Presidential address to NZNO AGM 2016


Ko Ranginui kei runga

Ko Papatūānuku kei raro

Ko ngā tangata kei waenganui

Tīhei mauri ora!

Ko te kupu tuatahi, ki to tātou kaihanga, nāna nei te kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea.

E te iwi kāinga, tēnā koutou. Koirā Taranaki Whānui ki Te Ūpoko o Te Ika te tangata whenua.

E te maunga e tū mai rā, tēnā koe Pukeauta.

Ki te Awa Kairangi, tēnā koe.

Ki ngā mate, haere, haere, haere. Rātou te hunga mate ki a rātou. Tātou te hunga ora e huihui mai nei, tēnā tātou.

Ko te wā mō te hui taumata o te Tōpūtanga Taphui Kaitiaki o Aotearoa, ā, kia whakaterehia tō tātou waka te kaupapa.

He waka eke noa. Nā konei, mā te titiro ki muri, ka mārama te titiro ki mua.

Ka maumahara ahau ki te whakataukī: mā te tika o te toki o te tangere, me te tohu o te panaho, ka pai te tere o te waka i ngā momo moana katoa.

Nō reira, e rau rangatira mā, e nga manuhiri tūārangi, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.


Ranginui is above, Papatūānuku below, and the people are in between. Behold!

My first word is to the creator, who sowed the seed from the realm of beginnings, and endings.

Greetings to the tangata whenua, Taranaki Whānui ki Te Ūpoko o Te Ika. Greetings to their sacred mountain and river.

Greetings to those who have passed on, since we last gathered here together. Great leaders have departed from our NZNO whānau this year.

I am sure many of you were as saddened as I by the passing of Lyn Latta in April. Lyn had chaired our National Student Unit and the Nursing and Midwifery Advisory Committee (forerunner of today’s Membership Committee). She chaired the Central Regional Council and the Southern Regional Council. Lyn served on the NZNO Board between 1997 and 2010, and she was a workplace delegate in every service who employed her. It’s here at the annual general meeting, where she was such a steady presence, that I remember Lyn most keenly.

In May, two other great leaders departed from us.

Yvonne Shadbolt was the head of the Auckland Technical Institute (now AUT) when it began offering one of New Zealand’s first comprehensive nursing programmes. Yvonne had been instrumental in the shift of nursing education from hospital-based training. In 1984, she was the co-editor of the essay collection celebrating 75 years of the New Zealand Nurses’ Association and in 1987 she received the NZNA Award of Honour. Yvonne remained a life-long supporter of the Nursing Education & Research Foundation.

Judith Christensen, who also passed away in May, co-led the development of three year comprehensive nursing education at Wellington Polytech, beginning in 1973. She became the first person in Australasia to receive a doctorate in nursing, when she was awarded her PhD in 1989. And during the last decade she was still developing new models of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction for the Salvation Army. Judith will be known to many nurses of my generation through her pioneering contribution to nursing theory from a unique Aotearoa New Zealand perspective, her Nursing Partnership model.

Those who have gone before, are with us still today. So now I greet those gathered here, among the living.

It is time for the hui taumata, the highest meeting of NZNO. The purpose of the meeting is to steer our waka. It’s a waka we’re all in together. By looking back, the view ahead will become clear.

At this time I remember the ancient saying, the whakataukī: “by designing and shaping the keel of the waka to perfection, your canoe will overcome obstacles”.

So to the many leaders, and guests from afar – greetings, greetings, greetings one and all.


I think that every nurse and midwife in the room today probably remembers their first year out in practice. The feeling that after all that study, now you are hands-on, and there is probably still a lot more learning to do, than you realised. Perhaps it seemed that the experienced HCAs you were now working with felt sympathy for you.

For those without the benefit of a NETP, what did you do?

As your “new grad president”, approaching the end of my first year, to prepare for this AGM I did what many of you probably did. I turned to the guidelines.

The NZNO Constitution says, “The President and Kaiwhakahaere shall be the joint heads of NZNO, whose functions shall be to… Act in accordance with the position descriptions laid down by the Board of Directors”.

And in that position description, it says that I am to “account to the annual general meeting for the performance of NZNO and the Board’s stewardship of that performance”. Although it is my job to account for NZNO’s performance, the results reflect the collective efforts of countless members and staff up and down the country, working together.

The performance of NZNO is measured in many ways. Firstly, there is our financial performance. Detailed financials for the year are contained in the 2015/16 Annual Report. They will be presented shortly by our Corporate Services Manager, David Woltman, who will also take questions. But I feel a need as president to account for one headline number. In the financial year 2015/16, NZNO reported a pre-tax operating surplus of one and a quarter million dollars.

NZNO is not a corporation. Our goal is not to maximise financial gains for the organisation, year on year. The Board had budgeted for a small surplus this year, as part of a multi-year plan to recover from losses sustained from 2009 to 2012. The end of year result was much larger than expected, due a number of unforeseen factors – chiefly, due to higher income from exceptionally large membership growth over the 2015/16 year.

This unexpected result should be seen as a one-off. Nonetheless, it means that as Board starts to prepare the budget for next year, we are more able to increase investment in the membership thank we have been for some time.

The performance of NZNO is also measured in services delivered for members, for the nursing profession and for improved population health outcomes. Detailed reporting on this will be done by the Chief Executive.

Turning again to the guidelines, the NZNO Constitution says that the functions of the president also include “furthering the objectives of Annual… General Meetings and the Board of Directors”.

All the strategic direction and policy decisions of the Board since last AGM will soon be presented to you, for ratification.

But what of the objectives of the Annual General Meeting?

Last year’s AGM expressed its objectives by voting on a series of remits. A total of nine policy remits were passed.

Significant progress has been made over the course of the year in implementing these remits. A report from the Chief Executive on implementation, up until June 2016, is contained in the Annual Report.

On several remits, however, there is further progress since June, to report to you.

To depart momentarily from my pre-prepared speech notes, I have to say I was surprised and disappointed to learn yesterday at Colleges and Sections Day, that the timeline for implementing last year’s remit on moving to electronic banking for these groups may not be met.

Despite this, as I say, I can advise you of further progress on remit implementation. This update is taken from the latest issue of On The Agenda, a report from Kerri and I sent to all chairs last week.

The 2015 AGM voted: “That NZNO review our international affiliations before AGM 2016, in order to expand our global connectedness with nursing unions and professional associations in a cost-effective manner”.

As noted in the Annual Report, the review was completed in May and the report circulated to Chairs of membership groups in June. Amongst other things, the report identified the potential of affiliating to Global Nurses United (GNU), a new international network of nursing unions from 19 countries. It recommended that “NZNO adopt the criteria for assessing and prioritising international relationships and encourage all parts of NZNO to use them”. In August 2016, the Board used these criteria to evaluate a proposal that NZNO should join GNU and agreed to join.

Last year, you voted: “That NZNO supports and participates in the fossil fuel divestment campaign”.

The Annual Report stated that after publication of an NZNO position statement on Climate Change in March 2016, there would be a review of NZNO’s investment portfolio in line with the ethical investment requirements. I can now advise that the Board has completed a review, and has acted to satisfy itself that NZNO’s investment portfolio now contains no direct holdings in fossil fuel companies. The Board is also contemplating how to carry this work forward, including what steps NZNO can take to reduce and mitigate our contribution to carbon emissions as part of a transition to a safe-energy economy which supports the biosphere and human health.

You voted: “That the NZNO become an Accredited Living Wage Employer in NZ by 01/07/16.”

After lodging an application for accreditation as a Living Wage employer in June 2016, as mentioned in the Annual Report, it was announced at a ceremony in Auckland on 1 July that NZNO had achieved this goal. I attended the event and wrote an account of NZNO’s Living Wage journey for NZNO Blog.

You voted that: “The NZNO Member Support Centre shall be fully resourced to gather data to create an environmental scan which will be reported to the NZNO Board of Directors bimonthly in a timely manner in order to be included in the Board of Directors meeting papers.”

The Annual Report stated that timely MSC reports are now being provided to the Board, every six months. The  first of these was included in the February 2016 Board meeting papers. The MSC reports will also be sent to the Membership Committee, Te Poari and Chairs of Regional Councils.

And you voted: “That NZNO continues to prioritise and support campaigns towards nurses and midwives entry to practice programmes, for Registered Nurses, Registered Midwives and Enrolled Nurses, with the campaign goal of 100 per cent employment of new graduates and improved health workforce planning in Aotearoa”.

As mentioned in the Annual Report, there has been no specific campaign launched this year, but a number of generic campaign activities continue. The new graduate employment  figures contained in the report indicate that further prioritising of these campaigns will be required, if we are to meet NZNO’s goal of “100% graduate employment by 2018 at the latest”.

Which leads me to my final part of accounting for performance to this annual general meeting.

A year ago, I stood here – a little fresher of face perhaps, and certainly a little less grey – and made a series of commitments to you. Have I delivered?

I pledged more “visibility in the media” from the president.

The mass media is a fickle beast, which operates according to its own priorities. There has been an increase in the number of NZNO media appearances this year, but visibility does remain low. For this reason, attention has focused more on use of social media and blogs.

I pledged “to be more visible in the organisation and engage more with member groups”.

I committed to “an unrelenting focus… on the social determinants of health” and to “the strengthening of NZNO’s bicultural partnership”. I was pleased to be able to join a small group from the Greater Auckland Regional Council at a protest at The Block NZ open home last month, to help highlight the housing crisis as a social determinant of health.

I committed to “building NZNO’s dual identity as a professional association and registered union”. I have carried NZNO’s professional voice on the health impacts of the TPPA to parliament, along with the kaiwhakahaere and alongside health professionals from the NZ Medical Association, the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, and other groups. And on the other hand, I believe that leading NZNO to become a Living Wage employer has helped to expresses our union values.

I pledged to “support members whenever they join together and take collective action for health”. I am excited that we now have a new vehicle for that, the Shout Out For Health campaign.

And lastly I expressed last year the hope that, “as members are heard and supported, and as members see their views reflected in our direction… that more and more are encouraged to actively participate in NZNO membership structures” – even though, I acknowledged, this means “voluntary work, on top of long hours in paid employment or study – and often after caring for family members as well”.

Ultimately, it is you – as the members in our member-run organisation, as the representatives of our democratic structures, or as NZNO’s partner under Te Tiriti o Waitangi – who will judge individual and collective performance today.

Before long, we will begin considering the remits you have put forward for this year’s AGM, which may set new objectives. As the Constitution reminds us, “The AGM establishes the overall strategic direction and policy of NZNO”.

But I renew my pledges now, that I will keep furthering the objectives which have not yet been fully met from the AGM past, and from the Board of Directors.

From the foregoing, it is apparent there are at least three pieces of unfinished business: stepping up campaigning for new graduate employment, shouting out for health and investing in members to support active participation of volunteers in NZNO membership structures.

Our kaiwhakahaere and co-leader, Kerri Nuku, will now address you.

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

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