Chief Executive Report April 2017

Our governance

The Blind Foundation is member-led organisation governed by our members. These are people who are blind or have low vision, friends, family and others interested in the Blind Foundation, who have chosen to be part of the governance of the organisation.

We were established under the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Act 2002. In January 2012, the Blind Foundation registered as an incorporated society under section 8 of the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 and the name of the society became ‘The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Incorporated’.

When the RNZFB became an Incorporated Society in 2012 fulfilling the requirements of the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Act 2002, that Act became redundant. On 25 August 2016, the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Repeal Bill was passed in the House of Representatives. The Bill received royal assent on 29 August 2016 and has become the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Act Repeal Act 2016.

Our voting members elect our Board of Directors.

The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Inc’s Constitution explains what it means to be a Blind Foundation client or voting member, and the role and duties of our Board. You can from this section, read the full version of the Constitution.

Every quarter, the Blind Foundation Board and Executive team meet to discuss items and action points on the Business Plan and the strategic direction of the organisation. After each meeting, Chief Executive Sandra Budd and Board Chair Rick Hoskin write a report – you can read these below.

2017 Candidate Information Day for RNZFB Board Elections

The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) seeks expressions of interest from those who are thinking of standing in the 2017 RNZFB Board Elections to attend an information day.  If sufficient interest is shown, the RNZFB will run an information day or candidates’ college for prospective nominees on Saturday 5 August 2017 in Auckland.

This year, three vacancies for general seats exist on the RNZFB Board.  The three incumbent directors whose terms are up for election this year are Keith Appleton, Julie Bartlett and Nicola Owen.  These Directors may wish to stand again.

Following a survey of those Directors who will remain on the Board after the 2017 election, the areas where the Board’s function could be enhanced further include:

  • financial management and knowledge of financial markets
  • information technology and digital strategy
  • managing risk
  • strategic thinking
  • business analysis
  • property governance
  • young person’s representation.

The programme for the day will cover topics such as:

  • Background to the RNZFB’s governance model;
  • The role and expectation of Boards;
  • Being an effective Board director;
  • An overview of the RNZFB today, with reference to the strategic plan and management structure;
  • The RNZFB’s financial base, financial management, property management, fundraising and implications for Board directors;
  • Delivering service in a member-directed, client focused, financially sustainable and evidence-driven organisation;
  • Consumerism and consumer organisations; and
  • Time for questions and answers.

Board directors are expected to be familiar with member interests and perspectives, and to shoulder fiduciary, legal and financial responsibilities.

If you are thinking of standing for the Board, it is worth asking yourself:

  • Am I committed to the broad vision and mission of the RNZFB?
  • Can I contribute the time necessary to be an effective Board director – six Friday and Saturday Board meetings, with up to another four Saturdays in the year, plus many hours of preparation time for each meeting?
  • Can I place the RNZFB’s purposes and interests and the well-being of members above my own professional and personal interests?

Among the competencies sought in effective Board directors are:

Understanding the needs of blind people and those with low vision in New Zealand;

  • A sound knowledge of the not-for-profit disability sector.
  • Informed business judgment;
  • Being an independent, creative and critical thinker;
  • Having high ethical standards;
  • Down-to-earth common sense;
  • Being a listener and learner;
  • Understanding of modern boardroom practices;
  • An ability to see the ‘big picture’, stay out of management and operations and work in a team;
  • The capability to harmonise strategies with budgets;
  • An understanding of the impact of technology and how the organisation is run;
  • Demonstrated skills in areas such as governance, audit, finance and risk management, communications, fundraising and advocacy; and
  • Above all, a readiness to learn about the business the RNZFB is in.

It is preferable that candidates have access to information via a computer with an internet connection, or an alternative means of dealing with agendas and reports bi-monthly that are typically over 200 pages of print.

If you fit the above criteria, the RNZFB welcomes you to register your interest in the information day with the Board Secretary, Jane Moore, telephone: 09 355 6894 or email: by Thursday 20 July 2017.  Please also send a short summary of your background and what you can contribute to the work of the RNZFB’s Board.

The RNZFB will meet reasonable day travel expenses for candidates.

Additional information about the RNZFB Board Elections

The RNZFB Board comprises nine elected directors.  Eight are elected in General seats by governing members of the RNZFB and parents or guardians of children registered with the RNZFB while the remaining director is elected in the Associate seat by the RNZFB’s Associate membership.

This year there will be an election for only one class of seat – three General seats (no Associates’ seat).  All three directors may wish to stand again.

A candidate seeking election in a General seat must be nominated by two governing or guardian members of the RNZFB.  Please note that the three successful candidates in this election will receive a three-year term in office.

Voting papers in the 2017 election will be sent out on 5 October 2017 with the postal ballot closing on 3 November 2017 at 4:00pm.  The results will be announced at the Annual General Meeting, which this year is being held in Hamilton on Saturday 11 November 2017.

Board meeting dates

The dates of the 2017 RNZFB Board meetings are:

  • Saturday 25 February 2017
  • Saturday 29 April 2017
  • Saturday 24 June 2017
  • Saturday 2 September 2017
  • Friday 10 November 2017
  • Friday 1 December 2017 – Meeting only to appoint Board appointments for 2018.

The Annual General Meeting for 2017 will be held in Hamilton on Saturday 11 November.

In accordance with the RNZFB Constitution, members are welcome to observe at RNZFB Board Meetings in person or via teleconferencing or the internet when these options are available.  If you wish to observe at a RNZFB Board Meeting, please ensure you email the Board Secretary at least five days before the date of the meeting.

RNZFB Act 2002

Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Act 2002 (.doc)

Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Act 2002 Repeal

On 25 August 2016, the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Repeal Bill was passed in the House of Representatives. The Bill received royal assent on 29 August 2016 and has become the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Act Repeal Act 2016.

This is an important milestone in our history.  When the RNZFB became an Incorporated Society in 2012 fulfilling the requirements of the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Act 2002, that Act became redundant.  The Honourable Nicky Wagner supported a Private Members’ Bill to take the repeal through the parliamentary process.

The Sovereign (The Queen, represented in New Zealand by the Governor-General) forms part of Parliament but is separate from the House.  It is the Sovereign’s role to sign a bill into law by giving it the Royal Assent. Assent is given on the advice of the Prime Minister (or the most senior Minister available) and the Attorney-General.  Thus, the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Act Repeal Act 2016 came into being on 29 August 2016.

Private Bill to Repeal the RNZFB Act (.pdf)

RNZFB 2014 Constitution

Chair and Chief Executive Reports

Constitutional Review Committee

The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) Board approved the establishment of a Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) in May 2015.  The purpose of this ad hoc committee is to review the Constitution of the RNZFB Incorporated.

Since the founding of the current constitution 12 years ago there have been two minor reviews.  In an organisation such as the RNZFB, it is important that the governing members, potential members, the Board and the management are soundly supported by rules that are current, unambiguous and easy to interpret and use.  To this end a full review of the RNZFB constitution is taking place.

In September 2015, the Board formally ratified the appointment of the members of the CRC, having engaged an independent recruitment agency to assist with the selection process. The members of the Committee are:

Chair, NFP, Constitutional Law Andrew Beatson – Partner, Bell Gully. 
Andrew has blindness sector experience of 30+ year’s association with the Blind Foundation through family.  As a committee member of the Bell Gully Pro Bono initiative he has confirmed the sourcing of pro-bono legal assistance for the review panel – particularly where redrafting may be required or is desirable.

CEO, NFP Darren Ward
Darren has considerable senior level experience, including former CEO of Christian Blind Mission, and experience with the disabilities and NFP sector.

Blindness Sector:

  • David Heather – blindness sector and the Blind Foundation’s work.
  • Julianne Sanders – blindness sector and law.
  • Peter Hoskin – RNZFB Board Director Liaison.
  • Rick Hoskin – RNZFB Board Chair, as ex-oficio member.

The CRC had its inaugural meeting in October 2015 and will be meeting on a monthly basis.  In November 2015, the RNZFB Board approved the Committee’s terms of reference.

CRC Terms of Reference (.doc)

What the CRC is doing

Some of the things we are thinking about include:

  • Do the objects reflect what the Blind Foundation does now, and empower it to do what it needs to in the foreseeable future?
  • The RNZFB remains committed to self-determination. What does self-determination mean in the context of current legislation and modern disability philosophy?
  • How big should the Board be, and how should its members be chosen?
  • Is the current incorporated society model the best form of governing, or would we be better off with something else?
  • What can we do to encourage more people to become members and have their say?

This is just a sample of some of the things the CRC is considering in this wide-ranging review.  From your own reading of the current Constitution, you may have other issues you would like to raise.

The Committee’s mandate is not related to the service you receive or the current strategic plan. The Blind Foundation has other ways to hear what you think about those important matters. But if it relates to our Constitution and governance structure, the CRC is keen to learn what you think.

We hope to have finished our work in time for the 2017 AGM.

The Constitution belongs to the membership, so any changes that come out of this process would need to be approved by a two-thirds majority of those voting before they take effect.

As our work progresses, we will publish discussion papers asking for your comments on specific issues.  Right now though, we encourage you to send us a submission about anything related to the RNZFB’s Constitution and governance structure that is important to you.

Second Draft Constitution July 2017

CRC Second Interim Report July 2017

Comms Interim Report July 2017


CRC Interim Report January 2017 (.doc)

Initial draft of updated Constitution January 2017 (.doc)

CRC May 2017 Update (.doc)

Please send us your thoughts

You can:

  • email your views to
  • record your submission via Telephone Information Service, option 3 1 5 3.
  • post your submission in your preferred format to the Board Secretary, Blind Foundation, Private Bag 99941, Newmarket, Auckland 1149.

Staying in touch

We will be communicating regularly about how we are doing and specific matters we would like your input on.  Here is how you can check what is happening.

  • we can email you whenever we have something new to tell you. To opt into these emails, just send a blank email to:
  • updates and member information will be available on TIS at option 3 1 5 2 and posted on our website.
  • we will be keeping in touch with consumer organisations so they know what is happening and can keep their members informed at meetings.

CRC Updates

Consultation Papers for your feedback