleased to advise the new board met recently and had its first formal meeting following on from a team building, induction meeting held at the beginning of June.  It was a packed agenda filled with passion and excitement about what the future holds for AHA going forward. First up for the new board is a review of the previous strategic plan to ensure it aligns with our overall goals and strategies. We are here to help James as the CEO effectively deliver our overall strategic plans for the community, so we all have to be clear about what that strategy is and ensure that it’s correct for our community. Marc Dudley is helping develop this even further with a Auckland Hockey Community project link that will feed directly into the overall strategic plan, as well as helping implement better communication and PR strategies.

Joint Club President / CEO / Board member meetings have already been occurring regularly with open and honest discussions. Feedback from the club presidents as to our grassroots game is critical to our organisation’s success. This gives clubs a regular forum to provide direct feedback about any concerns as well as an avenue for the CEO and Board to provide our clubs with regular updates as to its performance and goals. We are thrilled to have such wonderful levels of engagement from the club presidents and their teams.

Mark Robinson and Sarah Anderson have been appointed to the Finance and Risk sub-committee and will be working alongside Neil McCorkindale who is working closely with James on financial matters pertaining to the AHA.

The board, led by Sarah Anderson will also be undertaking a full review of the Colin Maiden Park development project. Sarah will be working closely with the Auckland Hockey Facilities Trust to better understand their constitution, appointment process and how our overall management agreement with the trust will look going forward. We have a desire to push forward with the development of two new turfs at CMP, but it’s critical for the board that communication between our two boards remains open, fast and transparent and that we have aligned objectives.

We want to reinvigorate the passion and pride of what it means to play for Auckland again. We are one of the biggest hockey associations in NZ and as such should be setting ourselves to a very high standard at all times. That means as players, as volunteers and as a board.

This is vital within areas like our representative programmes where Jenny Pooley, assisted by Khush Kullar and Mandy Barker will be leading a full review of how we as an association appoint our rep coaches, managers and players and what each sees as being important to achieve success. The board has recognised transparency and communication as being critical to this process.

James is also continuing his work with grant funding towards the replacement of the LEP2 Turf, Lights and Scoreboard. At this stage this project is being targeted for the end of 2024 with the goal of completion before the start of 2025 season.

We also will be more closely aligning with Hockey NZ who are working on projects around connected communities to better support the associations and deliver a better product to all that play the game.

We thank everyone for their continued support and are looking forward to a very bright future at Auckland Hockey.


Pam Elgar ONZM

Auckland Hockey Chair

AKH proudly acknowledge the support of our Partners