National AGM: Committee Reports 2023

National AGM 2023 written reports thread.

Figured I’d get a head start on this.

National Marketing Officer Report

This year has been a pretty quiet year for LARP as we exit from the Covid years and wild weather that disrupted many campaign LARPs from running. Some campaign LARPs did manage to run later in the year as well as several one shots. It is clear from the high turnouts that the demand for more LARPs is high. In addition many of the folks coming to LARPs are new to the hobby showing we have had a lot of growth. These new players are asking where they can find more games and are eagerly awaiting news of new LARPs starting up on the horizon. If you were considering running a LARP now is the time to do it!

Several Marketing opportunities and partnerships were pursued over this past year. Working with the NZ Stage and Screen Combat School we secured free stall space to advertise at the Auckland Easter Show. We also worked with Questbook for free advertising at Auckland Armageddon and RPG Alley to advertise at Wellington Armageddon. We have had some discussion with the costume and props hire company First Scene about some partnership opportunities but nothing concrete yet.

The local energy drink maker, Eliksir, reached out and gifted a box of their drink to LARPers to try. This was brought along to the next LARP that ran, Miasma Theory, and handed out to power the crew throughout the weekend.

Plans for a photoshoot to update our marketing material were stormed off by extreme weather earlier in the year but new plans are in motion for later this year. The plan is to make standing banners and large posters. The problem is that our photos we have on file in addition to being fairly old are too small a resolution to be blown up onto a banner. So we will be taking new high res photos and photoshopping up a set of fresh marketing material that all regions can use.

Looking ahead I’d like to improve lines of communication with GM’s and potential GM’s across the country so we can get them any assistance they need to run games as we need more games! As well as have all the details at hand to best advertise their games so everyone can stay informed on what’s happening in all the regions.

NZLARPS has been through a number of tough years recently. Covid and Covid restrictions (while necessary) have had a widespread dampening effect on Larp across the country. That said, Larp generally has seen a steady uptick in the last 12 months and looking into the upcoming year I anticipate that Larp will increase more generally across the nation. Something I and, I am sure, the rest of you are very much looking forward to.

For the National Committee the last year has been tough. Unlike in previous years there was no continuity of the previous years members who were elected to their roles. Indeed on election night we have a tie between our Secretary candidates - only resolved following the later withdrawal of Lilly and appointment by Resolution of Rowena.

This, combined with issues from Covid, caused significant administrative issues for the National Committee. Whilst most of these issues were finally resolved, we have not resolved these issues fully. I understand and appreciate the frustrations that this has caused with many in the Regional Committees.

The major administrative issues we have faced are:

  1. Bank Account Access: Following the 2022 AGM it transpired that none of the continuing treasurers across NZ (which, for the record, was the Auckland Treasurer) had access or capability to make any payments nor properly access the accounts.
  2. Authorised Signatories: We had great difficulty in getting authorised signatory access transferred to the National Treasurer and President. Our efforts to obtain access were:
    A. Repeated requests to assist from the former Treasurer;
    B. Communicating with the former President who advised he did not, and never had, authorised signatory access;
    C. Repeated visits to the ASB Bank by the Treasurer including collating a Letter signed by the President, copies of the AGM minutes authorising appointments and any other document that proved authority. We learned from those meetings that the ASB did not care about our due process and only cared for authority from the current Authorised Signatories;
    D. Final visit in July 2023 by Treasurer and President who were granted full bank account access following sign-off from one Authorised Signatory we managed to track down. This member was a former National Secretary who had stepped down a couple of years ago.
  3. Loss of Regional Treasurer Access: Following obtaining access and a further discussion and advice from the ASB, the Treasurer and myself set up ASB Classic Fastnet access. We were advised that Business Fastnet was no longer required for Societies and Classic was a good system to use - this, unfortunately, does not serve the regionalisation which we use. On reflection and investigation we have determined that ASB Business Fastnet is the appropriate system and it will need to be a priority of the incoming Treasurer and myself to set this up.
  4. Secretary Email: As noted above, there was a delay in appointing the Secretary. There was also a further delay in obtaining access to the Secretary email account as the former Secretary had changed the recovery email address from the President’s account to their own account. This necessitated teeing up a time when both the Secretary and former Secretary were online and could handle recovery - which took longer than desired.

The Bank Account issues have caused a number of problems, not least that a number of members were unable to be reimbursed. I am pleased to report that we were able to make these payments on behalf of Auckland (roughly $2,000), Wellington (roughly $90) and the South Island committees (roughly $50).

In a more positive tone, I was able to hold a meeting with the Regional Directors, which had been a goal of mine. I would like to hold more regular meetings in the next year. We have also started a base Constitution for the Society, which we intend to build off once we, as a Society, have decided how we want our Society to look in the future.

I would like to thank all my fellow committee members for their hard work this year. We are all volunteers and life can be crazy sometimes, so thank you for the gift of your time, your skills and your knowledge. It is much appreciated. I also extend that thanks to all members of the Regional Committees as well.

And to those who are joining a committee, perhaps for the first time, this year I also thank you for volunteering.

May 2023/2024 be a much better year.

As already outlined by Alastair, the president, this year has had its share of frustrations. Not having direct view access to the bank accounts has meant a delay in processing memberships.The Auckland treasurer was able to get view access for most of the year and was able to pass on the information, and the national president and treasurer now have access and can do the same. This access needs to be a priority in the coming year to enable the secretary to process memberships.

Memberships throughout the country have remained mostly stable. Special acknowledgement of the South Island should be noted however, as in the lead up to their 2022 AGM, they only had 8 members, which is not enough to remain a separate region under the NZLARPS constitution (which requires 15 members for a separate region). They managed to increase their membership to its current size of 22. While the South Island region is still the smallest of all the current regions, it is not far off the others, and such growth is an impressive accomplishment and they should be proud of this achievement.

As of today, the current membership stands at 84 members. Auckland has 35, 2 which are from the Greater Waikato area; Wellington has 27; and the South Island has 22 (11 Christchurch, 4 Dunedin, 7 South Island).

With covid numbers dwindling and restrictions lifted, there has been growing interest in larping, with the Facebook group gaining several new members a week, many who are actively looking for larps. While some of these requests are from regions where we don’t have an active presence, there are many from our active regions as well. It would be great to have more larps to direct these newcomers to, and it can be worth reminding organisers that they don’t need to be an NZLARPS project for us to advertise their games. Our mission is to support all LARP in New Zealand. Personally I would love to see further growth outside of the main cities. I’d love for the Waikato region to be restored, and would love it if the South Island gets big enough that Christchurch and Dunedin can even have their own regions. Those goals might be a few years away, but we should be thinking about the long term, especially in light of the requirement to update our constitution.

While the decisions to be made regarding the constitution are not for discussions tonight, it is something for us to be keeping in mind as the new Incorporated Societies Act is an opportunity for us to shape NZLARPS for the future. For example, we may want to consider whether the regional director for each region should have a place on the National Committee? This could allow the regions to be more connected with each other, however there is the risk of the Committee becoming more unwieldy, especially if additional regions are eventually formed. This is merely one example of the decisions that need to be put forward for the members to discuss and decide before we adopt the provisions of the new Incorporated Societies Act.

We also need to ensure that our policies and processes are clear to all committee members, and that handover is completed both fully and in a timely manner. We currently have some fantastic resources created by previous committee members, but the processes around the sharing of these hasn’t always been followed, as in the bank accounts not having been handed over correctly for several years. It’s important for us all to remember that every committee member is a volunteer, and we never want the burden of volunteering to be too great, so we need to ensure that our systems and documentation are clearer. This is something I have been working on this year, and trust that next year’s committee will continue.