BOP rugby chairman stepping down

Paul Owen is stepping down as BOP Rugby Union chairman. Photo. Supplied.

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union chairman Paul Owen is to retire, stepping down from his position in May.

It brings to an end his seven year stint in the role and 13 years on the board.

Owen announced his retirement as part of several upcoming changes to the board during the 110th Annual General Meeting at Rotorua International Stadium on Monday.

“It has been an incredibly busy yet fulfilling time and I look back feeling very proud of the accomplishments and progress the Union has made over this time,” says Owen.

“I am retiring with the Union in a sound financial position which is a long way from the dark times when we were basically insolvent, to now with the Union being the third biggest Provincial Union in the country in terms of playing numbers and having regular success on the field with the Steamers and Volcanix.”

The Bay of Plenty Rugby Board will also put in place a new commercial board that will oversee the investments and the new business that has been developed over the last six months. Current Bay of Plenty Rugby deputy chairman Owen Cooney and board member Hellen Faulkner will become members of the new commercial board.

“Change is occurring very quickly in the rugby environment and we need to change if we are to remain viable and relevant, hence the establishment of the Commercial Board,” says Bay of Plenty Rugby chief executive, Mike Rogers.

“The Bay of Plenty Rugby Board had the foresight to see this and have been bold in supporting a change in the governance structure that will aim to build new revenue streams that can support the development of the game in Bay of Plenty for the long term.

“Traditional revenue is being tested and so we have had to look outside the square to find solutions. It is early days, but doing nothing would mean us going backwards and no one wants that.”

The outgoing chairman also congratulates everyone involved with the Union for their efforts in a tough 2020 due to Covid-19.

A surplus of $183,126 was achieved in 2020. The result would have been a deficit if it had not been for the governments wage subsidy.

“Although delayed due to the lock down, all community competitions for clubs and schools were undertaken,” says Paul. “This was an amazing accomplishment for all the coaches, administrators and helped bring some normality back to people’s lives.”

Don Thwaites has been voted in as vice president and whilst Steve Axtens moves into the president role replacing Kevin Hennessey, who has completed his term.

Dick Littlejohn, was voted in as Patron of the Union again. Dick, who recently turned 90, was then treated to a hearty rendition of Happy Birthday by those in attendance.

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