President's Report 2003

The past twelve months has been another busy year for pétanque in the Wellington region. The year was also a mixture of sadness and success. Sadness came with the deaths of Peter Berrill, Ken Doyle, Georgina Morta and Daphne Hendrie. All made a contribution to pétanque both with their respective clubs and to the Wellington region. Success came first with six Wellington players (Barbara Johnston, Claire Wilson, Michael & Liz Rocks, Neil & Gordon Dykes) qualifying for the New Zealand team to go to the 2002 Oceania Championships in New Caledonia, followed by Gordon winning the 2002 Peugeot National Singles Championships. The highlight of course was Barbara winning the 2002 Oceania Women's Singles title at the Oceania Championships.


Park Avenue applied for and was allocated the 2002 Peugeot National Singles Championships. Although the first day was played at Park Avenue, overnight rain forced the second day to be played at Kapiti. I would like to thank Park Avenue for the work they put into hosting the championships and for Kapiti in agreeing to allow their facilities to be used to complete the championships.

The Jacques Cochonnet Challenge rolls on. Masterton seems to have a stranglehold on the trophy and one has to admire their ability to beat off every challenge. I believe that until a challenging club takes a more planned approach to their challenge Masterton look set to hold the trophy for sometime. In fact I will go so far as to predict that this time next year Masterton will still hold the trophy.

Last years WPA Women's Singles Championship proved to be very popular. The event attracted 32 entries with at least a third being newcomers to tournament play. I know there are mixed opinions about holding events like this but if they offer an opportunity for new players to participate in tournament play then this has to be good for the competitive side of pétanque.

The WPA Championships and the winter singles, doubles and triples all attracted record entries. However the Champion of Champions has to yet to attract the support it deserves but I still believe it is worth persevering with and hopefully it might encourage clubs who don't have own their championships to do so.


This is one area in which the WPA has yet to come to grips with. Although some clubs have organised their own coaching there is no overall regional coach plan. During the year two training days were held, one organised by the Khandallah Club and the other by the WPA. Both days proved to be very popular. As part its proposed coaching structure PNZ recently sent three people, Bernadette Lawton, Ron Sandilands and Clive Bartleet to a coaching seminar in Australia. The results of this seminar will be seen this year with the development of a national and regional coaching structure. Once this is in place our regional coaching and training should move forward in a more structured format.

Club Membership

Like all sports pétanque has great difficulty in persuading people to join clubs. Some clubs, like Kapiti, have no problem in attracting new members while others struggle to maintain their existing numbers. Although regional associations like the WPA meet the needs of the competitive players it is the clubs which provide and meet the needs of the social players. It may mean that in the near future some clubs will need to consider amalgamation in order to survive. In the future fewer clubs may make for a stronger pétanque scene. The former Hillary Commission issued a report a couple of years ago which concluded that work commitments and lifestyle changes were two of the main reasons why people were not joining clubs. What this may mean is that a new structure will need to be developed to ensure sports organisations continue to survive and grow. For example, Touch Rugby seems to have developed a structure to enable all their social grade players to play without belonging to a club but still come under the control of a regional or national association.

Future directions for the WPA

The WPA was set up at the same time as most clubs were being formed and pétanque was being established in the Wellington region This to some extent gave the WPA a purpose and some focus. However the committee meetings now seem to be meetings for the sake of having meetings. Always the first indication that an organisation has lost direction. In my opinion a majority of the time at the meetings seem to be taken up with discussions on trivial matters (and in some cases not about pétanque) and any new ideas and decisions seem to be stalled by the committee process.

The following are my proposals to bring back some purpose and focus to the WPA committee:

  1. The full committee (one representative from each club) should only meet 2 or 3 times a year. The role of the full committee should be one of governance ie. for setting policies. For example the committee should decide what tournaments the WPA should hold per year, set the entry fees, what coaching is required and so on
  2. An executive of 3 or 4 people should be set up to carry out those policies. In other words they would carry the day to day work and report to the committee as required. It would also be possible for individuals to be made responsible for specific tasks. For example someone could be responsible for the WPA Calendar and ensuring it was up to date etc.

The other thing I would like to comment on is the WPA website. Websites are a very valuable tool for communicating. However from time to time they need to be revamped and refreshed. I believe the WPA website is in need of such a revamp. However we are in a rather strange position. The WPA pays the bill but has no control over what goes on the website. I appreciate that Peter Ball has done a good job but sometimes I wonder whether it is a WPA website or general pétanque website. The Christchurch Pétanque Club has recently revamped their website. They used a professional web design company and the result I have to say is outstanding. I would like to see the WPA website redesigned and the WPA draw up guidelines as to what should be on the website.

Finally I would like to thank Louise for doing the secretarial duties, Neil for looking after finances and the club representatives for attending the committee meetings. I would also like to thank the clubs who allowed their facilities to be used for various WPA events and to everybody who assisted with those events.

Brian Smith
President 2002 - 2003