Motorcycling NZ boss looks to the future
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There are 52 weeks or weekends in the year, but the governing body for motorcycle sport in this part of the world -- Motorcycling New Zealand (MNZ) -- offers more than 500 events throughout those 12 months.
And these are enjoyed by more than 25,000 riders from all around the country.
These activities are also appreciated by friends, families and fans of the riders who either attend the events or scan social media sites, read the nation's newspapers or check the internet for news of the riders' exploits.
MNZ's own catch-phrase -- "advancing the sport of motorcycling" -- and its guiding principle of "keeping motorcycling safe, fun and fair" sums it all up.
Now more than five months into her role as MNZ CEO, Aucklander Virginia Henderson has a firm grip at the helm of the organisation.
Appointed in February to the role of MNZ's general manager, the 53-year-old from Ramarama has familiarised herself with the day-to-day workings of the organisation and is looking to future developments.
"In offering me the role, my guess is that MNZ was looking for a sporting body background," said Henderson. "And someone who has strengths in team building, commercial management, brand marketing, networking with stakeholders and leadership, and was passionate about advancing motorcycling in New Zealand.
"We spent many years as a family travelling to motocross events. We have many great memories of motocross weekends away with family and friends."
Now a life member of the Pukekohe Motorcycle Club, Henderson was instrumental in the club receiving funding to acquire a club house, with a dedicated medics' room as part of that.
She was club secretary and remained in this position for four years, before starting her work for Hockey New Zealand.
"From my role as the commercial manager for Hockey New Zealand ... and prior to that I held a number of leadership roles within the airline and travel sector ... I had the opportunity to take all that I'd learned and apply this to a different sporting environment with MNZ.
"I have not come into the job at MNZ with any preconceived ideas for change. I have been keen to listen, to learn and understand what our members want.
"In my first three months I attended 10 events and as many prize-giving events as I was able to attend, all of which proved extremely beneficial as I got to talk to riders, officials, clubs, life members and manufacturers, who all have different perceptions of Motorcycling New Zealand."
She also acknowledges the MNZ office staff, who work tirelessly to ensure the organisation runs smoothly.
With a huge passion for the sport and a dedicated crew behind her, Henderson sees a big future for MNZ.
She says the motorcycling community is "a family" and, as lifestyles can be different now with people having less time and wanting more, Henderson accepts MNZ must continue to advance.
"We have seen significant growth in our secondary schools and trail-ride numbers because these activities are easy, don't cost a lot and can be enjoyed by the entire family.
"I am humbled by the huge number of hours that so many individuals put into our sport, especially the commissioners where many would put in as many hours as their day job each week."
Henderson said the motorcycling organisation had plenty of projects on for the future.