Our people acknowledged at Athletics Wellington AGM

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Athletics Wellington AGM

The 2024 AGM was held on Tuesday evening and acknowledged some key people form the Athletics community as part of the Annual meeting.

Duly elected as incoming President was Richard Willis who takes the role as Bernice Dickie retires after her three-year term. Bernice spoke of her early days of involvement in Wellington Athletics as an official which included multiple carbon copy recording of results manually at Newtown Park and how technology has changed the face of officiating, along with seeing the development of many young athletes through team representation.  

Incoming President Richard Willis has a very long history with Wellington Athletics commencing when playing serious rugby in the late 60s, competing against likes of Bevan Smith and Phil Kear. His involvement continued when he started taking his young family and oldest son Steve to Lower Hutt Club in the early 1980’s where he served on the committee for many years. 

Richard later helped Lance Jackson set up Hutt Valley Track & Field, then Annette Purvis with Valleys United for National League competitions.  A team man he competed regularly in walk events of which his passion was ignited with the Norman Read era when a young kid in Taranaki. He has been an integral part of the walk’s fraternity at Trentham United Harriers in recent years. 

He is most known now for his regular announcing of track & field at the stadium which also began with children’s meets in the 1980s including Colgate’s, and National Championships and major events like the Team Ledger Harcourts Capital Classic. 

Richard also enjoys following his New Zealand representative children in their endeavours having attended many Olympics and Commonwealth Games, and World Championships for Athletics and Rowing.  

Life Membership Awards 

Life memberships were awarded to Anne Hare and Mike Ritchie two former New Zealand representatives who have given back to the sport with an immense amount of voluntary work over the last 20 odd years. 

NZL Olympian #715, Anne Hare’s passion and ability for running was possibly fostered in Primary school days in Tokoroa before moving to Lower Hutt, Wellington. Here she became a member of the Lower Hutt Athletics Club beginning her association with coaches John and Penny Hunt who set the young Anne Mackenzie in the right direction for a long and illustrious career leading to the pinnacle as an Olympic finalist over 5000m at Atlanta 1996. Anne was a three times finalist at Commonwealth Games in 1986,1990 and 1994. Anne still holds Senior Women’s Athletics Wellington records on track and the NZ record for 2000m at 5.44.67 set in London in 1986. She was an accomplished out of stadia athlete as a professional on the US road circuit and being a member of the 1st placed IAAF World Road Relay team in 1986, through to her 1997 team captaincy of the NZ teams to World Cross Country Championships and Track & Field Championships.  

In the sport today she is most renowned for her massive contribution to coaching athletes alongside husband Chris through her work at WHAC and Scottish Clubs and several Wellington Colleges supporting athletes to achieve many National titles successes from Secondary School to Masters level. Julie Seymour, Kate McIlroy, Ilandra Bester, and Peter Stevens and numerous club road teams to mention a few.

Anne has served admirably on an administrative front across the sport too. Her many roles has a stadium health & safety officer and commentator at major meets has been invaluable. She is a former member of Committees for Wellington Track & Field, Wellington Harrier Athletic and Lower Hutt clubs. At National level she has served on the Athletics NZ board and several NZ Olympic Committee commissions.  

Mike Ritchie 

Mike arrived in Wellington in 2024 with his family and began contributing as a coach following on from his own distinguished career as an athlete of which he holds five National Pole Vault titles in consecutive years from 1976 – 1980. He was also National Champion in Decathlon in 1979 no doubt the event that help craft his wide-ranging coaching skills of today. He represented New Zealand in these events.  

Since becoming an adopted Wellingtonian Mike has dedicated countless hours to the development of our sport, our young athletes and the region. His passion is in Jumps and Combined events coaching and has supported athletes across a arrange of clubs. Mike has been recipient of multiple AW awards for coach of the year, particularly in the junior or jumps areas. Mike has been instrumental in the development of many of our region’s top athletes. To name but a few particularly in jumps including but not limited to such athletes as Mike has had an instrumental role in developing para-athlete Libby Leikis, High jumpers who have achieved nationally and internationally  Keeley O’Hagan, Imogen Skelton, Naomi Waite, Billy Crayford,  Hugo Jones an Long Jumper Phoebe  Edwards.

Testament to Mike’s coaching character is his most recent success of reintroducing Phoebe Edwards to athletics with great success taking the Senior Women’s Long Jump title after such a short time back in the sport this summer.

Many of these athletes have gained successes achieving numerous Awards and national team recognition from AW Jumper of the year to ANZ’s Pathway to Podium programme inclusion. His working career as a cameraman and videographer ensures he remains abreast of technological developments and provides a great skills background to support his coaching today. 

Mike has also served as Athletics NZ team manager and coach roles with 2015 World Youth Athletics Championships, in Columbia, 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games in Bahamas and several Oceania and Australian Junior tours.

Over the last decade is most valuable contribution the whole sport community of Athletics Wellington has been in his role Equipment Lead

In this realm his tireless commitment to our sport has perhaps become more visible to many on a day-to-day basis. His role came to the fore yet again during the two recent, successful track and field Nationals held at Newtown Park as with previous national events and major meeting where again he showed huge dedication in preparing and upgrading our equipment for these events, creating and modifying many items himself.

Mike has been a great supporter of upgrading equipment for the athlete’s performance benefits and safety. He has contributed heavily to many coaching clinics here at Newtown and across the country. 

Board Elections

Four previously appointed board members Joshua Dorman; Kirsten Kilmister; Andrew Rook; Abi Skelton all stood for election as required to have as elected members. They were elected unopposed. This now leaves three vacancies on the board to be appointed as appointed members