Changing of the guard

At the eight annual meeting held on Easter Sunday 4th April Dr Stuart Crosbie was confirmed as the new President. I copy Stuart’s acceptance speech directly into this editorial.

Thanks Richard (Richard Kemp was Chairperson for the Annual Meeting)  for your words of encouragement and for continuing in your long-serving role as Vice-President in which you graciously keep the Society on an ‘even keel’ when the going gets tough and point out when we stray from our mandate.

Stuart Crosbie, Heather Macdonald, Mark Cosgrove.

It’s great to have Mark & Heather with us today even although they are challenged by health issues.

Between them they have led the Society since its inception

This has taken outstanding levels of commitment in terms of time, effort, and tenacity and the Society simply would not be in existence today without their dedication and wise stewardship …… so can you please join me in applauding them

I am delighted to report that they have both agreed to remain involved going forward:-

  • Heather in providing support on media matters, and
  • Mark as an expert adviser to the Committee – bringing his scientific expertise and extensive historical knowledge of the Society’s affairs

As your incoming President, I’m both humbled and a little in awe as I step into their shoes. Unlike Mark and Heather, I don’t live locally and I’m not retired.

So it means I will have to operate somewhat differently.

The way forward – balancing purpose, people and process

In thinking through how we might improve the way we operate, I recalled a world famous author and speaker on teamwork and group dynamics by the name of Peter Scholtes. I remember him giving the key-note address at an Australian Business Excellence conference and beginning by saying that he got very easily confused ….. and he considers it one of his strengths! He went on to say that leaders of successful organizations basically have a three pronged focus – Purpose, People and Processes. And they all have to be in synchronization.

So what does that mean for the Advocates?

Well I’ve already talked about our Purpose earlier and I believe we are well advanced in being focused on the right things

Let me move on to the People side of things, and for us, that basically means our Committee

I’m very grateful for the calibre of the incoming Committee

I’ve already acknowledged Richard’s contribution as Vice-President and the other office bearer is, of course, our Secretary & Treasurer (and website administrator) Eric Wilson. Eric’s conscientiousness and thoroughness are

impeccable qualities which make him a delight to work with (not to mention his smile!)

Several of the Committee Members have well established leadership roles in progressing our strategic priorities as covered earlier with support from the other members …. The key here is to tap into each other’s strengths

So thanks to all Committee Members who agreed to be re-elected and a special welcome back to John Wheeler after a period of ill-health.

Collectively, our Committee brings a real depth of expertise from widely diverse backgrounds – but what we have in common is a real passion for the Tongariro

Before leaving the people side of things, there is also the imperative of building good relationships with our key stakeholders ….. and our Committee has a good balance of local and national networks to be able to do this well.

The other P is process.

We have been the recent recipients of a Huckleberry’s grant that has enabled us to purchase the electronic equipment you see here today.

I believe it can be used in all sorts of ways, including transforming how we run our Committee Meetings (which we will be experimenting with when we next meet).

But there are other ways we can work smarter also, particularly by making better use of the internet and our web-site for both communicating with members, and having Committee Members utilizing working documents through secure access to restricted parts of our site.

So in conclusion, I see my role as president as one of balancing the 3 Ps; namely:-

  • harnessing our shared passion and collective skill set within the Committee (the people factor) through
  • having good systems (the process factor) to
  • implement our strategy (purpose)

and thereby be effective Advocates for the Tongariro River.

I look forward to your ongoing support. Thank you.


Stuart Crosbie

4th April 2010