The Future of the Mangawhai Domain is Not in Doubt:

In light of recent publicity, the Mangawhai Domain Committee feels it is an appropriate time to refute a lot of the false and misleading information that has been put out in social media, press and idle uninformed talk. We want to reiterate that the Domain is in good hands, as it always has been, and its future is not uncertain. The summary of events is as follows:

On June 12th our annual AGM took place and, unlike a normal AGM, it attracted a relatively large crowd (unusual, to say the least), the reason for which would soon become obvious. The due process of this meeting was not followed as the spokesperson for the Mangawhai Football Club (MFC) proceeded, unabated, to take to the floor and denigrate the existing committee with misleading and malicious comments designed to influence the mainly soccer related crowd in attendance. Amongst other things, he stated that the Committee was anti sport, opinionated and dysfunctional. None of this could be substantiated and our track record will show this not to be the case. It is our belief that the crowd was asked to attend (along with a reporter) with the intention of getting soccer club members into influential positions on the executive committee and removing two longstanding committee members (including the Chair). The Committee was unprepared and on the defensive right from the start due to constant attacks from a very vocal crowd for almost an hour. In hindsight, the meeting should have been shut down at that point.

The fact is that most of the Committee have served many years of dedicated service, offering much time and effort, often at a personal cost to themselves and their families, for the benefit of the community to ensure that this publicly owned asset retains the high standard that has been achieved in the past and be available to all its users equally. The role of the Domain Society is as a governing body and its role is to maintain the infrastructure and undertake improvements as finance allows. It is reliant on an annual gala day for funds to do this (as well as hall and ground hire, occasional grants and user fees). It is our job to encourage sports clubs and other activities at the Domain.  It is not our job to fund individual sporting groups as all our funds go into maintaining the infrastructure.

Following the events of the AGM, the remaining old committee members that were re-elected resigned at the first committee meeting held immediately after the AGM on the basis that they could no longer work with the newly elected Chairperson and Vice Chairperson following their attack on its former members and the old committee’s knowledge of the ultimate goals they had in mind. This left a standoff between the two committees for some time. Despite calls for us to hand over the books, this was deemed untenable as the new committee no longer had a quorum to continue or form another committee as per our constitution.  We can only pass these over to appointed officers.

A legal opinion was sought by the original committee from a leading Northland Law firm and it was identified that the Domain Society was in breach of its constitution and needed registered members to vote at an AGM. It stated that the AGM was therefore null and void and that the committee should revert to the previous one before June 12th. We now need to compile a register of members and hold another AGM so that it will be the members who are able to vote in a legal committee and we are in the process of doing that. We are now effectively a caretaker committee to keep the facility running on a daily basis until we are ready with members in place to hold the next AGM. It will then be up to the new committee to decide what direction the Domain will take next.

The Domain Committee has never denied anyone the right to play sport at the Domain.  The MFC was offered space for their proposed project (fields and buildings) at the back part of the fields and told that it would be on a lease basis similar to the way the tennis club works. They were also told this would need to be self funded, also similar to the tennis club. This was agreed to by the MFC as indicated in the minutes. This situation had changed by the time of the AGM, however, in that we were accused of being anti-sport and not providing funding. It seems the agenda of the MFC has changed and we have reason to believe that they now want the existing building for their clubrooms and NFF compliant sports fields in front of the buildings. This would severely restrict other users as the high standard required of the fields would mean limited access to them for other activities including the Gala day. The MFC have previously requested a liquor license be allowed for the main building and had been turned down by the Committee. Our belief is that this will be their intention in the future and will fund the operation of the Domain instead of the Gala Day. It is also our belief that this is not in the best interests of the community and a contravention of the spirit of the Domain constitution.

Some accusations against us have been put into the press and social media recently via leaked confidential emails to further discredit the Committee and we refute these and present the facts:

Secret meetings of the committee: this was an informal gathering, of a few, to discuss some issues that had cropped up. It was not an official meeting and not minuted, the secretary was not present but a summary was later sent out. It was not an official meeting and a committee member who leaked this information was also present. There was nothing illegal (as claimed) or binding in it.

Altered AGM minutes: This was simply a matter of one committee member attempting to correct a technical mistake in the minutes. It was a draft proposal to the committee only and a further look at these leaked emails would have shown below the message that the other committee members responded straight away to say that this was unacceptable and it never went any further. It was never used as a legal document anywhere and never will be.

Operating outside the constitution: this refers to the lack of registered members as above. We are addressing this problem now. The Mangawhai Domain has been operating for over 20 years without this requirement in place. No one knows how that came about or why and no one has brought it up over all that time. It was not the fault of the last committee that this has occurred but it is us who are setting about fixing it.

Filing of Accounts: it has been incorrectly stated that the Committee have not filed their annual accounts for the last 7 years. We have filed all our annual accounts, up to the last financial year, and they are on the Charities Commission website, as required by law. It is no longer a requirement to file them on the Incorporated Societies website if they are filed as above.

Paying committee members for mowing and maintenance: there is a limit on the amount of volunteering one can do for an organisation and someone needs to do these jobs. Some of this is done by longstanding committee members who have been approved by the committee at favourable rates and with the best interests of the Domain at heart. There is nothing untoward or unconstitutional in doing this (as referred to in clause 21 of the constitution).

There are a lot of other misleading statements and accusations on social media, which have no basis in reality, by persons with little knowledge or perception of what really happens at the Domain.  It appears to be part of an active campaign to destabilise the Committee and derail the due process we are trying to achieve.  They have never been to any of our meetings and it is a shame they have never been able to front up and see what we actually do for the community.

We hope the above clarifies the events that have led up to this point.  The Domain is running smoothly and efficiently as always, we continue to organise the Annual Gala Day, the largest event in Mangawhai, attracting crowds in excess of 5,000 every summer and generating a good income for the Domain and local businesses alike.  The public needs to consider the true motives of the MFC and its repercussions for the Domain and its other users.

The benefit of becoming a member of the Mangawhai Domain Society Inc, for the $5 per annum fee, is the privilege of being a part owner of this wonderful facility and being able to ensure the continuation of the vision of the early purchasers of this land and it’s subsequent members.  The vision is for everybody to use the Domain fairly and equally and making sure those that follow will have the same opportunity. The members actually own the Domain and it is enshrined in the constitution that it be available for the general public to use it. There are not many large open spaces freely available for the public to use in Mangawhai so, please, lets keep it that way.

Our thanks for all the support we have received from the people who see first hand what we do and the difference we have made, for the better, over the years. Also, to all the others who are keen to see our vision of a facility for everyone, sports and casual users alike.

The Mangawhai Domain Committee  

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