Pétanque Wellington - Where to from here?

In December last year, Toby Robson from The Dominion Post wrote an article on a recent Bowls Wellington report on the health of Bowling Clubs in Wellington City.

Note: This report is no longer online.

Culling the number of clubs from 19 to nine, cashing in on the business-house craze and overhauling outdated governance practices are among the recommendations of a report on the health of Wellington bowling clubs.

Commissioned by Bowls Wellington and Wellington City Council, the 80-page report by consultancy company Driving Forces highlights ageing and falling memberships and urges clubs to take action now or face a bleak future.

"This report firmly believes the failure to address many of the issues is because of the failure of their governing bodies to think ahead," the report says.

"Until this changes and bowls clubs' governing bodies start acting like modern 21st century sports organisations the sport will not progress."

Not one of the 19 clubs in the Wellington area had a strategic plan and only one had a business plan.

"The clubs spend too much time on minutiae and matters that have happened in the past," the report's author, former Sports Foundation boss Chris Ineson wrote.

The $20,000 report was paid for by the council and includes a second instalment on the 14 bowling clubs in the Hutt Valley. It was not yet clear whether Porirua's five clubs would be surveyed.

Further, in a recent Sunday Star-Times arcticle, Bowls NZ CEO Kerry Clark is reported to have said that the 390 Bowling Clubs nationally are too many.

What relevance does this report have to Pétanque you might be wondering?

The most obvious one is that a slight majority of the WPA member clubs are associated with Bowling clubs (Hataitai, Khandallah, Manawatu, Masterton, Otaki, Park Avenue and Silverstream). So at a fundamental level, we have an interest in how the Bowls community is addressing the future direction of their sport.

We also need to look at how we are managing our own sport. At the national level, Pétanque New Zealand has decided that the Regional governance model introduced in 2004 is not working and will switch to a Board structure in April 2009 (see the PNZ website for details of the change - not archived). But what of the WPA?

Functions of the WPA

At a Constitutional level the WPA has as its Objects:

3.1. To foster the game of Pétanque in the Wellington Region.
3.2. To arrange and supervise Regional competitions.
3.3. To co-ordinate coaching support for the development of members.
3.4. To promote participation in and support for National events.
3.5. To support the New Zealand Pétanque Association in its attaining of its objectives within the Wellington Region.

Arguably, the WPA has concentrated on only three of its Objects, namely 3.2, 3.4 and 3.5. Sporadic attempts have been made to develop coaching in the region, but this now appears to have been taken out of our hands with the introduction of the PNZ Representation and Coaching framework (not archived).

We now have a plethora of WPA sponsored events:

We encourage participation in National events by hosting one National championship each year.

We have primarily supported the New Zealand Pétanque Association by providing funds for its activities and by association, rather than design, providing staff to run the organisation.

Under the old structure, the WPA was involved in the governance model of PNZ. That requirement has now gone, which leaves the WPA to look after its own affairs. The question is: what should these be?

What is the role of the WPA?

Before we do anything else, we really need to decide: what is the purpose of the WPA?

Do we want the WPA to:

Perhaps it is time to get all interested parties together and thrash out just what we want the WPA to do or be.

Send your comments to me. Interesting responses will be published.

Michael Rocks
12 January 2009

Useful Links

For further Reading

Managing Sport Organizations, by Rubén Acosta Hernández, Human Kinetics 2002, ISBN: 0-7360-3826-4