INDEPENDENT NEWS

New President Plans Quiet Revolution for RSA

Published: Thu 20 Nov 2014 11:32 AM
New President Plans Quiet Revolution for RSA
November 20, 2014
The newly elected National President of the Royal New Zealand RSA is planning a quiet revolution of the iconic RSA movement.
B.J. Clark from Christchurch wants RSAs to become even more effective and relevant to today’s members and the generations to become.
“The spirit of Anzac saw our men and women look out for and support each other and come together in comradeship. A hundred years later I want that same attitude to be enhanced in RSAs throughout New Zealand,” he says.
“My goal is to lead a quiet revolution of attitudes – changing the way Kiwis see the RSA, bringing associations together to share their strengths, showing New Zealand that we welcome them into the RSA movement and championing our current service personnel as well as our veterans.”
Clark says the revolution has already begun. Last month the RSA launched its National Association – a new online based RSA for current service personnel who move frequently and Kiwis of all ages and backgrounds who don’t currently have an RSA connection.
The association provides a range of benefits, allows them to access RSAs in New Zealand and RSL clubs in Australia and provides them with a club card which grants exclusive benefits and deals through a range of quality trusted brands.
It also released its cutting edge online Annual Report. That report showed that membership was stable with some RSAs reporting an increase, revenue streams improved, the Veterans Support Act, providing a new basis for government support for veterans, was passed in Parliament, new sponsorships were launched and recipients of awards were championed.
As the RSA approaches its own centenary in 2016, Clark sees its work as vital as ever. “While we still have men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to serve their country, we have a role to play in looking after them and providing support,” he says.
Clark has been impressed with the resurgence of interest by young people in the milestones leading up to and including the early involvement of New Zealand in the First World War.
“We’ve seen young New Zealanders attending Anzac Day ceremonies in increasing numbers. Many are honouring their family members. Now we want to attract them to an RSA that is relevant and alive,” he says.
Looking to the future, the RSA has begun planning its own centenary in 2016. Whatever form it takes, he wants to emphasise “the new attitude” as it approaches a second century of service.
Clark spent 21 years in the New Zealand Army serving in Singapore, Fiji, the Antarctic and the Sinai Peninsula. He left the army in 1991 as a Warrant Officer and Senior Trades Instructor.
B.J. Clark’s involvement with the RSA movement began when he joined Papanui RSA in 1973.
ENDS

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