Hoe Tonga President’s report 2010/11

This is my second report as President of Hoe Tonga. Key achievements during 2010/11 include the following:

  • further expansion of our race resources, this will make running races for clubs easier
  • updating our operating guidance and financial reporting procedures, this will help future transitions between executive officers and may improve the quality of races, it can also be used by clubs to help run their affairs
  • progress towards better coordination of Waka Ama in secondary schools in the region, this will help grow Waka Ama in schools
  • the initial development of a regional asset inventory, this will help us understand what resources are actually available and needed in the region

I would like to thank all paddlers, volunteers, supporters, Hoe Tonga executive and committee members for their work during this last year.

Strategic plan

The key objective of Hoe Tonga’s strategic plan is the growth and development of waka ama in the region. Implementation of the plan is well under way, see Annex 1 for a brief status report.

However, much work remains to be done and progress is relatively slow. As with many things, many hands make little work and I invite paddlers and supporters to assist in any way they can. For instance, work in the future will need to focus on key challenges such as

  • further expansion of revenue sources to expand on the services Hoe Tonga can offer
  • continued work on the coordination and development of Waka Ama in secondary schools in the region, including making sure that it will benefit the region and clubs
  • an investigation into the establishment of a semi-permanent sprint race course lane system as the one we currently use is rapidly approaching its end-of-life


The quality of races has continued to improve last year. Hoe Tonga continues to use surveys following the races it organises, including the regional sprint races held in December each year. Surveys are a good tool to help us get a better understanding of paddlers’ views of the quality of the events we run. Compared to 2009/10, feedback has been more positive. This indicates that the quality of races is improving but there is still room for improvement.

The number of races has also increased further. The region organises and runs three regular regional championships (W1, W6 and secondary schools). There are also other events, including the Mana Island Challenge, the Evans Bay Race, the Matariki Marathon, and the Mana Ocean Challenge, and the W1 Harbour Series. This means that paddlers can get on the water and compete at least once a month in the Hoe Tonga region.

While the region is still lacking a major event that draws in the top teams from the North, NKOA is reviewing its race calendar so there may be an opportunity in 2011/12 to change that. But in the end it comes down to paddlers and volunteers putting their hands up to get involved in race organisation.


Hoe Tonga’s finances are in healthy state (click to access the accounts). With regard to financial reporting and management, Hoe Tonga is transitioning into the online age. All our accounts are now on xero.com which makes them more visible to executive members. This also simplifies financial reporting.

Notwithstanding the above achievements, Hoe Tonga’s income is still very limited (i.e. affiliation and race fees). This in turn limits our ability to fulfil our aspirations, and cater for growth and an expanded range of services.

While an increase in the club affiliation fees will go some way in addressing this issue, it will by no means be a long term solution. More work is required to tap into currently unused funding sources such as sponsors or community funding organisations, to establish a more sustainable revenue stream.


It is fair to say that in the past NKOA, the body representing waka ama at the national level, has been seen as a rather distant entity by some paddlers.

However, many will be aware of a number of developments at the national level, under the leadership of Lara Collins, that have started to take shape over the last year. This includes structural changes (toward a board structure with full-time staff) but it also includes initiatives that will appear more relevant to paddlers, including work to develop coaching certification and policies on sanctioning of races to ensure minimum quality standards.

I am certain that this will increase the ‘visibility’ of our national body to paddlers, and importantly, it will assist us in achieving our goals at the regional level.
Jörn Scherzer
Hoe Tonga Pacifica Waka Ama Association

Annex 1: Strategic plan 2009-14: status of strategic initiatives as at June 2011

Initiatives Status
Review the role descriptions of office holders completed (2009)
Review the constitution to ensure the strategic plan and any potential governance and management changes are reflected completed (2009)
Review and improve the Hoe Tonga website and develop it into the main communication tool with paddlers to inform, educate and promote completed (2009)
Review and complete Hoe Tonga race resources to facilitate effective event management completed (2011)
Establish a media library of best practice policies and practices completed, via website
Develop and update best practice information and guidelines for running events completed, via Hoe Tonga Manual
Develop (and regularly update) a regional calendar of key events being done regularly
Audited accounts are produced at the end of each financial year being done annually
Any annual survey for Hoe Tonga members will include a question that measures their confidence as a member of a bicultural and multi-ethnic waka ama community being done annually
Conduct an annual survey of club membership done annually
Review Hoe Tonga membership and race fees to ensure financial viability completed (2011)
Development of a realistic financial plan that enables the establishment of a sustainable, diverse and secure funding base for Hoe Tonga partially completed
Review best practice policies and practices on health and safety, the use of HT resources, funding, event organisation and club and membership management partially done via Hoe Tonga Manual and website
Further develop and strengthen Waka Ama in secondary schools by developing a plan and coordinating action under way
Develop marketing material to promote Hoe Tonga to paddlers and stakeholders partially done via website
Develop a Hoe Tonga asset register / Establish (and keep up-to-date) an inventory of all Hoe Tonga and club equipment and resource needs, and develop a maintenance and replacement programme (covering those clubs or sub-areas that wish to participate) regional asset inventory mostly completed, but needs further work
Identify current / potential coaches in clubs may be achieved as part of NKOA initiative to develop coaching certification
Facilitate workshops to train qualified coaches may be achieved as part of NKOA initiative to develop coaching certification, this will create a clearer pathway
Develop processes and pathways that lead to qualified coaches may be achieved as part of NKOA initiative to develop coaching certification, this will create a clearer pathway
Develop a regional coaching training initiative and coaching network may be achieved as part of NKOA initiative to develop coaching certification, this will create a clearer pathway
Undertake a biannual survey to measure stakeholder engagement not yet started
Review the governance structure of Hoe Tonga and ensure the organisation’s structure is based on best practice not yet started
Make best practice coaching information available via a media library for various levels, from beginners to experts not yet started
Investigate the establishment of a semi-permanent sprint race course lane system at Onepoto not yet started
Investigate how clubs and sub-areas can be best supported with regard to fundraising not yet started
Have at least one signature event in the region not yet started
Develop a Volunteers Strategy and undertake a programme of workshops to up-skill volunteers and improve event management not yet started
Develop a volunteer database to facilitate the running of regional events not yet started
Develop a stakeholder management plan detailing who we need to build relationships with and what actions we will take to strengthen our relationships (e.g. secondary schools) not yet started
Develop a database identifying funding resources in sub-areas as sub-areas have funding opportunities that cater for building initiatives within those communities not yet started
Create regular rapport with a range of media stakeholders to build the profile, exposure and visibility of Waka Ama in the region not yet started