It was fantastic to see so many people out sailing, boating and fishing at the weekend as the country moved into alert level 2.
I watched some of the winter series racing run by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron from shore and it was fabulous to see so many people out enjoying themselves.
I'd like to thank clubs and their members for taking such a responsible attitude during lockdown and now as we kickstart back into action. If we keep doing our job and follow the government guidelines, particularly around social distancing, hygiene and contact tracing, then we hope to see an increase in the size of gatherings when the Prime Minister and cabinet reassess things on May 25.
Yachting New Zealand's offices are now open, although with restrictions on the number of people in the office at any one time.
We are using the idme contact tracing app, which is very easy to use, but it's up to your club to use a contact tracing system that works for you, whether it's digital or paper. Clubs need to appoint one person to manage the system and records need to be kept for a minimum of eight weeks (previous guidance suggested four weeks).
Many clubs are now closed for the winter but others continue to operate and it would be useful to take a look at the recommendations we have put together on how to operate safely at level 2 if you haven't already.
I would also encourage every club to apply for the government's community resilience fund, even if you have reserves, because it's there to help if you need it. Each club can apply for a maximum of $1000.
The Government also announced over the weekend a $264.6m investment into the sport and recreation sector as part of Budget 2020.
Although we don't yet know how this will be delivered, this is the most significant cash injection ever into sport and will impact sports' ability to deliver everything from community sport through to high performance.
This support package will allow us to rethink, to be stronger and more resilient and relevant to our communities and clubs. We should embrace new ideas around systems and technology as well as embrace new and existing opportunities for women and girls, Maori and Pacific populations as well as people with disabilities. We can be more effective and look to have a more relevant impact on a local, regional and national level.
One of the things we have put considerable time into over the past 18 months has been our online learning tools and how we can better deliver programmes to clubs. More and more is coming online and these courses can be done at a time that suits you.
We are also looking to refresh our strategy and will consult with clubs to get feedback to help direct our activities. We're presently working on a nationwide tour in July and August when I'll be joined by a couple of other Yachting New Zealand staff and we'll visit clubs and meet with as many committees as possible around the country to share ideas.
There will be challenges in the coming weeks and months but I'm excited about what lies ahead.
Yachting New Zealand chief executive
- Photo: Live Sail Die