While celebrating its silver anniversary year, the organisation formerly known as the New Zealand Master Pool Builders Guild has evolved into the New Zealand Pool Industry Association Incorporated (NZPIA).
Larry Ogden, CEO of the NZPIA, says the decision was made in order to involve more than just pool builders in the association, and to help educate the broader industry population including the staff of pool shops.
“There’s no great source of knowledge here except our diploma course, and if we can have the retailers have their staff join and do the course for free, at least they’ll have some knowledge,” he says.
However, only pool Builder Members will have voting rights.
“We virtually changed the association into a corporation by not having voting – the executive is chosen from the members who have been put forward. Then we are fairly autonomous. It’s an improvement because the executive has serious corporate meetings and makes fully debated decisions, instead of having to get the whole Membership to agree. We’ve had some Exec members resign and some were let go – but we’re getting new blood with four younger people recently joining the Executive, which is good for the future.”
The name change was announced at the recent celebrations at Rotorua for the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Guild.
The evening was organised by Vicky Templeman who struggled with a broken leg during the lead-up. The night was held in a converted swimming pool, and the entertainment was provided by the appropriately named Mermaids.
Odgen received a presentation to commemorate his 25 consecutive years in the association.
In planning this event, Templeman was assisted by new executive treasurer Darryl Blennerhassett who handles the financial side of the planning, as well as the executive committee including Justin Miharere, Laurie Tanner, Kerry Richmond, and ex-officio executives Neil Runciman, Geoff Bonham and Paul Fuller, and recently retired senior executive, Carlos Morgan.
The original 1992 Members were: Steve Budden, Tammy Dobbs, Kevin Julian, Mike McGurk, John McLaren, Larry Ogden (chairman), Brett Starns, John Sutherland, Peter Thomas, Steve Webster and Kevin Williams.
Honorary life member include: Gordon Nimmo, Carlos Morgan, Bill Strowger, Neil Lewis (deceased), Kevin Julian, Mike Wesseldine (deceased), Geoff Bonham, John Honore, Terry Hunt and Larry Ogden.
A potted history
“Meeting monthly at a downtown Auckland bar, a few of us ‘rebels’ had decided to form our own pool association as the Master Pool Builders, formed as a trade guild,” says Ogden.
“We were disgruntled ex-members of the New Zealand Swimming & Spa Pool Association Inc., and being a Guild meant there was no corporate body that could be sued, just a trade guild of individual tradesmen.”
The New Zealand Master Pool Builders Guild was formed in 1992 and evolved over the next 25 years as the New Zealand Master Pool Builders Incorporated in 2008, and finally The New Zealand Pool Industry Association Incorporated in 2017.
“The original New Zealand pool association was formed back in 1976 to try to bring some sanity to the relatively new out-of-control pool industry, with the goal of sorting out the almost ‘wild west’ pool business at the time,” he says.
The thought was that by bringing the pool builders together, it would encourage them to change their attitudes to each other.
“They were so antagonistic towards each other in those days that we had to appoint a couple of strong arm ‘master at arms’ members to be on hand at meetings to sort out the fist fights between builder members,” he says.
By the late 1980s many pool builders had left that organisation due to policy differences being adopted by the elected “non pool-builder” committee, and in the early 1990s the collapse of their once successful bonding scheme resulted in a huge debt which virtually put them out of business, setting the scene for the new pool guild to fill the vacancy.
The NZPIA now has more than 70 memberships including Builder members, fibreglass installers, fibreglass pool distributors, equipment manufacturers and distributors, spa pool manufacturers, trade suppliers, pool shops, pool service techs and associate members such as pool trade staff or other categories. However, as mentioned above, only pool builder members can vote.
“We have evolved the guild into a corporate style of management by an appointed executive rather than a committee being elected by popular vote,” says Ogden.
“This allows a diverse organisation of all swimming pool industry members, but maintaining the core direction being guided by the members who create the income: the swimming pool builders.”