President’s Report

From the President…

To say this year has not gone to plan would be quite the understatement.   That’s not entirely correct- we started off well… and then the Coronvirus reared its ugly head!

In March most of our committee members, along with those from other upper North Island Literacy Councils, attended a New Zealand Literacy Association (NZLA) workshop for a day of collaboration and strategic planning.  The amazing keynote speakers for the NZLA 43rd National Conference were announced.

Joan Gibbons was presented with a Life Membership at our AGM, held in early March, for her many years of service to our committee.

Until 2 weeks ago I only knew of Zoom as an onomatopoeia to express fast movement. However this new digital platform is one of many that will enable organisations to continue business as usual in a world that is currently anything but usual.  

The Waikato Literacy Association (WLA) committee will continue to meet remotely as the nationwide lockdown continues.  Although holding regional activities will prove difficult at this time we are looking for creative ways to support literacy in our region.  Planned events- Dr Rae Si’ilata (27th May), Libraries Alive (1st July) and Sheena Cameron (23 July) may still go ahead depending on our country’s Alert Status and whether we can meetCOVID-19 pandemic requirements. We were disappointed that our ‘Literacy Through Play’ event was cancelled in March however we have rescheduled the event for early in 2021.

The NZLA 43rd National Conference that was to be held in Taranaki, late September, has been cancelled this year.  I am sure the reasons are self-evident.

There are lots of things ‘less’ that have disrupted our lives: less face to face socialising with friends and family outside of our bubbles; less travel; less spending and less busy-ness (unless you are on the frontline of essential services in this current state of lockdown).  But many of us have lots of ‘more’: more time with our immediate families; more time for exercise and long walks; more time to read to our children; more time to readfor ourselves.  Amongst other things, these tumultuous times have given us an opportunity to examine what literacy means for each of us.

I would like to thank our Past President, Sandie Haddock for her outstanding leadership over the last couple of years while she presided over WLA.  She has always been a dedicated educator with a passion for learning and love of literacy. Although Sandie will be busy as she continues to work for Scholastic, in her new role as National Sales Manager,  we will still benefit from her expertise on our committee.  I am grateful for the guidance and support she is providing asI become familiar with my new role on the committee.

On behalf of the Waikato Literacy Association we want to wish you and your families well for the remainder of the lockdown and beyond.  Please forward any queries or comments to

Take care, stay safe- and remember to wash your hands!

Todd Burton

President of Waikato Literacy Association

Photo: Joan Gibbons (left) was presented with a Life Membership at our AGM in March. Past President, Sandie Haddock (right).