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RNZRSA Modernisation Programme

Why is change needed?

The RNZRSA was established in 1916 to ensure those soldiers returning to New Zealand following the Gallipoli Campaign were able to access support. The original idea was to form "clubs" where soldiers could meet and share experiences, air their grievances and support each other. These clubs would in  turn, be part of a National Association to ensure they did not become isolated and to allow them to speak as one voice when lobbying Government for support. 

Fast forward 108 years to the RNZRSA of today. We now have over 180 Associations around the country, and over 250 volunteer support advisors trained and ready to provide support to New Zealand's veterans of military service and their whānau.

The RNZRSA operates a federated model, meaning each of the Associations is an independent entity in its own right (operating either as a charitable trust or an incorporated society). In becoming part of the RNZRSA, each Association agrees to abide by the RNZRSA's constitution which (amongst a number of things) requires them to deliver remembrance activities and support to veterans in their communities.

The governance model of the RNZRSA has changed many times over its history, and currently consists of a Board of Directors, a Presidents' Forum (elected representatives) and a National Office providing administrative support.

This complicated governance model has left the organisation with blurred lines of communication, a structure that promotes internal conflict and Associations that have become isolated from the support they need to continue operating effectively as part of the RNZRSA. 

The RNZRSA Modernisation Programme seeks to address these issues, and ensure the organisation has clear leadership and governance, and that all member Associations are united in the common purpose of supporting New Zealand's veterans of military service and their whānau.

What is happening with the Modernisation Programme?

A workshop held at the RNZRSA's National Council in 2022 identified the need for change. Since that time a Constitution Working Group has been formed to look at the options available to address the issues that have been identified.

In late February 2024, a second National Council Workshop was held to canvass ideas from Associations on what the future governance model for the RNZRSA should look like. The addresses given by both the Board Chair and the National President, and the questions considered during the workshop are all available for download at the bottom of this page.

The feedback from the Workshop has been collated and analysed in the report titled Re-aligning the RSA: National Council Part 2 Feedback. This report is also available for download at the bottom of this page. This information contained in the report will be incorporated into a Draft Constitution by mid-June 2024. Every member Association of the RNZRSA will be individually consulted on the Draft Constitution.

A new RNZRSA Constitution incorporating the feedback from the formal consultation will be presented for adoption at the 2024 National Council in October. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the programme affect my local RSA?

The Modernisation Programme is focused on the RNZRSA which is the National Body. The programme is about strengthening our relationship with Associations (local RSA's). We recognize the current structure is creating unnecessary conflict and makes communication difficult. 

Is this really about centralising assets and money? 

Absolutely not. There is no intention to try and centralise the assets or money that belong to Associations and no Associations will be forced to close as part of any proposed changes.

If, separately to the change programme, any Association chooses to cease trading, they will be supported to ensure that wherever possible the assets and money that belong to the Association remain available to the veterans in their community.

I've heard the RSA wants to stop operating hospitality venues - is this true?

Absolutely not. There is no intention to stop Associations operating hospitality venues.

What we do need to ensure is that whatever business model Associations choose to operate it is financially viable, resilient and able to support the RNZRSA’s core purpose of supporting veterans and their whānau.

We also want to ensure that there is better support available for those Associations that might encounter financial difficulties.

Are these changes about excluding RSA members that haven't served in the military?

The role of the community and all members of the RSA remain important. While the changes are designed to support the RNZRSA's core purpose of supporting veterans and their whānau, we recognize and acknowledge the enormous importance the support of our non-veteran members has in achieving this.

Why has there been reports in the media of in-fighting within the RSA?

Any programme of change is unsettling, and everyone deals with it differently. While it is unfortunate that media coverage has suggested there is significant discord within the RSA, that is not the case. 

We are in the early stages of determining what changes might be needed to improve our governance, and there are a range of views across the organistion of what that might look like. Differences of opinion are normal, and hearing the widest range of perspectives will ensure we make the best decisions for the organisation as a whole.

While the public airing of differing opinions is unfortunate, the RNZRSA is committed to fully consulting with all Member Associations to ensure their views are heard and included as part of the decision-making process.

National President's Address to National Council Workshop

223 KB | PDF


Board Chair's Address to National Council Workshop

477 KB | PDF


National Council Workshop Questions

393 KB | PDF


Re-aligning the RSA: National Council Part 2 Feedback

628 KB | PDF