Skip to main content

Annual General Meetings

Pōneke Watersports Club President’s Report

3 June 2024

Kia Koutou,

It feels like this year has flown by, but it also feels like it has been a long road since the last AGM!  But I’m proud to give you my first President’s report.

I’d firstly like to say THANK YOU!  Nothing we have done in the last year or that I’ll talk about here is possible without volunteers.  Thank you to the sweeps and coaches who give us all their time, knowledge, experience and  energy to help make us all better paddlers and enjoy our time on the water.  Especially when most of them coach other teams and have their own paddling careers.  Also a major thanks and ‘cheers friends’ to my fellow committee members.  Each of these individuals brings smarts, curiosity, passion and energy to their roles in fundraising, health and safety, finances, social media and constitutional matters among many.  I personally appreciate everything this group brings both as a collective and as some pretty awesome individuals.  I know (and have heard) club members’ appreciation many times this season.  So if you’re sitting near a committee member, coach or sweep please give them a wee apt on the back.

I’d also like to extend a special thanks to David Price who is stepping down from the committee, he has been an exemplar of good spirit and leadership with Kākāriki and we are thankful to still have him in this role.

Two years ago we decided to rebrand VDC to Pōneke Watersports, and the last 12 months has seen continual growth from this.  We’ve had a push this year to invest in infrastructure:

  • We’ve got some professional new merch!  We are really proud of these.  Thanks to the Sprig & Fern Berhampore for sponsoring these and Hutt Mana Trust for grant funding.
  • We have a new set of life jackets, hopefully meaning less rummaging around on race days!  Thanks to TAB for grant funding that covered most of the cost of these.
  • We have a new set of Pōneke Watersports branded adjustable Hornet paddles.  They literally arrived yesterday!  Thanks to Pub Charity for grant funding that covered the cost of these.
We’ve also had a great year at Regatta’s!
  • First up we attended CRDBA Regionals in Oct 2023, with the most Pōneke Watersports members I’ve ever seen at the event!
  • Just a few weeks later we attended our first ever Hamilton Super 12 event, which was a blast!  We took 3 teams, with the women pulling double duty.  2 teams made the grand final, and 1 team placed in the minor final!  For me the most special part of this trip was the team bonding and support.
    Note:  Both of these regattas are open to all paddlers!  So get to winter training!
  • Next up was Harbour Fun Day and the Wellington Dragon Boat Festival.  For the first time ever we had to waitlist paddlers, with the quickest sign up rate I’ve ever seen and what ended up totalling 104 members.  Both events saw some pretty big water!  And the WDBF some pretty big competition.  Congratulations to Heat for Silver Medals, Force for a first place plaque, Kākariki for Silvers in the Social Grand Final, and Silver Dragons and Ika Moana for 4ths in their Grand Finals.  A special mention to the fact that Ika Moana were pipped by less than a second in a final where 1, 2 and 3 went to some of the biggest teams in NZ, competing in a final that had teams from 5 regions across the country.
  • And most recently was NZDBA Nationals.  We haven’t been since 2021 and 2024 was only our third appearance and first as Pōneke Watersports.  There was some tight racing and really respectable placings from us, I won’t list all the results but of particular note are the 500m finals.  The Women’s B Final we were 2nd, with .4 of a second between Can2, us and Wairarapa – all CRDBA Teams!  The Open Small boat made the Grand Final!  A first for our club at this level of paddling.  And the Mixed Standard Boat B Final,. where a hard ‘up’ call saw us surge through the pack to come 4/100ths of a second from first place.  (And the live stream froze and missed it!)

The Committee, coaches and sweeps all keep working to continue to grow the club and give us all wonderful paddling experiences.  We expect to need more coaches and more sweeps in the coming seasons, so if this interests you let us know!  There’ll also be some call outs coming up from CRDBA, in particular for event organisation support, if you think your skills are more admin based.  The 2024 season has been one of growth, one of putting in the work and really starting to see those efforts on and off the water pay off.  I encourage you all to keep putting in that work, as paddlers and as volunteers because if we do I’m pretty confident 2024/25 will be even better!

Kathryn Park | President/Chair

2024 AGM minutes
Group photo of PWS Kākāriki team

Valley Dragonboat Club President’s Report:
Name change to Pōneke Watersports

14 May 2022

I do write this every year but what a ride the past 12 months have been. We have had to endure another lockdown, our festival trainings got throw in the air when the regular times didn’t coincide with social distancing and our beloved Nationals 2022, that’s the crew had been training since October got cancelled.

At the start of the season we had some changes to a few of our teams. Our newest team, VDC TBC had some fresh faces coaching and managing the crew. We welcomed Liv as the TBC manager who took it in her stride to wrangle a team of 20 new and familiar faces. Only three paddlers from the previous season in TBC returned this year however we did have paddlers move across from our women’s teams, VDC Heat and Force who wanted to jazz things up and move into a mixed team this season. Joe Sione, a familiar face within the club was new to our coaching committee this season for TBC. He brought the team to winning bronze in the open final for the second year in a row as well as coaching our mixed crew for Nationals 2022. New to TBC this season too was Amanda as their sweep. Amanda not only swept for both TBC and HEAT, she had corporate teams too that she was also jumping between for trainings and race days.

Ewen McDonald joined our club from sunny Australia. With many years of experience behind his belt he took on the challenge of coaching our master’s team for both Nationals and Festival. I say this was a challenge as the team previously had about 4-5 coaches within the boat so I commend him for bringing some structure. He too also coached outside of the club with corporate teams.

Green Machine started the season with 24 paddlers and come race day they were the only team to have a full team and not need subs on the day

The highlight for this season would have to be our fabulous wahine who took out GOLD in both the women’s A and B finals. VDC Heat with a time of 1.25.48 beating the Wairarapa Dragonboat club by .52 of a second to claim GOLD once again for 2022. However the highlight of the festival would have had to be the Womens B Final where our very own VDC FORCE took out gold and beating CanSurvive with a time of 1.29.50 – winning by .21 of a second

Some key achievements and highlights for the 2021/2022 season:

  • 93 affiliated members for 2021/2022 season
  • Five VDC Teams competed in the Wellington Dragon boat Festival. Three medals won. Heat = GOLD in Women’s A Final. Force = GOLD in Women’s B Final. TBC = BRONZE in Open Final
  • Festival Final Race times:
    • VDC TBC – 1.19.27
    • VDC Silver Dragons – 1.22.67
    • VDC HEAT – 1.25.48
    • VDC Green Machine – 1.26.00
    • VDC Force – 1.29.50
  • A donation received to the club that allowed us to purchase a brand new set of paddles and life jackets. (Getting some smaller life jackets for the females in the club)
  • VDC Paddlers competing and working closely with other teams within the RSO
  • Working continuously with Wellington Dragonboat Festival to drive and increase numbers in the sport locally
  • Paddlers selected for regional rep teams for Nationals 2022
  • 2022 Nationals squad formed with three teams – unfortunately these teams couldn’t compete due to Nationals being cancelled
  • Got approval to start night time training in the winter months (Underway)
  • All year club training sessions now in full swing along with new fee structure announced
  • Participated in Nationals Virtual Challenge so far winning – Silver in 200m Small Boat Prem open. Bronze in 200m Standard boat Prem mixed and Silver in the Standard Boat Prem Open in the 2km racing
  • New coaches to VDC this season – Joe and Ewen
  • Established a coaching unit for our club so we can align our paddlers
  • Kathryn Park now Vice chair for CRDBA
  • Sam Wilson Treasurer for CRDBA

We have many people within the club that have done fantastic things throughout the season. Steph managing and controlling our festival subscriptions. Kathryn working tirelessly to get Nationals off the ground once again, and the coaching unit who have been working quietly behind the scenes to make all year training happen. Special shout out to Dave Lundon who as resigned from Sponsorship and Fundraising position this year and Erin Webber who has been our Treasurer for the past few years. She wasn’t paddling this season but was still able to keep everything in line from behind the scenes.

Finally, I am excited to continue to help drive and progress the sport, not only in Wellington but in our wider region. We are making some changes this season, big changes that will shape the future of our club for many years to come. Our focus is going to shift away from festival teams as we plan to be more club focused and provide all year training to our members. Our clubs goals have grown and we want to be the best club within our RSO. We want to bring the best teams from around the country to compete in our back yard and we want to take our club and compete at a Nationals level in both New Zealand and around the world. I and the committee can’t do this alone so along this road we need the help and support from our members.

I’ve been the President of our club for the past three years now. Since taking this on I have worked with the committee to try and help grow, develop and change the sport the way we see it today. We have seen the biggest increase in interest as well as members in this sport for some time. We need to adapt and change the way we do things and this year is when we will do it. I want to thank the committee and all club members for their support and effort throughout the season as the success couldn’t have been achieved without any of you.

Great things are coming to Poneke and we are very excited

Rachel Sommerfield (Calvert) | President/Chair

2022 AGM Minutes
Pōneke Watersports

Valley Dragonboat Club President’s Report

8 June 2021
2021 AGM Minutes

Valley Dragonboat Club President’s Report

31 July 2020

Since taking over the Presidency of the club mid last year I felt lucky and humbled to be given this opportunity to help grow and develop this club and sport within Wellington. I want to thank the committee and all club members for their support and effort throughout the season as the success couldn’t have been achieved without them all.

VDC is now in its 11th year and over the years our club has grown and matured into the largest club in Central Region. The backbone of this club was established by some dedicated individuals who are still with us today so I would like to mention Jacob de Feijter, Dave Lundon, John Pouterwa and Trevor Vickers who have always put the clubs interest first and help establish our grounds within Wellington.

VDC’s Executive Committee this season were all new to their roles and gracefully stepped up to the challenge. It’s been a learning curve, but since we have all been involved with the sport for some time and part of the committee it felt like a good fit. I would like to acknowledge Erin Webber and Kathryn Park who have put in a lot of time and effort over the year. Erin has done a fantastic job keep out accounts in check and bringing us into 2020 and Kathryn has not only been the clubs Secretary but also the ‘Chief National’s Squad’ organiser to help us achieve our goals to travel and compete at an elite level.

This season we also developed a more streamlined communication approach in welcoming new members and paddlers within the squad. This was mainly coordinated by Steph Jones who now sits behind the VDC Wellington email address and replies to all new prospects and coordinates with team managers to help form teams for the new season. Adding a dedicated person for this has helped maintain a register and grow the interest, I would like to thank her for this.

At the start of the season we welcomed Georgina Garret into the Team Manager role for VDC HEAT. She joined the club five years earlier and stepped up to this role this season. Georgina has sadly left Wellington and relocated to Australia for work. She has been an asset to the women’s team over the years and I would like to acknowledge her for this. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Kristin Cains for her work on the committee over the years. Kristin has stepped down from the Sponsorship and Fundraising coordinator role to pursue motherhood so I would like to express gratitude and congratulate her during this exciting time.

Some key achievements and highlights for the 2019/2020 season:

  • Highest ever recorded members since VDC had been established. With an extra 14 affiliated members who joined us on race days or trainings.
  • Four (FULL) VDC Teams competed in the Wellington Dragon boat Festival
  • Three medals won, all in grand Finals. Heat = GOLD. Green Machine = SILVER. Force = BRONZE
  • VDC HEAT Sweep, Dave Lundon getting Sweep of the Year at Wellington Dragon boat Festivals Prize giving
  • Good to see VDC teams socialising out of season. Not just a summer social event
  • VDC Paddlers competing Nationally with other teams within the RSO
  • A VDC Waka Ama team established within Hikoikoi. Completed winter training and races. More competitions locked in
  • Moved to online banking and Xero (away with the cheque book!)
  • Created code of conduct and made updates to the current constitution. (Still to be shared with teams and on website)
  • Establishing a new role within the Executive Committee – Health and Safety Officer
  • Continuous updates to our website – Thanks to Brie James
  • Hosted the largest open days pre dragon boat season
  • Paddlers selected for regional rep teams for Nationals
  • 2020 Nationals squad formed with new VDC merchandise

The 2020 season in Wellington was a huge success. There were some highs and lows and plenty of lessons learnt from this season. 75% of our club experienced capsize this year, most for the first time. I am pleased that we are able to appoint a Health and Safety Officer at this AGM to help complete our clubs requirements going forward.

Due to the current world events 2020 has brought it was unfortunate that our season was cut short, especially for the team’s training for Nationals. I know we are all eager to keep pushing, training and get back out on the water ASAP so the current committee will work with CRDBA to get some off season training and plan some open days to keep the interest alive with the sport we all dearly love.

Finally, I am excited to continue to help drive and progress the sport, not only in Wellington but in our wider region. I want our organisation’s goal to collaborate more with teams and clubs within our RSO. To achieve this we require the continued help and support from all our members this upcoming season to assist the committee with your ideas and input.


Rachel Sommerfield (Calvert)

2020 AGM Minutes

Valley Dragonboat Club President’s Report

30 April 2019

Firstly, thank you to the Management Committee and Club Members for your support and effort throughout the season.  It was a great season with many accomplishments.

Some of the highlights from the 2018/19 season:

  • The club successfully expanded to four teams: Silver Dragons, Hutt Valley Heat Green Machine and 4th BwithU.  The Silver Dragons and the Heat grabbed Silver medals at the Wellington Festival.
  • The club competed at Nationals on Lake Karapiro for the first time with a standard boat mixed team and a small boat women’s team. The experience gave everyone involved lessons on what it takes to be competitive at a National level.  
  • The Silver Dragons put together a small boat crew with a couple of extras and competed in Shanghai. It was a great experience and lots of fun. The racing was fun as well, although a bit wayward at times. Also managed to come home with 14 Carbon Fibre paddles direct from the Chinese Factory.

Management Committee Retirees:

  • Thank you to Jacob for his dedication and continuing commitment to Dragon Boating in Wellington, also without him VDC would not exist.
  • Thank you to JP for his Fundraising efforts over the past 9 years, $61k raised at average of $6.8k per year, a valuable contribution. Some memorable events demolishing buildings, cleaning up after the sevens, thank God they left town.
  • Thank you to Kristin for stepping in for the past two years and helping keep the monies flowing, I guarantee the new treasurer will do away with cheques.