Members of the Outdoor Fabric Products Association of New Zealand (OFPANZ) gathered in Auckland on July 3–5 for their annual conference, marking the 20th anniversary of OFPANZ’s founding in 1988 when fabricators from both the north and south islands were seeking a national entity. More than 200 industry representatives from all over New Zealand, as well as exhibitors and visitors from Australia and the U.S., attended the festive 2008 event. Ana Drougas, membership services officer of the Australia Canvas & Synthetic Products Association (ACASPA), and Steve Warner, CEO and president of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), were honored guests at the occasion, and offered their congratulations on the anniversary for OFPANZ.
A number of people responsible for the establishment of OFPANZ in 1988 are still active in the organization and were present at the recent conference, including Brendan Duffy of Canvasland Holdings Ltd., Levin; Spencer Tankard of Baytex Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Tauranga; Michael Cross of Kolorful Kanvas Ltd., Christchurch; and Peter Sweetman of Sweetman & Sons, Huntly.
OFPANZ president Peter May of Peter M. May Ltd., Ashburton, focused his address at the annual meeting on the success of the association’s industry training program. Today, OFPANZ has almost 50 participants involved in its apprenticeship certification program, an initiative supported through the Motor Industry Training Program (MITO). Finding, training and keeping skilled employees is an important issue in many countries.
At the closing banquet, May honored all the past presidents of the organization in attendance, and then introduced incoming president Grant Clausen of Clausens Canvas & PVC, Leeston. Jacqueline MacFarlane was acknowledged for her service as the national secretary since 1997. MacFarlane, who had also served as the OFPANZ president in 1996, has announced her retirement at the end of April 2009.
The next OFPANZ conference is scheduled for June 26–27, 2009 in Wellington, New Zealand.