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New era for one of NZ's oldest charities

New era for one of NZ's oldest charities

At midday today, the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind ceased to exist.

In its place a new organisation emerged - The Royal New Zealand Foundation OF the Blind.

This small but significant change marks a new era of leadership for this charity.

For the first time in the RNZFB's 115-year history, governance of the organisation has been put into the hands of its members.

Newly re-elected Chairman Jonathan Mosen says that this event has been a long time coming.

"There have been numerous people involved in this change from its instigation eight years ago, through to the final outcome today.

"The last eighteen months have been particularly exciting as we progressed two member-wide special resolutions, changed the Act governing the RNZFB, signed the Order in Council and held an election for a new Board of Directors.

Mr Mosen points out that the new constitutional structure should give the organisation's supporters even greater confidence in the new RNZFB.

“Donors, volunteers and other supporters will be reassured that the elected Directors will be directly accountable to the blind and vision-impaired of New Zealand for their choices about where donor money is spent.

“The new Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind will continue to provide its extensive range of services to blind and vision-impaired people, and will fine-tune the range of services it offers through consultation on a new strategic plan” says Mr Mosen.

The newly constituted Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind announced their new Board of Directors at their first Board meeting held this afternoon.

The RNZFB has nine Directors - eight of whom were voted in by blind and vision-impaired members and one who was voted in by Associate members (sighted people who support the RNZFB's aims and objectives).

The newly elected Directors are:

Don McKenzie, Auckland. Mr McKenzie is a retired physiotherapist awarded an OBE in 1981 for services to physiotherapy and the blind. He has over 50 years active involvement with the Foundation, including serving as Chairman from 1980 – 1992.

Linda Beck, Christchurch. Ms Beck is a lawyer specialising in employment and human rights law, currently completing her PhD studies. Ms Beck is an active member of several community activities, and is an immediate former Trustee of the RNZFB.

Geoff Gibbs, Auckland. Mr Gibbs began his career teaching at Homai College after receiving a specialist degree in education and rehabilitation of the blind. He served as CEO of the Foundation from 1977 – 1997 and is currently an international consultant in the field of blindness and Treasurer of the World Blind Union. Mr Gibbs was awarded an NZOM in 1999.

Jonathan Mosen, Wanganui. Mr Mosen is self-employed as a web design consultant and operator of an internet radio station network. Mr Mosen has been active in the RNZFB governance reform process since 1996, through his representation of the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand. Mr Mosen is the immediate past Chairman of the Foundation.

Geraldine Glanville, Auckland. Ms Glanville is a retired business systems analyst, who has been active in the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand for the past ten years. She is an immediate past Trustee of the Board.

Nancy Higgins, Dunedin. Dr Higgins is a researcher and lecturer at Dunedin College of Education and a former National Advisor for Orientation and Mobility Services for the blind and vision impaired. Her doctoral thesis examined the inclusion and exclusion of blind people in New Zealand society.

Neville Bennett, Christchurch. Dr Bennett is a lecturer and a current Riccarton community board member. He is also a columnist in economics and social change for the National Business Review and the Otago Daily Times.

Jillian Dalby, Fielding. Ms Dalby is secondary school teacher, specialising in teaching English to speakers of other languages, and a part time farmer. She was a founding member of the Fielding Advisory Committee to the Foundation and has been active in the blind community all her life.

John White, Auckland. Dr White is a member of the Auckland Advisory Committee to the Foundation, and has been active in the blind community for nearly twenty years.

The newly elected Chairman is Jonathan Mosen who held the position on the previous Board. The newly elected Deputy Chairman is Don McKenzie who held the position on the previous Board.

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