What we were hoping would be the first year of a Covid‐free New Zealand instead saw the arrival of the deadly Delta variant, with another 6 weeks in lockdown for Auckland and 2 weeks for the rest of the country. Fortunately, our team Wendy, Dana, Fred & Lisa were able to continue their great work in very difficult circumstances. Their decision earlier in 2021 to abandon our rented office space in favour of a permanent move to remote working to improve productivity and cut costs also gave Coeliac New Zealand the flexibility to ride out the lockdown period relatively unscathed. Funding continued to be difficult, with grants once again drying up, and income from the Dining Out Programme and Crossed Grain Logo licensing reduced as the hospitality and food sectors were hit hard for the second year running. Our General Manager and staff again ran a tight ship and kept delivering in the face of very difficult and uncertain times. With nearly 65,000 businesses closing in 2021 in the most trying environment since the GFC, Coeliac New Zealand continued to grow, and the board is incredibly proud of what the team has achieved.
My thanks also go out to our Medical Advisory Panel (MAP) chaired by Dr. Andrew Day, whose members have continued to make significant contributions despite the pressures they faced with Covid in the past 12 months. Their assistance is invaluable in allowing Coeliac New Zealand to maintain its position as the go‐to source for reliable, science‐based information and cutting‐edge research. They are a vital resource to our members, both as an ad‐hoc source of information and for the hard work they do behind the scenes to bring Coeliac disease into focus at a primary health level. This has included diagnostic guidelines, health care pathways, and policy guides around a safe diet. Their work is a great example of the less visible work that goes on at Coeliac New Zealand, which may be harder for members to appreciate but which has more impact on more coeliac lives than some of the more noticeable activities we carry out.
I would like to acknowledge my fellow Board members, our ambassadors, and our volunteers. The contributions you have made to your organisation have been so crucial in amplifying the reach of Coeliac New Zealand far beyond what our size and budget would have otherwise enabled. A special thanks to Dawn Folkard, the Chair for most of the past 12 who led the hugely successful restructure of Coeliac New Zealand in 2019 and was a reassuring presence during the Covid‐related difficulties of 2020 and 2021. And a warm welcome to Ben Grant and Gary Peacham who joined the board a few months ago. It has already been refreshing to get your perspectives on the direction of Coeliac New Zealand and we look forward to your help in reaching an increasing number of coeliacs.
Finally, thanks to our members. We have seen a steady stream of new members joining and are sad to see others leave. Your support has been gratefully received and we welcome your input and engagement. We acknowledge the continuing difficulties relating to Covid and the challenging economic outlook that you are all facing and appreciate your help.
The board and staff were able to get together in person a couple of weeks ago for the first time in a year to discuss the Coeliac New Zealand strategic plan for the next 3 years. This will be presented to you separately to show how we continue to adapt to a changing environment, and the opportunities and challenges thrown at us by the current economic situation, social media, technology, and new member needs.
Finally, while there will be no conference this year, planning is already underway for the 2023 Conference and we are investigating a hybrid video/in‐person meeting to make the most of the advantages they both offer. It would be a great opportunity to get some normality back while reaching as many members as possible. More details will be released as we firm up the details.
Board Chair – Coeliac NZ
Members are reminded and encouraged to register to attend our Annual General Meeting via zoom on Saturday 11 June 10 am please email Fred on firstname.lastname@example.org and you will recieve a complimentary copy of our wellbeing journal and go in the draw to win a prize. We look forward to presenting our annual reports to you. We also hope to have MAP chair professor Andrew Day for a short Q and A session so email your questions with your registration. PS: those of you who would like to meet the board in person are invited to attend and join us for a walk around the Botanic gardens at the end of the meeting.
Documents for AGM