Get thee to the AGM!

(or, We Need to Talk About Island Democracy)

The Anarchist Amanuensis will not be attending the AGM of the RRA this lovely sunny Sunday morning. Apologies in advance to anyone who might miss my hot take on the meeting, but I lost heart somewhat after the Easter 2021 meeting in which the majority of members who were ineligible to vote by dint of not having paid their subs voted to be allowed to vote. It was never made clear exactly who was eligible to vote; I know I was, as I had paid my subs unbidden, but these are simply minor details that mean nothing, unless you are concerned about adherence to the constitution of the incorporated society.

I also lost heart when I realised the ‘minutes’ of the Labour Weekend meeting of 2020 were not written up till March 27 of 2021, a matter of days before the Easter 2021 meeting. I guess this is because the only person taking minutes in 2020 was me. I guess that also means someone had to bodge together minutes from the agenda of the 2020 AGM, and my Anarchist Amanuensis ‘minutes’. This may seem inconsequential, but only if you are unconcerned about adherence to the constitution of the incorporated society.

This meeting a motion is to be passed by Chairman Clews with regard to changing the constitution. We are not advised what the motion is. The constitution says this:

ALTERATION OF RULES The Society may make, alter, amend or add to any of the rules at any Annual, Special or Ordinary Meeting of the Society after ten working days’ notice of intention so to do shall have been given to members.

This is awkward, because we were only advised of the agenda on January 28th.
It doesn’t really matter though, unless you are concerned about adherence to the constitution of the incorporated society.

You’ll get to vote for for new committee members at this meeting. The constitution says this:

Nominations in writing for the election of officers, signed by the nominee and his/her proposer, shall be in the hands of the Secretary in sufficient time to allow voting papers with the names of all nominees theron, (sic) to be in the hands of the voting members at least fourteen (14) clear days before the holding of the Annual General Meeting.

This is mildly inconvenient, given the voting forms were only sent out as an attachment on January 27. Don’t fret; it’s only significant if you are concerned about adherence to the constitution of the incorporated society.

At any rate, I wish you all a lovely meeting, and I hope you’ve paid your subs. It’s my fervent wish that some fresh enthusiasm is injected into the committee to take on the not inconsiderable challenges currently facing Rakino; our community amenities, our fire resilience, and our lack of representation on the Waiheke Local Board. Some fresh faces across the board are desperately needed.

Over and out,
Anarchist Amanuensis.

RRA Election time?

Is it time to review the function and performance of the RRA (Rakino Rate Payers Association)?

The objectives of the Association are set out in its Constitution.

At the Annual General Meeting candidates either volunteer or are persuaded to join the committee sometime later. There is no election process as is defined. Elected officers are those who volunteer for that role. Not much happens. There’s little or no communication with the membership. The Association doesn’t enjoy community support and more importantly respect. All fairly typical characteristics of any volunteer organization. Well-meaning. Volunteers doing their best, but is their best good enough?

In recent times things have been organized independent of the Association. We have enjoyed concerts at the Hall, the Nursery and at the Pizzeria. Yoga classes, art, weaving courses are all well received and supported. The community can make things happen if it has the will. Who needs the Association?

It does seem that decentralization will continue which questions the relevance of the Association and especially as it has seldom taken a lead or achieved much. The hall is but one example. Our emergency response capability is being withdrawn. The Association fiddles whilst Rakino potentially burns.

The Association is nevertheless essential as the body that represents us when dealing with say the Council. Council will only deal with the one voice. The problem with that one voice is that the committee is not democratically elected, doesn’t have a mandate on any position it takes, is seldom well informed and invariably reflects the opinion of the committee or some on it.

We have allowed this situation to occur. We don’t follow the prescribed process for the election of a committee and a Chair. We don’t give them a brief, a blue print for what we want for the Island, where we are going and how we want to get there. If we don’t manage change, it will happen regardless.

I believe the function of the Association should be three-fold;

  1. To achieve representation on the Waiheke Community Board.
  2. To represent the community with key stake holders and deploy expertise within the community for specific negotiations.
  3. To develop a road map which reflects the communities needs and aspirations, coordinate a blue print and invite people to take on specific function, unhindered. Performance is measured by success.

The Hall is a prime example as to why there must be change.

After years of talk, Stephen Thomas came up with a scheme to move and redevelop the existing building which he costed and presented to the community both on and off the Island. His concept was well received and he was congratulated on his initiative. We were to be canvassed for our thoughts. A no brainer really. Unfortunately, covid aside, nothing has happened. More of the same and for the same reasons.

We were told at the last AGM that Council preferred a new build on which premise a vote was taken to do away with the old and bring in the new. A concept by the Association was presented with a few boxes and improved vehicular access. It has since transpired that Council did not express that preference yet a new design is being developed after Stephen Thomas presented his vision and the ink had almost dried. Stephen had broad approval for his concept and has the skill set, drive and contacts to make things happen. Local trades, professionals and merchants offered their support. Meetings brimmed with enthusiasm and suggestions as to how it could happen and how individuals could contribute.

Stephen should be given the job to resolve the hall fiasco once and for all. He has the qualifications to present a concept and costings to the Waiheke Board, get approval from the Board, facilitate funding and consents, negotiate with Auckland Transport as regards transportation issues and bring the community together to build with fund raising if necessary. No one else on the committee has those skills and frankly they have had decades to demonstrate their capabilities. A significant job for a lone individual but Stephen is a team player and can call upon expertise within the community to finally resolve something which has been on the drawing board for decades.

No more delays awaiting the formation of a committee, no more waffle and grandstanding. Responsibility delegated to someone who know what they’re doing. Job done.

What else does the community need? Here’s but a few thoughts to make my point.


Lisa and Holly have shown to have the drive and passion to organize fantastic events with fantastic artists. They should be given carte blanche responsibility with an allocation of funds from the Association. The community should underwrite the associated costs and be willing to pay to participate rather than stand on the fringes and observe.

Sense of community

Why not our own flag, an Island logo, a letterhead, some merchandise that sets us apart. Let’s appoint someone with those skills, which may also include a programmer so that we can vote electronically on whatever design we prefer. The same program could be utilized at the AGM and at other significant decision times.

Other thoughts are; fruit trees along the berms, utilization of the land at the top of the Island for sporting events, a website which brings together all the other sites under the one umbrella, resolution of the mooring travesty, a welcoming committee for new owners, an information centre for visitors.

The possibilities are endless. Someone with a special interest or skill takes responsibility for a specific function after being provided with a broad outline of what the community wants.
Once again, answerable to us, not the committee which in time becomes largely redundant much as it is now but is no longer permitted to stymie innovative thinking or enthusiasm.

Thoughtful comment would be appreciated. The next AGM is over Labour weekend. Change is necessary now. I believe we need fresh blood on the Association. There are many talented impassioned people out there to make a real difference. I believe that needs to begin at the top.

Fire Prevention & Fire Safety

Dale Tawa from FENZ has kindly provided this link for us. It has plenty of simple tips with regard to reducing risk to your property should fire break out, and advice on applying for fire permits. Dale has also answered a question for me that I have been asking for a while. In case anyone else was wondering, NO, a charcoal/wood-fired BBQ in a prohibited fire season is not permitted.

Anarchist Amanuensis RRA Easter 2021 meeting ‘Review’, and thoughts.

Chairman Clews has decreed the minutes will only be published through ‘approved channels’, so miscreants with ‘agendas’ can be excluded. Alas, discerning reader, he was referring to this website, because I had the audacity to publish what he felt was a less than flattering portrait of his conduct as Chairman in my Anarchist Amanuensis minutes, which you can read here..

I believe it was an accurate portrayal. The job of the Chair in a community meeting is to move the meeting along at a decent clip, ensuring protocol and procedure are attended to, and that the agenda is adhered to, not to use the position as a podium to bluster at reprobates who have displeased the chair.

Because I find the passing of motions very tedious, I’ve chosen to write a review of the meeting instead. I will publish the ‘official’ minutes if they ever get published on the official channel, because they are community property, and I know how to cut and paste. Aside from that a goodly portion of you lovely subscribers indicated it was something you wanted, so I want to hold to my promise. Happy days.

Here starteth the review:

I arrived fractionally late to the meeting, so missed the apologies. Alas, I have almost no idea who is officially on the committee, so I couldn’t tell if anyone was absent.

Almost immediately some long-building frictions surfaced. Kevin Wragge and Chairman Clews fro-ed and to-ed, with regard to matters of constitution and whether or not the RRA was adhering to it.

It wasn’t, of course, but that’s because subs haven’t been collected in a long time. Here is the constitution, if you would like to familiarise yourself with it. Parts of it make quite interesting reading, but more of that later…

Stephen Thomas said the purpose of the RRA was to liaise with council, but having perused the constitution, I’d suggest it’s rather more than that, and some of it’s reason for existence may have wayside fallen in recent years.

The upshot was that most of the decent and long-suffering folks attending the meeting should not have been permitted to speak at said meeting because of clauses 6,7,8, and 9, but for some obscure reason this was waived. Alas! The meeting would have been considerably shorter if it had not, and we could have all enjoyed the lovely day instead, except for me, and maybe a couple of others who had paid subs, who may have felt compelled to stay indoors endlessly re-litigating meetings gone past.
But I digress…

Chairman Clews then decreed from the podium that the RRA minutes will only be published through aforementioned ‘approved channnels’, because of the aforementioned miscreants with agenda (me, the Anarchist Amanuensis). I have no agenda, of course, except to promote arts, culture, environmental and conservation values on our lovely island, but because I permitted Kevin Wragge to publish his concerns about the future of island facilities in an opinion piece on this website, with a careful preface from me, I apparently have an ‘agenda’.

To reiterate; anyone may submit articles for publication on including Chairman Clews, or any members of the RRA, for that matter. All I request is that there is nothing defamatory and no private emails submitted. This website exists to inform, educate, and promote community engagement and democracy. If you were at this point to glance at the RRA constitution, you would see that is part of their mandate, at clauses i, j, k, and l, but that’s okay, Rakino citizens will happily carry out those activities with no interference from the committee. We don’t holiday in a dictatorship.

I welcome your articles with open arms! It’s very time-consuming maintaining a website and trying to keep it fresh, something the secretary of the RRA will soon discover.
But I digress…

David Mahon then made his presentation with regard to the hall. This is a deeply contentious issue that has been re-litigated endlessly.

The upshot of David’s presentation was that we would have a smaller building with no separate space for the artists studios/gallery, and that the library could be down-sized to a cupboard.

There was no clarity regarding questions about budget, and no actual square meterage was hinted at.

We all accepted the oft-repeated stories about health and safety/maintenance issues/that the council won’t provide a community facility for ’17 people’, without any supporting documentation. As such, the majority of the minority attending the meeting all put up their hands for a new building, presumably to be constructed on a small footprint at the bottom of a crumbly cliff, but not until Barbara suggested a show of hands could be a good idea. Thank goodness for that suggestion, otherwise the repetitive re-litigation could have gone on for days. Kevin suggested an OIA was made with regard to hall costings. Chairman Clews concurred.

The most outrageous thing we were told was that Downer have not been doing the scheduled maintenance on the Hall complex as contracted, and to quote Chairman Clews, the trip out to Rakino to do maintenance has long been regarded as a junket.
If this is true, I would suggest the council take immediate steps to look into this claim and recover any costs due from Downer for failing to do their job. There does not appear to be any accountability, from anyone.

When the Anarchist Amanuensis took the hall proposal back to her compatriots who did not have the inclination to attend the RRA meeting, there was a righteous anger. A smaller facility is pointless; there will be no weddings at a tiny venue, no visiting musicians, no plays performed, no community arts, or holiday arts classes for your children. The library is a well-used facility. Never suggest to a community that you may downsize their library; it’s unthinkable! This would not happen in Auckland City, and should not happen on Rakino.

What there will be is a venue for RRA meetings, which will be perfectly adequate, because no more than 35 people ever attend them.

The community was invited to submit feedback, which I’m sure you all will!

Elisabeth reported on the baseline marine survey, the finding of kina barrens, sediment run-off, functionally extinct crayfish, and over-fishing. She spoke about Waiheke instigating a rahui on the collection of crays, scallops, mussels, and paua. The survey is still to be completed. We are still looking forward to the visit from Dr. Tim Haggitt to present his findings to the community. Regretfully ‘Walks, Talks, and Snorks’ had to be postponed a couple of times because of lockdowns and Cup racing, but fingers crossed this cool event can still happen at some stage. You can read about it here…

Please ignore the date; it’s awaiting a refresh!

Many thanks to Elisabeth for her succinct and to the point presentation, worthy of emulation.

The next topic to arise was the fire situation. At some stage there will be a meeting in town and on island to work on the creation of a community resilience plan in conjunction with FENZ. There was much reminiscing about fires gone past, and at this point I briefly started to lose the will to live. The Anarchist Amanuensis has asked a few times to be supplied with some fire safety prevention information to publish, but it’s yet to materialise. I’d love to publish some simple handy tips about prevention, and print them out to distribute to any interested bach owners and Rakino visitors who aren’t accustomed to island protocol around fire prevention and safety, but it’s still to be acted on, because no-one seems to have the time to supply them, despite education being what FENZ wants most of all.

Unfortunately all of the recent island fires have been due to carelessness which was preventable. Statistically we also have high rates of fire incidents if you consider the size of the island and the number of dwellings.

Les then provided the Dog, Dragon boat, and Delinquent report, which has become a recent highlight of RRA meetings. The BAD DOG that bit Les has been re-domiciled in the country, so good luck to all the hapless sheep out there. Apparently the juvies are out in force, driving cars underage, rampaging around on scooters, still playing at hood ornaments. At this point the Anarchist Amanuensis finally managed to shout over the top of the males of a certain age who enjoy dominating RRA meetings at volume and explain the Island Battleaxes including herself have had words with said delinquents but to no avail. The dragon boat racing hasn’t happened for a couple of years, and I believe Wayne and Carleen offered to take over the organising of the event. Apologies if I’m mistaken, but the good volunteers were sitting behind me.
Chairman Clews held forth for a bit.

Bev made her report in a good humoured fashion that is to be applauded, regarding the new no parking signs that everyone is wilfully ignoring. Please people, don’t park you cars there; it’s a hazard for pedestrians if you do. It’s also potentially an environmental hazard, and a Hank hazard.

Please be considerate. Bev is just trying to enforce the council rules, and she has no mandate to do anything other than to appeal to your better natures.
C C h f f a b.

We were supposed to nominate and elect officers, as per the sent out agenda, the relevant details cut and pasted here, however we didn’t get to 8, and 9 on the agenda…

“Agenda 10am Sunday 4th April 2021
Location: The Hall Rakino Island



3)Past Minutes See attached Finances and Correspondence ST to present a) Financial Report inc. Payments received / to be made , Cash Book status ST b) Subs Actions to get back on track c) Correspondence IN / OUT

4)Community Hall The hall maintenance is still a stumbling block. Present possible way forward on the hall but need to understand the community needs. DM to present possible options

5)Marine Survey Report. Due to Covid there has been a delay in getting on island meeting to present. EE to give update

6)Fire Capability for the Island. Need to discuss. Propose of the meetings with FENZ and the outcomes. Define best times to have community meeting both on the island and in city.

7)General Business


9)Election of Officers
Meeting Closed”

Meeting closed at 11.54am. I was relieved to see Kevin Wragge proffer Chairman Clews a manly handshake on the way out.

Sadly there were no baked treats or cups of tea. The Anarchist Amanuensis left feeling angry and depressed, and narrowly avoided stepping in a pile of dog turds poised outside the hall. Happily she ran into a good citizen outside who shared with her a fabulous idea for an island event next Easter. Watch this space! 🙂

If I were to offer up one criticism of this meeting in my review it would be that we don’t get to hear from a variety of voices. This is because a few men of a certain age loudly dominate, and it’s very hard to find an opening to say your piece. It’s not good democracy in action. I’d like to urge everyone to have their say on the important matter of Rakino facilities. You can comment here, by logging in and scrolling down to ‘leave a comment’, and of course you should send your thoughts to the RRA.

Cheers all! (and credit to David Shrigley for his excellent Venn diagram)

Wisdom from Yoda