Softball NZ Annual Conference was held over a span of two days, from Saturday 29 April to Sunday 30 April .

The event took place at the prestigious Wharewaka Function Centre in Wellington.

The conference serves as an essential platform for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and networking within the softball community. 

The conference attracted a strong turnout, with leaders and representatives from various Associations across the country in attendance.

To ensure a comprehensive and engaging experience an identified panel designed the conference program. 

The conference was opened at 10:30am with a karakia from the Softball NZ Pou Tikanga Duncan Enoka.
Softball NZ President Lynda O’Cain then officially welcomed members on behalf of the Board and then outlined the agenda of Day 1.

The following provides a brief overview of the presentations covered at the conference. 



The Future Culture of our Sport – Presented by Debbie Francis
In an effort to foster a thriving future for our sport, the Softball NZ Board is examining the culture of the Board itself, the organisation, and the sport as a whole. The aim is to cultivate a positive and inclusive environment that enhances the brand of our sport.

Debbie Francis spoke to the importance of culture and the need for significant shifts were highlighted with the following key points made. 

  • It’s our shared identity, our learned ways of being, behaving, believing and feeling. 
  • Culture matters to the brand of our sport.

We heard from members and their wonderful memories and experiences of the sport, and, some memories and experiences that weren’t so good! 

Debbie left us with Three Questions:

  1. What after thinking about this today, are you most worried about? 
  2. What are you most positive about? 
  3. If the Board and management of Softball NZ did one thing to improve culture of the sport, what should that one thing be? 

National Tournaments - Presented by Lyn Lockhart

Lyn Lockhart facilitated a ‘think tank’, an engaging workshop allowing members to share their valuable insights and perspectives towards advancing our national events.

Members were asked to collect 12 ideas from the 3 following questions to support the second national tournaments workshop shaping outcomes: 

  • What are the elephants in the room?
  • Ideas that might be out of the box or a bit left field?
  • What could be improved?

The groups discussed the priorities and considered their impacts on shaping outcomes for the future.

Potential of a National League - Presented by Cheryl Kemp 

Cheryl Kemp presented a plan for the revival of the National Softball League (NSL). The proposal aims to replace the National Fastpitch Championship, spreading the competition across three weekends in February.

The key aspect of the concept is the inclusion of all Associations, which can participate either through a proposed Heartland event or by joining the NSL. In the Heartland event, 17 Associations would battle it out over a span of 3-4 days in early February. The winner of this event would earn the right to compete in Promotion/Relegation matches and potentially enter the NSL in the following season.

The NSL itself would provide a performance environment for both male and female teams. Separate venues would be designated for each gender, ensuring equal opportunities and quality competition.

Governance topics including Incorporated Societies Act – Presented by Lyn Lockhart 

Lyn Lockhart took the podium once again to present on important aspects to consider regarding good governance and constitutions.

Lyn stressed that it is essential to understand that policies should not be included within a constitution. Constitutions should focus on the fundamental principles and rules that govern an organisation, while policies can be created separately to address specific operational matters.

New legislation pertaining to general business conducted during Annual General Meetings was covered along with Board composition now bring clearly specified and defined. 

In her presentation, Lyn provided a comprehensive overview of important aspects related to Incorporated Societies. Moving on, Lyn delved into the requirements set forth by the new act and lastly, discussed the responsibilities and obligations of office bearers within an Incorporated Society. 


DAY 2 

Strengthen & Adapt – Presented by Tracey Diack 

Tracey provided an overview to members of work undertaken to develop the Strengthen & Adapt plan submitted to Sport NZ. 

The purpose of the programme was to build the capacity, capability and resilience of investment partner organisations and their delivery networks, so that they are best positioned to meet the needs of participants and athletes in the future.

In her presentation Tracey covered off the Scope, Expectations and Resources for the project.

Balance is Better – Presented by Alex Chiet (photo above) and Dr Lara Andrews 

The purpose of the presentation was to provide membership clarity and a greater understanding of the Balance is Better principles and what it means for softball.

Both Alex and Lara presented on the need for softball to support quality sport experiences for our rangatahi with the aim of helping young people staying involved in sport for life.

The presentation was well received with Softball NZ now exploring the next steps in the delivery of BiB at regional level. 

Click here for further info on BiB


Rebecca Annan presented a session on potential membership changes within the Constitution. The conversation revolved around the wording in the member section of the current constitution 5.1. 

Closing Address

The Softball NZ Chair Hoani Lambert provided a closing address including 3 key areas to be addressed over the next 12 months.

  1. Shaping our future and aligning our culture
  2. Creating an aligned high-performance system and pathway
  3. The delivery model of Softball New Zealand  

Softball NZ would like to express our gratitude to all those who played a part in making this year's conference a success. We would especially like to thank Lyn Lockhart for her invaluable contributions, including delivering multiple presentations and hosting the Annual Awards on the Saturday night.

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