A POTTED HISTORY
by Beryl McKinnell, 2013
Beginning 2005 at Christchurch Conference we were 7 committee members who really had no idea what they had let themselves in for. The idea of a Technicians standing committee of NZASE was proposed by Peter Spratt who was involved with both NZASE and The Royal Society. Funding was to be supplied by NZASE and they set the rules under which we were to operate. Our first President was appointed by NZASE as their rules at that time stated that they were to appoint the president of a standing committee.
In those early days STANZ had no funds, and it was difficult getting NZASE to give us a “grant” to establish the organisation. Membership fees where proposed but vetoed by NZASE, our proposed constitution rejected because as a standing committee we were bound by NZASE rules. Progress was made, but was hindered by the fact that the STANZ committee was 12 months out of step with the NZASE committee, and often approved proposals had to be resubmitted to the incoming committee, and prior decisions rescinded.
The tenacity of technicians shone through and we progressed as an organisation. We had some heated and extensive debates on issues such as union representation, Private versus State schools at executive meetings which, on occasions, further discussion had to be held over for the next meeting to ensure executive members would be able to catch their flights home. The Central Districts newsletter became the National newsletter.
One of the Executive members took on an advocacy role and this assisted a number of technicians to achieve pay and status increases which they were entitled to. Around this time technicians really started communicating with each other via the list-serv and this has established a strong networking system among technicians. The data base was starting to function, and we established a web page on the NZASE website. The web page had its problems as we were unable to make changes and often the information was months out of date. To partially overcome this a conference wikispace was set up to ensure up-to-date conference information was available to those planning to attend, and that continues to be used to date.
A new STANZ logo was established and then STANZ became an independent not-for-profit organisation with its own bank accounts and companies registration. The newsletter went online, sponsors were found for each edition, the database improved using google docs, electronic invoicing for both conferences and the newsletter came into being, electronic voting for executive members happened in 2011, online choices for conference options became a reality. STANZ is recognised as a body to be consulted in the rewrite of “Science in Schools” and the “Code of Practice” which should result in there being a more workable document for schools to follow.
STANZ has come a long way since those early days in 2005, and today stands financially secure, while still retaining ties with NZASE and the Royal Society. The executive can now offer financial assistance to area meetings to subsidise the cost of providing meetings/ educational opportunities for fellow technicians, and scholarships to attend conference (with assistance of NZASE) . The achievements which have been made over the 8 years are all as a result of dedicated technicians putting their hands up to represent their fellow technicians and then working towards achieving this goal. Each and every member of the executive, past and present, has brought in a new skill set and put in many hours in achieving a better outcome for fellow technicians. There is no better professional development available than to get involved with your national organisation.