New Zealand’s Country Report to the World Service meeting
October 21-25, 2012
A.A. has been in New Zealand since 1946, when our founder, Ian McEwan, read an article in the Readers Digest, and wrote to GSO New York, seeking help. The A.A. Service Structure was initially established in 1964 at a National Conference in Palmerston North.
General Service Conference
The General Service Conference meets biannually and is composed of nine elected Area delegates, 8 Board members (2 Class A and 6 Class B trustees), the two World Service delegates, the General Service Executive Officer (Office Manager), the Conference Chairperson and the Conference Secretary. The only Conference members who have a vote are the 9 Area delegates, the two Class A trustees and the Chairperson of the General Service Board. The Conference Chairperson has a casting vote only. All member of Conference have speaking rights.
Conference currently has four sub-committees: Public Information, Treatment & Correctional Facilities, Cooperating with Professionals, and International. Conference also has the power to establish other committees, if required.
The International Committee is made up of the two World Service delegates, the General Service Board Chairperson, the Conference Chairperson, and the Conference Secretary. The committee is chaired by the 2nd term World Service delegate and the objective of the committee is to ensure that New Zealand participates in international affairs in an efficient, practical and ongoing manner.
General Service Board
The New Zealand General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous Inc, was incorporated on October 7, 1991. This incorporation provides a legal safety net under NZ law that protects individual office bearers from punitive action. The early days of the Board were largely procedural, merely adopting financial statements and the like. However, over the last few years the Board has been re-vitalised and now carries out all the “material work” as per Conference Advisory Action recommendations.
The sole objective and purpose of the Board is to aid and assist the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The Board consists of 8 men and women trustees: six alcoholics (Class B) and two non-alcoholics (Class A). Members of the Board are approved by the General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous after receiving recommendations from the Board.
The General Service Board has six working committees: Archives, Communication, External Relations, Finance, Governance, and Membership. An IT Development Committee is a subcommittee of the Communications Committee and the Mainstay, our national magazine, also comes under the communications committee.
The Board also has the power to establish committees, as required. For example, the Annual Convention Committee, which is set up for each convention and is a separate committee and is formed and dissolved each year.
Asia-Oceania Service Meeting (AOSM)
New Zealand’s involvement with the Asia-Oceania Service Meeting is a major commitment with New Zealand pledging an annual financial contribution as well as, at times, sponsoring countries to attend. The World Service delegates are appointed by the New Zealand General Service Conference and have the dual role of delegates to the World Service Meeting and to the Asia-Oceania Service Meeting
We continue with our Country-to-Country Sponsorship project whereby local groups can sponsor a nation in our zonal area where AA is small or non-existent and assist with donations of literature and any other information required. This project is co-ordinated by the Alternate World Service delegate.
General Service Office
Our GSO is located in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, and is staffed by one paid employees, who is assisted by voluntary A.A. members. The office services a New Zealand Fellowship of an estimated 5,000 members and approximately 500 registered groups.
The office is open daily from Monday to Friday and, outside these hours, a telephone answering service operates.
Our GSO carries a full catalogue of books and literature published by AA World Services Inc and the AA Grapevine Inc. New Zealand also publishes a bi-monthly meeting in print, entitled Mainstay. A regular newsletter is also sent out to the fellowship, advising of any decisions made by Conference and any other general information.
New Zealand has public information committees at all levels, Conference, area and district. These groups organise and conduct public awareness campaigns, which include public A.A. meetings, radio and TV advertising and ongoing speaking commitments in medical schools at hospitals, schools, service clubs and other interested groups. Major public information projects are usually undertaken during Founders’ Week in June and during Public Awareness Week in October.
The Board assists by allocating funding and co-ordinating at a national level along with significant mailings of information, media kits etc.
At the April meeting of the New Zealand Conference, approval was given for a Police Initiative project to proceed as a pilot scheme in Auckland in the first instance. If successful, it will be rolled out nationwide later. Five police stations are involved in the pilot which will involve having a permanent brochure holder affixed to the wall at these police stations containing AA pamphlets and contact details. The five police stations already approached are in full approval of the project and the pamphlets will be replenished by local groups.
New Zealand has a website (www.aa.org.nz) which has been adapted for local conditions, and includes a NZ meeting directory which can be downloaded. There is a ‘members only’ page which can only be accessed by password and this contains information for members such as Area minutes, application details for service structure positions when they become vacant, upcoming events, etc.