NetNZ Board Chair Report 2019 by NetNZ

Board Chair Report

NetNZ Board Chair, Michael Campbell, summarises the year from a board perspective

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa

Ko Annalong te whenua, Ko Slieve Binnian tōku Maunga, Ko Annalong tōku awa, Ko Múghdhorna tōku iwi, Ko Mary McComb tōku whaea, Ko Kathleen Cunningham rāua ko Edward McComb ōku tipuna, Ko William Cunningham rāua ko Susanna O’Brian, mo Elizabeth McKermiott rāua ko Patrick McComb oku tipuna, He tomaiti Whangai ahau. Aku Matua Teresa rāua ko John Campbell, Ko Mary McConvey tāku haia wahine. No Belfast ia. Enoha ana inaianei ki Otautahi, Ko Nathan ratou ko Joshua ko Jacob ōku tama, Ko Michael Campbell tōku ingou

I think every report to an AGM that doesn’t cover the period of COVID will still have commentary about what has just occurred, and this report is no different.

Within 11 weeks New Zealand has been able to fend off what has become a pandemic in almost every other country in the world. As I write this, we’ve just been informed that we go to alert level one tonight, we have no active or new cases of COVID 19. As the prime minister said, it was the team of five million that achieved this. The Maori proverb He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata is most appropriate, most important is the people, the people, the people.

But what you may not know is that we came within a week of looking just like the US, UK, Brazil or Italy. To achieve what we did we had to “go hard and early”, and we did. But we did more than that. Hospitals were cleared for the possible influx of infections and infection control measures were introduced to ensure no community transmission or at least minimal spread. Staff were trained and new teams were “stood up” right across the health system.

Organizations also got involved by ensuring only minimal essential staff were on duty and that everyone else stayed home “in their bubble” probably the word du jour for 2020, although from here on “pivot” might well take over. And pivot they did with companies all over the country jumping to e-commerce.

As schools were close for alert level 4, for NETNZ that gave us a significant advantage and as the Ministry of Education tried to get their head around home schooling almost 800,000 students, suddenly we came into our own and the Ministry for once were not only listening to us but asking for our help, finally! A little-known fact is that there is no provision under the education act for teaching when schools are closed.

The board of NETNZ would therefore like to thank the executive team and every e-teacher and e-dean who ever patiently worked quietly in the background perfecting their craft of online education to get us to this point. We salute every one of you. We all knew this day would come and it has. It is unfortunate the manner it has arrived but its here. We are now on the map, just as New Zealand is and will be on the world media cycle for the next few days.

Its also vital we salute the vision of Ken Pullar, Darren Sudlow and Trevor Storr for soldiering on when it looked like the Ministry had no idea who we were or were just happy to see us as outliers.

Our challenge now is to make it stick.

As for the year previous the executive came to a board meeting last year which itself was held on 15 March and so is difficult to forget for all the wrong reasons with a bold plan to challenge what we were doing and to evolve so that NETNZ could become more financially self-sufficient. That plan is in train and will benefit both current NETNZ learners and all NZ learners and possibly well beyond our shores. Again, from a pivot perspective we may well need to look at delivering online offshore for some time to come because of COVID. NETNZ will be ready for this opportunity.

The Ministry projects we have been involved with in the past has given NETNZ fat in the system to grow and develop and continue to offer a high-quality service to students throughout the country. In early 2020 its fair to say we have hit the jackpot in terms of exposure and financial income. Every little bit helps, and the beginning of 2020 could well signal a pivot to online learning that we have not seen to date.

So, to every teacher who had to learn how to use Google Hangout, Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Meetings, trying to get students to turn on their cameras and get out of their jammies and to all the teacher who are parents who had to teach from home and look after their own whanau, we salute you, kia kaha, nga mihi nui

Michael Campbell

Board Chair