CURRENT BOARD OF MANAGEMENT
Steve Monk - Joined 2020
I started paddling in 1993 with the ‘Tasman’ team and in my first year, trialled for the NZ Mens crew to compete at the 1995 IDBF 1st World Championship, Ye Yang. China. After a 2 year campaign of hard training, I was selected to the team. New Zealand ended up 3rd on the points table. 1st China - 149, 2nd Canada - 73, 3rd New Zealand – 61, 4th Germany – 60.
Over the years I’ve paddled for several teams and have been with my current Team, HCW, for 15 years.
I have also completed in a few IDBF World and Club Championship events and have many medals to show for it. A World Championship Gold medal is missing from my trophy collection and a reason to keep paddling at a high level.
I have also supported the sport by assisting in venue setup for NZ Dragon Boating events, coaching assistance for local Dragon Boating teams and organising a team for interested individuals to do the Chinese Dragonboat Festival.
I am passionate about Dragon Boating and hope my experience can be useful to give back to a sport that has given me so much.
Brooke Hargreaves - Joined 2018
The women’s division in NZ was brand new and it was the start of 2012 that Brooke found a contact for the Tauranga women’s team and was able to give-it-a-go.
Brooke has been a member of the BOPDBC (Bay of Plenty Dragon Boat Club) since 2012 and has sat on the Club and team committees for most of this time. She has seen slow growth from two teams to now four. She has a passion to see the BOP Club, and the sport of Dragon Boating grow further. In 2020, she was part of forming the Eastern Region Dragon Boat Association, and became the President of the BOPDBC, leading the Club to take home 9 golds, a silver and a bronze at Nationals 2021, and for the first time a gold and a silver for the Eastern Region representative teams.
Brooke joined the board in 2018 taking over the role of Secretary, also working closely with Meri on the merchandise side of things and is a jack of all trades that makes her an asset to the Board. Brooke also sits on the Nationals Organising Committee alongside Andrew Watson, Peter Mitchell, Jane Fletcher & Deb Stevenson, and was also selected to be a part of the IBCPC Participatory Dragon Boat Festival Committee to bring the event to NZ in 2023.
Brooke is focusing on growing the sport in NZ with the ultimate the goal of sustainability, her initial focus was on her Club but Brooke would love to use her experience, the learning’s she has gained and help other teams, Clubs and RSOs. Dragon boating is her passion and she would love to see more local communities get involved in the sport.
Janice Melville - Joined 2021
Janice started paddling with Abreast of Life (ABOL) in 2000, the year after the team started. Her paddling and sweeping experiences have included, Abreast In A Boat Ten Years Celebration, Vancouver 2005, joining with CanSurvive from Wellington to participate in Abreast in Australia, Queensland 2007 and the IBCPC Festival in Florance 2018. She has been to the World Club Crew Championship in Adelaide 2016 and Szeged in 2018, was part of the NZ Black Dragons Senior B squad at the IDBF World Nations in Thailand in 2019.
She was involved with the Aoraki Dragon Boat Association from 2008 to 2018 and has been a member of the ABOL board on and off for the past 20 years. She is also currently on the IBCPC Steering Committee.
Janice has met so many wonderful people through this sport and enjoys catching up with old friends at national and world regattas.
Ricky Greaves - Joined 2020
Ko Mauao te maunga,
Ko Tauranga Moana te moana,
Ko nga moutere e toru o Matakana, Rangiwaea me Motuhoa oku kainga.
Ko Ngai Te Rangi te iwi. Ko Ngai Tuwhiwhia te hapu.
Ko Ricky Greaves toku ingoa
No reira tena koutou katoa.
I have been involved in the sport and community of Dragonboating for over 11 years now and I have a real love and passion for it. It is a wonderful team sport but at its heart is a wonderful community of passionate, energetic people. I am keen therefore to work within the NZDBA to continue to grow our sport, to support our community and to realise our potential as a nation in this sport.
My home club is the Lion Dragonboat Club which hails from Auckland and I am the President of the club itself which is an incorporated society. I am also the captain of their Premier Mixed crew and I am one of club coaches recently working with some of our club members to mentor them into coaching and leading our development crew named Tsunami.
Outside of my home club I have coached the Hauraki Blues Womens Dragonboat team for the past 6 years and the St Cuthbert’s Secondary School Dragonboat team for the past 4 years.
In 2019 I was selected to be part of the NZ Black Dragons squad which attended the 14th IDBF World Nationals Championships in Thailand. I competed with the Premier Mixed crew of which I was also the assistant coach and the Senior B Open crew, the latter winning a bronze medal in the 500m Small Boat Grand Final. It was one of my proudest moments in sport to be able stand on the world championship’s podium and receive a medal with my NZ team mates for our country and also to perform the newly composed Black Dragons haka for the international competitors who were in attendance.
In terms of my experience in the areas of governance and decision making with our wonderful sport I am currently a member of the Auckland Dragonboat Association Committee and I was also an NZDBA Board Member from 2011 until 2018. From a professional perspective I have been working in the ICT industry for over 30 years and I currently work for energy company Mercury as their ICT Service and Operations Manager.
Thank you and nga mihi kia koutou
Evan Roper - Joined 2017
Born in Christchurch in 1958, I am qualified as an Intensive Care Paramedic and have just completed my 37th year as a full-time employee with St John Ambulance.
My current role is as an Operations Shift Supervisor, working an 8 day rotating roster of 2 day shifts, 2 night shifts then 4 days off.
Like many young Kiwis, I had learnt to sail at an early age. I found that many of the skills I had acquired in sailing were transferable to Dragon boating. Steering a boat, whether it is with a sweep oar or a rudder, requires the same feel and instincts. When my workplace Dragon Boat team (St John Ambulance) were looking for a new sweep, I offered my services. This was back in 1993 and I have been on the back of a Dragon Boat every summer since then. This season will be my 25th. The St John team competed in the corporate division and I enjoyed 11 seasons with this very social team. When the “Trauma Trolls” finally hung up their paddles, I jumped ship and swept for the Corrections department team, “Screws Loose”. This team was a successful corporate team that had won National titles in the past and I swept for 5 seasons for this team before it also called it a day.
The following season, I swept for “CPC” (Canterbury Paddling Club) but when this team also disbanded, I decided it was time to look for a new challenge. I offered my services as a coach to Avonside Girls High School in 2009 as my daughter was a student at this school. Avonside has forged an impressive record in recent years, including winning three gold medals at the 2016 IDBF Club Crew World Championships in Adelaide and nine Gold medals and a Bronze at the last four NZ National Championships.
I believe that the standard of Dragon boating overall in New Zealand is good and we have some crews in some divisions who have consistently performed well in International events. If New Zealand can produce competitors who are amongst the best in the world in Rowing, Canoe Sprint racing and Waka Ama disciplines, then it is not impossible to add Dragon Boating to that list of paddling sports that kiwis are good at. My desire is to do whatever we can to improve both the numbers of people participating in the sport and the ability of those participants. What I bring to the board is 25 years of experience in Dragon Boating and a passion to develop the sport within NZ. My values closely mirror those points described in the NZDBA’s Vision, Purpose and Strategic Plan.
Health & Safety Director + Chair of Nationals Organising Committee
Andrew Watson - Joined 2019
It was a staff wellbeing day at North Shore Hospital that first gleaned Andrew Watson’s attention in 2017. Wanting to try something new, and a fan of being on the water felt like a natural fit. In the season that then began in October 2017, Andrew was a member of the Premium B Mixed team Waitemata Warriors, based in Auckland.
Andrew has been a member of the Auckland Dragon Boating association for the past 2 years, holding the committee position as Safety Officer for the past year; a natural fit for someone with knowledge of Maritime law, passion for the water and a career in the health profession.
During his time as Safety Officer Andrew has undertaken revisions of the Safety Operating Procedures alongside committee members, to reflect current situations and events. He has created Incident Management plans in response to incidences and to ensure clarification of roles as well as expectations. Additionally, Andrew undertook the role of on-water and event safety officer for the 2019 NZDBA nationals at Lake Karapiro.
Andrew has been involved with other organisations in the past in a voluntary role, supporting the development of the club and its members. This was mainly with the Spirit of Adventure Trust, and involved developing a programme to deliver to schools on the benefits of sailing on the Spirit of New Zealand.
Andrew has a commitment to seeing people and teams reach their potential and to grow, which he would like to bring to the NZDBA. He is passionate and wants to see the sport grow and strengthen both nationally and internationally.
Caleb Te Kahu - Joined 2019
Born 1994, Caleb first joined dragon boating under the coaching and guidance of Russell Stocks and John Fox for Shirley boys high school and found success with an already successful crew. From school, he helped reform Ridge Riders and paddled a couple of seasons learning a lot about crew management and really just enjoying paddling. From Ridge an opportunity presented itself with Tu Meke and after a season under the coaching of Peter Mitchell, Caleb was asked to step into the head coaching role at the club. Since he has been with Tu Meke, they have had a fierce on water rivalry against Hamilton City Water Sport and Lion at a National level. Recently the table has turned in Tu Meke’s favour and they have seen a run of success at nationals and they hope for that to continue. Caleb had the pleasure of racing at the 2012 CCWC in Hong Kong for a mixed crew combined of students from Shirley boys and Marian Collage. They formed a mixed crew who took on the world stage against some of the best and walked away with three silvers.
Since leaving school he has been heavily involved in the Aoraki Dragon Boat Association and played a crucial role alongside Alisha Zanetich in putting together the regional representative scheme that is now raced at nationals and which has helped create the pathway for the teams about to go to Thailand and race at the IDBF World Nation Championships.
Whilst dragon boating is extremely special to Caleb he is also lucky enough to paddle for one of the top Waka ama crews in the country and as a paddler, he continues to learn and develop from the best in both sports and give back what he had learnt to Dragon Boating. Travelling to the worlds for waka in 2018 he was able to see the best paddlers in the world paddle circles around his team, this really gave him a perspective about the level that the best is at vs where we are. He continues to push the limits and hopes to one day have a system in New Zealand that will truly represent the best that we have to offer on the world stage.
Special Interests Director
Margot McErlain Munif - Joined 2020
There are easier ways to join a dragon boat team but for Margot it was a diagnosis of breast cancer that gave her the impetus to take up the sport when she joined Wellington’s CanSurvive in 2008. Margot served as Club Secretary for 10 years and is currently Secretary of the Central Region Dragon Boat Association. Dragon boating for breast cancer survivors has grown and evolved so much since Margot signed up, not just in New Zealand, but globally. She’s seen it move from wooden paddles to sleek carbon fibre blades, from star-jumps to ergometers, survivors are fitter and faster. Over the last 12 years Margot has raced locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, she’s paddled for fun, she’s raced to win, her team has been last, it’s been first, she’s been on the boat and *sob* off the boat. What has never changed in all those years, is the attitude, pride and solidarity of every survivor alongside her in every boat, in every team, Margot wants all BC survivors to have the opportunity to share that camaraderie and the thrill of crossing the finish line. Having had the opportunity to participate in IBCPC 2014 Florida and 2018 Florence events, Margot is looking forward to being part of the 2022 IBCPC at Lake Karapiro. In the meantime, CRDBA is working hard to get an NZDBA sanctioned event back on Wellington Harbour so the rest of the NZ dragon boat community can get a taste of the local thrills and spills that Margot experiences on a weekly basis.
Sonya Young (Wellington) has been co-opted to assist Margot in this role.
Chris Stone - Joined 2020
I have participated in dragonboating for over 20 years, I have a love for the sport that has extended almost half my life which I have been able to pass on and enjoy with many friends and my family. My involvement has initially been as a paddler and manager then sweep on the water. As such i have been involved with or paddled with Minter Ellison, Lion, Random Jaffas, Hamilton City Watersports, Airways Paddlateers, White Tigers, Flying Pirates, Auckland Polar Bears and St Marys College over the years in regattas around NZ, Australia Nationals and on the Thames in the UK.
Over the past 12 years my involvement off the water has grown to include; Official (IDBF IRO), Chairman of Auckland Dragon Boat Assn 2013-2018, ADBA Committee member 2010-Current in various roles, Equipment Director and Board Member of NZDBA 2015-2017.
This has seen me involved with the Auckland Championships, the Auckland Anniversary Day regatta, tens of winter regattas, several NZ Nationals, IDBF World Club Crews Hong Kong 2015 and the World Master Games 2017 as in the organizing committee, technical director, official or in a role managing strategic partnerships.
Some of the wins for the sport I have helped with are lifting the safety profile of the sport via contribution to the sweep accreditation program, the adoption of 100% life jackets, promotion and access to modern high performance equipment such as boats and paddles and revenue source for the NZDBA. I was involved in the bid securing Dragon Boating in the World Masters Games 2017 and was involved in the founding of the Oceania Dragonboat Federation. I also have been involved as a selector for the Auckland and New Zealand representative teams. (for Dragonboat & American Football)
I know many paddlers, officials and event organizers around New Zealand and the world and have contacts within the IDBF Executive also.
What I bring to the sport is a solid product management and sports management background, experience in leadership and governance, a strong understanding of the rules of racing and the charitable and society rules.
I bring a balanced view of participation and high performance being the key to successful sports and ensuring there is a vision that is visible and able to be shared with all paddlers and those involved in the sport.
Outside of Dragonboating I have three kids one who has her own collection of DB medals, the other two who are regulars at regattas. I have played soccer and American Football and sports fishing and into lifestyle farming and travel (not currently!) I work for Air New Zealand as a manager in the Digital team.
Why I am proposing to return to the NZDBA Board is to support the great work that has been shown over the past couple of years by a very energetic board. To ensure both grassroots teams and RSOs are considered in the strategic direction of the sport and to help ensure the NZDBA is promoting growth of the sport and has clear standards and expectations to align to an overall vision for the sport through strategic planning.
The role of a board member is a voluntary one which is fueled by a passion for the sport, i will encourage the board to work hard but have fun doing it and at times have active debate but in a professional manner that is never personal and has the best interest of the sport and paddlers at heart. Also ensuring it is a team who can work together in a safe environment and it is an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
I am a firm believer in data, feedback, transparency and inclusion and want to see the sport of dragonboating be the best it can be both here in New Zealand and on the world stage.
I bring experience of both the technical aspects of the sport and the administrative aspects of the sport to help the NZDBA Board be successful in achieving the vision for the sport for the benefit of all paddlers and stakeholders.
Equipment, Merchandise & Trading Director
Meri Gibson of Christchurch, is a member of Abreast of Life (ABOL) dragon boat team. Meri has been a major force in the progress of dragon boat paddling in New Zealand since joining her team in November 2006. Her team was the second breast cancer team to be established in New Zealand in 1999 and Meri has become entrenched in the team and loves the sport.
Meri really enjoys the competitive element of the sport and paddling alongside some great BCS and womens crews. The highlight being the Nationals in 2016 where ABOL took out all 5 GOLD medals in every category they raced. ABOL travels extensivley internationally and has had medal success at IDBF Club Crew World Championships (CCWC) in 2016 and 2018. Meri was also a member of the NZ Black Dragons Senior B Womens team that competed at the 2019 IDBF World Nations Championships in Thailand.
In August 2007 Meri was instrumental in establishing the AORAKI Dragon Boat Association (Aoraki DBA) which is the governing body for the sport in the South Island. She was the founding Chair since inception and was appointed the first Life Member of Aoraki DBA in 2016.
In 2008 Meri became a Board member of the reestablished New Zealand Dragon Boat Association (NZDBA). Since that time she has held the positions of PR and Communications Director, Events Director, Equipment Director and Chair. Meri stepped down from NZDBA at the 2018 AGM, but remained in a transitional role until the 2019 AGM and is currently a co-opted board member. Meri has officiated at every level of the South Island Regional and New Zealand National championships.
In 2009 Meri was a founding member of the Oceania Dragon Boat Federation. This Federation is the governing body for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Oceania is the affiliated body that has voting rights on the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF).
In 2014 at the 4 yearly Congress of the International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission (IBCPC) Meri was elected Vice President and at the 2018 Congress Meri was elected President of IBCPC, the global governing body for breast cancer paddlers. iBCPC has members across 6 continents, 26 countries, with over 6500 paddlers worldwide.
In 2019 at the IDBF World Nations Congress Meri became an Associate Vice President of IDBF.
Meri had been diagnosed and treated for cervical and ovarian cancer in the 1990’s and was diagnosed with highly malignant breast cancer in early 2000. Her daily mantra is to live each day to the maximum, whilst being incredibly grateful for every single moment.
Chair of Race Officials Development Accreditation (RODA)
Noel has paddled since the mid 90's for Airways Corporation's team; firstly in Auckland (Airways “Thunderbirds”) and since 1999 for the Christchurch team, Airways “Paddlateers”. Noel progressed from paddling in the 'engine room' to paddler/ manager of the Paddlateers in 2005, and Coach from 2011. He had coached his sons' rugby and soccer teams, and has been involved in running junior teams at Elmwood Tennis Club in Christchurch for many years, so extending to Dragon Boat coaching was a natural step.
When Mainland Dragons 'retired' in 2007, Noel put his hand up for the role of secretary for the Aoraki Dragon Boat Association, running the role till retiring after 10 years service.
In 2008 Noel joined NZDBA, as Treasurer. From 2009 he has taken the role of 'Boats and Equipment Director' for NZDBA and in October '09 took on the role of NZDBA Secretary. For the last 6 of his ten-year tenure he Chaired NZDBA. Noel has been granted Life Membership of Aoraki and NZDBA.
In 2009, NZDBA joined with AusDBF to form Oceania Dragon Boat Federation, to act as the Continental federation. Noel was deputy to Kel Watt as Oceania President. Since Kel resigned in 2014, Noel has served as President, driving closer paddling relations, especially trans-Tasman.
While still paddling for the Paddlateers mixed team, Noel was asked to coach the Amazon Hearts (Women’s) team, the sister team of Abreast of Life BCS team. He has coached them through summer and winter since 2016.
He has also completed the Stage One course as IDBF Race Official in 2008, and in August 2009 he passed Stage Two IROC course at the IDBF World Champs in Prague. He has spent many days as Water Umpire or Race Starter at IDBF Nations and Club Crew World Champs in Ravena, Adelaide, Szeged and Pattaya, as well as Florence (for the IBCPC Festival).
For Noel, the key to Dragon Boating's appeal is its accessibility. It provides such great value to Corporates that it is attractive to all 'makes and models' of employees. In fact, in Airways there don't seem to be many who have not been in the boat.
The second interesting feature is that many paddlers will say they are in it for the fun, and the social contacts etc. But once they go to "attention" on the start line, you can be sure they all want to win!