Kia Ora koutou,
There is a feeling of shell shock from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting government restrictions. Some areas have been hit hard where tourism is the key revenue source and teams are working quickly to adapt and adjust to the changing times. We are all cognisant of the stress everyone is under and our thoughts go out to colleagues and friends where jobs are threatened or lost as a result of this pandemic.
Many of us in our field of work are adept at being flexible and adaptive but emotionally are now challenged by the amount of change being thrust upon us at once. We as a committee urge you all to take a breath, check in with your family and friends and identify what you need to keep yourself well. Enjoy the extra time with the people in your bubble during lockdown and use technology to provide those wider social connections. Taking time out to nurture these relationships and connections is important during turbulent times. It is certainly a time of great uncertainty.
Unfortunately, it is also a time of uncertainty for INNZ. Due to family and personal health issues I have had to scale back my commitment as chair and no other committee members have the resource to step into this role. A face to face committee meeting was held on the 4 March 2020 where we discussed the coming year considering the available resource within the committee. This, combined with the uncertainty of the Covid-19 situation, led us to the decision to drastically scale back our commitments for the coming year, and to cancel the filmmaking workshops (scheduled for Christchurch in April and Auckland in May) and the 2020 Spring conference (planned for Queenstown in September).
As a voluntary organisation we are dependent on members putting their hands up to participate on the committee to help organise activities and engagement with our membership. However, we are at a point where the current volunteer and committee capacity is low and therefore the future of INNZ is under threat. In recent years it has become increasingly difficult to resource an active committee that can plan our conferences and workshops. We will need to ensure we have a committed base from which to move forward before we make any further commitments.
We see a strong value in INNZ continuing into the future. That said, we are planning an AGM in September where the future of INNZ will be discussed and voted on by the membership. We are planning to hold this AGM at the Botanic Gardens and will provide the capability for members to attend virtually. A strong and committed volunteer base will be required for INNZ to continue.
Leading up to this AGM, a small committee consisting of myself, Lara Simmons, Micheline Newton, Wiebke Finkler, and Teresa Fogarty will continue to meet to prepare information to be discussed at an AGM. This will include information on the financials and charitable commitments of the organisation, as well as thinking regarding the purpose of INNZ and how we as an organisation can provide support to the interpretation community. We will also be drawing up roles and responsibilities to provide perspective committee members, maybe yourself, with a clearer insight into what is involved and how you can help.
The information we develop will be provided at least one month prior to the AGM. Calls for nominations to the committee will be made in July with a deadline the month before the AGM. All members will receive the opportunity to vote before the AGM if they are unable to attend.
Please feel free to get in touch with any questions by emailing myself (firstname.lastname@example.org) and copying in Lara Simmons (email@example.com). We remain hopeful for the future of INNZ as a strong network of storytelling and visitor experience professionals.
Lynda Burns and the INNZ Committee