Governance Overview


The purpose of this webpage is to provide an overview of the governance issues associated with the management of the Federation of New Zealand SeniorNet Societies Inc.


The Federation of New Zealand SeniorNet Societies (FNZSS) was established in 2006 to support the learning activities of Member Learning Centres throughout New Zealand with resources and funding.

Legislative Acknowledgement

  1. The FNZSS is an Incorporated Society registered under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908; and
  2. is registered as a charitable entity under the Charities Act 2005.

FNZSS Constitution and Rules

The registered Constitution and Rules documents in detail the manner in which the FNZSS is to conduct its business. This document should be read in addition to this governance overview summary.

Membership of FNZSS

Each SeniorNet Society within New Zealand may apply to become a Member of the Federation, and becomes a Member by resolution of the Management Committee and payment of a joining fee.

The relationship between The federation and member societies is defined by the Memorandum of Understanding (and ratified at the 2021 AGM)

Quality Assurance Guidelines

The Quality Assurance Guidelines (2017) defines the standards by which the member societies operate

Management of the Federation

This is vested in a Management Committee which comprises of eight people elected on a regional basis by Member Learning Centres.

Officers (Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer) within the Management Committee are appointed at the first Committee meeting post Annual General Meeting.

Appointment of Committee Members

Committee members are elected on a regional basis by Member Learning Centres within that region.

A region is defined so as to represent approximately one eighth of the total financial membership of all the Membership Societies.

The eight regional representatives are as follows:

Click the person’s name to start an email to them as Regional Rep
Click the role (in brackets) to email the person in their official role

The Management Committtee may, from time to time second additional people to assist with special projects or to bring specific skills or knowledge to the table

      • The Executive Officer of the Federation (Heather Newell) is permanently seconded to the Executive Committee but has no voting rights
      • The Administration Assistant (Cathy Munford) attends Executive Committee meetings solely to take minutes. She has no voting or speaking rights (unless invited to speak)

All Committee Members are appointed for a two year term with half the positions available, by rotation, for election at each Annual General Meeting.

Nominations are called prior to each Annual General Meeting for membership of the Committee from Regions where their representative is retiring as a result of rotation or has resigned.

Roles of Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and Committee

These roles are defined within the FNZSS Constitution and Rules, and are consistent with those of similar organisations.

Contractual Arrangements – Executive Officer

Recognising the extent of the work required for the Federation to meet operational and support objectives, and acknowledging the time and availability limitations of a volunteer Committee group, it was resolved in 2007 to engage a Contractor to undertake these activities. Grant Sidaway was the contractor until his retirement in  2019.

Heather Newell ( was appointed Executive Officer, starting 1 January 2020. The contact is on an annual review basis at a Committee meeting each December.


  • Committee: Meetings are held at least four times a year either online sessions or face-to-face meetings;
    In practical terms, the committee deals with a wide range of issues, such as sponsorship, advertising, individual Learning Centre administration, finance, contractual requirements of the Executive officer , planning, budgeting, etc.
  • Federation: The Annual General Meeting is held between 1 April and 30 June, with the Committee determining when and where it will held within these dates.
    The business at the Annual General Meeting includes:

    • Minutes of previous AGM
    • Chairperson’s report – business
    • Treasurer’s report – financial
    • Executive Officer’s report – activities
    • Remits – Notices of Motion
    • Approval of plans for balance of year and next calendar year
    • General business



Communications  from the Federation are channelled through the Federation Office, but Learning Centres should communicate specific issues through their Regional Representative (click the individual’s name above to send an email).

An ad-hoc newsletter (Gizmoe) is produced and distributed by email to Member Learning Centres. Other communications such as sponsor offers are distributed in like manner.

Notices in regards to Annual General Meetings and related matters are subject to a specific timetable as prescribed in the Constitution and Rules

Regional Meetings are held at regular intervals (ideally two Regional Meetings every 12 months). Learning Centre management and tutors are encouraged to attend these meetings to exchange ideas, receive information from the Federation and to provide feedback to the Federation on ways to improve the Society. Regional meetings are organised by the Regional Representative and the hosting Learning Centre (with assistance from the Executive Officer) –wherever possible Learning Centres are expected to take turns at hosting Regional Meetings.


Important Dates

  •   Financial Year: 1 January to 31 December
  •   Annual General Meeting: Held between 1 April and 30 June:
    • Committee nominations called no later than 28 days before AGM
    • Member Motions close 28 days before AGM
    • Notice of AGM no later than 21 days before meeting
    • Committee nominations close 14 days before AGM
    • Learning Centres advised of Member Motions no later than 14 days before AGM
    • Learning Centres advised on Committee nominations no later than 10 days before AGM
    • Indication of attendance no later than 10 days before meeting