Chief Executive’s Report
The NZMCA’s recent 63rd National Rally in Gisborne was a ‘blast from the past’ in more ways than one.
First off, of course, it was a return to the ‘birthplace’ of our Association – Gisborne, where our founders Andy & Gladys Anderson kicked this whole thing off. And the local Area did them proud, running a laidback weekend of fun.
Secondly, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis – who had been invited to officially open the event – surprised most of us by revealing a personal family connection to the Association. Turns out his grandparents, Ron and Beryl Clow had played a big part in our formative years – serving as Vice-President and Secretary way back when.
The Minister knew something of their involvement but I don’t think even he realised that their contribution was significant enough for the couple to become just the fourth NZMCA Life Members.
All that however was topped by one of the proudest moments in our history – the spectacular unveiling of the NZMCA’s #1 motorhome.
Originally owned by the Andersons, the 1928 REO Speedwagon was literally a chassis on wheels when the Eastland Area volunteered to step up and refurbish it. Two and a half years (and many, many man-hours of work) later the results of their efforts were greeted with a standing ovation by attendees at the National Rally opening.
The project was a prime example of the amazing volunteer culture that runs deep through this club.
That culture has been long recognised by the Board as one of our greatest assets – especially in today’s world where many organisations are struggling to retain volunteers, we are blessed to have members putting their hands up to help in all sectors of the club.
Our CSC Officers, our Park Custodians, our Area and SIG Committees, our technical advisors, rally organisers, even our Board itself are all volunteers, selflessly giving up hours of their time for the greater good.
That culture has been at the heart of the NZMCA from our earliest days.
But having said that, the leadership team also understands the volunteer culture is not something that can be taken for granted; so we’re planning to focus our attention on how we can maintain and further develop it for the continued benefit of current and future generations of members.
That’s about ensuring we recognise the volunteers’ input and seek fresh ways to ensure the culture continues to be relevant to future members as they follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before.
It’s one of the items on the agenda for our meetings with our UK counterparts, when we visit them next month. Established more than 50 years before us, they are world leaders in our field and we are very keen to learn from their experiences for the benefit of all our members.
CampSaver scheme launched
I’d also like to direct your attention to the launch of our new CampSaver scheme.
The catalyst for the scheme came from 2018’s comprehensive membership survey which showed us that while the majority of members stay in campgrounds occasionally throughout the year, an overwhelming 85 per cent of them would stay more often if a reduced off-season rate was offered.
As a result, we have contacted independent campgrounds around the country inviting them to increase their off-season occupancy rates by participating in CampSaver – offering NZMCA members the exclusive opportunity to stay off-season (from March 1 to November 30) at the great-value rate of just $20 per couple per night.
We’re launching the scheme with some 25 campgrounds involved and – just as we have already experienced with the Motorhome Friendly towns scheme and the Events Calendar – our goal is to grow the number of participants significantly in future years.
Just as we did with those other highly-successful schemes, the key to doing that is to make CampSaver such a success that other operators will be queueing up to participate too.
To put it bluntly – that’s down to you. If you like the idea of a nationwide network of independent commercial campgrounds offering their facilities at great-value, off-season rates, we’ve got to give the initial CampSaver campgrounds their best off-season ever.
So, I’d encourage all members to take a good look at the CampSaver articles in this issue and make sure you include the participating campgrounds in your holiday plans between now and the end of November. We’ve created a great opportunity here – let’s make the most of it!