Masters Report to 2011 AGM

It is with pleasure that I submit my report for the last twelve months.

Membership Our membership as at 30th March is 240 which is an addition of 4 from last year.

Ordinary    Life           Honorary      Friends/Ass       Total

Auckland        86               4             4                              2                       96

Tauranga       29                2             –                             –                         31

Wellington      60               1             3                            6                         70

Christchurch   42               1             2                           –                          45

Our 8 Life members are:-

Captain Max Deane Auckland Editor. Retired Union Co.

Captain Tony Gates Past Warden. Retired British India.

Captain John Twomey Past Master. Gen. Secretary/Treasurer,

Warden. Retired Port Employers.

Captain Edgar Boyack Retired Marine Department

Captain Jim Glyde Past Warden. Past Gen. Secretary/Treasurer.

Captain Jim Varney Retired Auckland Harbourmaster.

Captain Fred Kelner Past Warden. Retired Union Co.

Captain Gavin Dennison Tauranga Editor.

Captain Gordon Rutherford Surveyor.

Our 9 Honorary members are:-

Rev Bill Law Honorary Padre, Auckland Branch

Piers Davies Honorary Solicitor, Auckland

Dr J Frew Retired Port Doctor, Auckland

Alister Macalister Honorary Solicitor, Wellington

H McMorran Retired long time Gen Secretary/Auditor

Rev J Pether Mission To Seafarers, Wellington

John Woodward Honorary Solicitor, Christchurch

George Hill Christchurch

5 new members were signed up and I welcome Captains Qio, Auckland. Fleming, Wellington. Hadley and Webb, Christchurch. Commander Larry Robbins transferred from Honorary to Full membership in Auckland under the Naval officer commanding banner. One member transferred from Christchurch to Wellington and three members retired from membership.

Bereavement/Illness It is with regret that I report the deaths of Captains George Carter, Auckland, Bob Fozard and Derek Grimmer all from Wellington.

On 30th October 2010 the then Christchurch Warden, Captain Richard Knight was rushed to hospital with a burst aorta. He is recovering slowly but not in any condition to carry out any sort of office duty and has resigned from the Christchurch committee. We wish him well and as speedy a recovery as may be expected.

Finances The consolidated accounts have been affected by the decision to fully fund the spring edition of ‘On Deck’ and the subsequent re-establishing of the levy increase to cover the publishing of this very worthwhile organ. This has, however, left the Company in somewhat straitened circumstances.

Management Reports from the General Secretary have been distributed on a three-monthly basis as required by the rules. Branch Committees have met regularly and their minutes received by the General Secretary (in saying this, the Christchurch Branch have had considerable problems due to the damage suffered by their normal venues from earthquakes and continuing aftershocks).

Branch Newsletters have been received by the General Secretary from all branches, with some disruption to Christchurch for the above mentioned reasons. It is with regret that we are advised that Captain Twomey feels that he can no longer publish their newsletter. We also receive newsletters from sister organisations overseas. The .pdf copies of ‘On Deck’ sent out have garnered very favourable responses from a number of recipients and, in a number of cases, .pdf copies of their own publications. While it was envisaged that ‘On Deck’ could become a twice-a-year publication the autumn copy suffered from lack of funding and was sent out as a .pdf copy only. It still, as with Branch Newsletters, suffers from a struggle for contributions from members. Its sheer size may have something to do with that, 78 pages is a large magazine.

The Company web page is still running, and with the facility of persons being able to comment on articles if they so wish. For a while the home page lost its distinctive format, but I see that has returned. Again it suffers from lack of input by members. I find it hard to believe that ex masters after years of report writing cannot put pen to paper, or fingers to computer keyboards, and share their myriad experiences. This applies to branch newsletters and ‘On Deck’ too. Perhaps Auckland and Tauranga could at least forward their meeting dates for inclusion. Along with contact details, phone and email, in order that a visitor can get to a meeting if he is in town at the right time.

On that note, it has been my hope that I might visit branches to show my face and obtain some feedback from members. Unfortunately Mother Nature has put paid to those plans up till now, firstly with my wife’s stroke, in 2009, and then my bout with spinal stenosis, in the first few months of this year. I still haven’t given up on the idea of visits though. After a couple of very expensive u-bolt like fittings in my back I feel like a new man, well, nearly. I feel Christchurch has enough to put up with. They probably need me rocking up about as much as they need another aftershock.

I would like to thank Captains John Brown, immediate past Master, and Ron Palmer, Wellington branch Warden, for attending, in March, the Patronage Reception held at the newly refurbished Government House by The Right Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand and Lady Susan Satyanand. This was to recognise and thank those organisations with whom they have enjoyed a close relationship throughout their term of office.

Incoming Governor General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae has been invited to continue the association with the New Zealand Company of Master Mariners.

General Wellington is probably heaving a collective sigh of relief that we are holding this AGM in Auckland. I thank them, and the Bay Plaza Hotel, for the excellent manner in which they have hosted the AGM for the last few years.

This is my second report and I feel that not as much has been achieved as we had all hoped. Although the Company had representatives at the QOL consultations and we were kept in the loop throughout, I still have an uneasy feeling that we are being pandered to, to a certain extent. The lack of real maritime experience at MNZ, and the lack of clout of anyone who might really know what they are talking about are worrying.

There seems to be a problem in QOL with skills obtained in one branch of the industry being catered for in the way of carrying over to another branch and the relevant sea time being credited. I seem to remember hearing this being discussed somewhere. Certainly the industry needs to be brought into the modern day but we need to ensure that the rules and regulations are workable and accepted internationally. They also need to be such that people are not deterred from trying to improve themselves.

When I was an apprentice on British ships I sailed with quite a few deck officers who had’ come up through the hawse pipe’ as the saying was. There were also a good many ex fishermen and ex Royal Navy personnel of all ranks who were excellent seamen in their own right but wanted something different or, in the case of the RN, were being let go as the Fleet returned to peace time levels. The number of men lost during the war meant that there was an extreme shortage and, although the rules wouldn’t have been breached, they were certainly treated fairly liberally in order to make sure trade continued. Believe it or not, I even met one man who had found his niche at sea, despite being drafted into the Navy from his job as a newspaper reporter. There was also the terrible prospect of National Service, which could be avoided by being in the MN. (I’m not convinced that the M.N. was much of a step up from National Service). This resulted in a very interesting mix of personnel and skill levels and a surprising amount of knowledge went both ways. Surely the prospect of people shifting from one branch of the industry to another shouldn’t be a great barrier. The size of the New Zealand fleet and lack of deep sea vessels is surely enough of a problem.

I can remember one Master I sailed with, watching the performance on deck as the ship prepared for sea, and muttering about ‘Harry Tate’s navy’. This was a disparaging reference, much like ‘Fred Karno’s army’ was ashore, to complete chaos. By the end of the trip however the crew would have gelled into a very credible whole. There was much pride in doing a good job and also the ingrained lessons that had been learned during the war, that you did it right the first time or it could be your last. Sadly that ethos seems to be, largely, a thing of the past.

I do feel that MNZ should carry out examinations for qualifications, but there is, almost certainly, going to be a struggle to find suitable personnel to be examiners. There is probably going to be much thought given, by suitable people, to the proposal to shift into a, probably, comparatively low paid job, which could well disappear with a change of Government and policies. This also presupposes that we still have people to be examined, given the lack of interest by ALL N.Z. political parties in the cleanest, and probably cheapest, form of transport in the country. Of course the nautical academies will still have overseas students and Kiwi’s wanting time in New Zealand will come back to sit their tickets and do the classroom part of their studies.

For a nation surrounded by water the lack of encouragement for sea transport is, in my view, criminal. Politicians seem bewildered by the fact that they are not treated like minor gods, yet they persist in their blinkered thinking and pandering to the roads lobby.

It is interesting to note how quickly the Port of Lyttelton returned to relative normality and how quickly their plans for repair of damaged port facilities were in place. The sea does not have to be repaired, unlike roads, and congestion is not a major problem around our coast. There is a proposal to truck rubble from demolished city buildings directly to Lyttelton for use in reconstruction of the port rather than double-handling it. The RNZN are to be congratulated for their speedy response in bringing essential equipment, personnel, meals and support to a traumatised city and its surrounds. HMNZS Canterbury, among others, gave great support to her namesake province.

In closing I wish to record my heartfelt thanks to General Secretary/Treasurer Captain Bill Compson and to the Branch Wardens, Committees and Newsletter editors for their continuing efforts.

A D C Payne



2011 Executive Council L to R: Bill Compson (General Secretary), Tim Wood (Warden Tauranga Branch), Tony Payne (Master), John Frankland (Warden Auckland Branch), Ron Palmer (Warden Wellington Branch).

The Christchurch Warden was unable to attend because of adverse weather.

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