Board John Knight

President's Report 2022

From the 2022 ARFNZ Annual Report

"It has been another year marked by COVID-19 disruptions, with the Foundation’s Chief Executive Letitia Harding and her team having to be adaptive and innovative to deliver on our strategic goals. As a Board, we have been pleased at how ably the ARFNZ team has managed this period of uncertainty and change, while continuing to deliver vital education, advocacy and research.

One key innovation launched during this year was the digital asthma classroom, now available to all New Zealand schools in English and te reo Māori. The move to an e-learning platform was born of necessity, as COVID-19 restrictions made delivering our live educational shows very difficult. By creating a digital classroom, the Foundation has removed this barrier, and made this important resource more readily available to teachers and students.

Another significant development was the appointment of a new position for the Foundation, our first Māori Community Liaison. This role is part of our wider strategy to work alongside Māori partners to achieve positive respiratory health outcomes. Our first appointment is in Tairāwhiti, and work is already well underway to create meaningful connections that will lead to impactful change.

The Foundation continues to provide valuable leadership in best practice treatment of asthma and COPD through its guidelines. Over the past year, the team has worked to disseminate the guidelines widely throughout the respiratory health sector and has significantly increased the uptake of its Fundamentals eLearning course, an online training option for health professionals.

Research underpins all the work we do at the Foundation, so it was wonderful in the last year to deliver two substantial pieces of research. The first was the 2020 update on ‘The impact of respiratory disease in New Zealand’ report which outlined the most recent data on six respiratory conditions: asthma, bronchiectasis, childhood bronchiolitis, childhood pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and total respiratory disease. This report provides the Foundation with essential data to use in advocacy, research and to supply to media and the public.

The second piece of work was a survey of 19,000 secondary students on their vaping habits. The Foundation cooperated with the Secondary Principals Association of New Zealand to produce a comprehensive report on a subject where information has been lacking. The findings provided important insights and have guided ARFNZ’s advocacy on this topic.

The ongoing financial effects of COVID-19 continue to create uncertainty for charitable organisations. With no Government funding, the Foundation is dependent on grants, donations and support from the New Zealand community. The team strives to create reliable and regular funding to enable the core work of the Foundation to continue. It has been fantastic to see the growth in our corporate sponsorship programme Friends of the Foundation over the past two years. It is encouraging to find so many like-minded organisations willing to support the Foundation’s goals.

We are also deeply grateful for the ongoing support from Pub Charity and the many individuals and groups throughout New Zealand who generously contribute to our work.

Over the last year, the Foundation has been very visible in the media talking on a range of important issues including inequities in respiratory health and youth vaping. The team have also continued to build a wide audience through the website, social media and our e-newsletter database, meaning our valuable resources and updates are reaching more New Zealanders than ever.

The Foundation’s strategic goals are reviewed at the Board’s quarterly meetings with Letitia reporting against our goals, outcomes and deliverables. Annually, we review the strategic plan to ensure our goals line up with the needs of the respiratory community. I would like to thank our Trustees for dedicating their time, and their wide range of skills to the Board.

It’s the people that make an organisation, and the Foundation is very privileged to have a dedicated, passionate team led skilfully by our Chief Executive Letitia Harding. Letitia brings immense professionalism, vision and commitment to this role and continues to be a strong advocate for our respiratory community.

We are also backed by New Zealand’s leading health experts through our Scientific Advisory Board. Their insights and knowledge are greatly valued by the Board.

Sir John Clarke, the Foundation’s Chief Cultural Advisor – Māori, contributes invaluable wisdom to the Board and team, helping us to have a deeper appreciation and understanding of Te Ao Māori.

Finally, I want to offer my sincere thanks to our community of supporters, stakeholders and partners who share our vision for improved respiratory health outcomes for all New Zealanders. We will continue to strive towards this goal."

- John Knight, President