Thank you to Hawkes Bay Aquarium Society for asking some good questions we get asked occassionally, the executive has tried to provide some answers to hopefully understand why we have member fees etc.
1- What are the benefits at both club and individual level for being affiliated to the FNZAS? We no longer receive breeding pins, hardcopies of aquarium world etc.?
We believe the relatively small cost of being affiliated to the FNZAS provides numerous benefits to clubs and individuals. FNZAS membership helps support one of the longest running hobby groups in the country and gives fish keepers in New Zealand a voice.
The FNZAS is recognised by governmental organisations as a stakeholder and we represent aquatic hobbyists in New Zealand at a national level to groups such as the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Department of Conservation (DOC), and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd. (NIWA). As stakeholders we have been involved with the National Pet Biosecurity Project at the current state / future state workshop, we successfully applied for a TFBIS grant to build an aquatic plant database (the results are now on the website and are a great resource), and more recently with the MPI Pre Import Isolation and Governments Native Freshwater Bill changes.
We also represent hobbyists at a local level by promoting fishkeeping clubs, aquatic rescue organisations, and tradespeople & retailers who supply our hobby. The FNZAS website Aquarium World (https://aquariumworld.nz) contains a wealth of information for hobbyists. There are numerous articles on many aspects of fish keeping including how-to guides, husbandry guides, and best-practice guides to sustainable fishkeeping. There are extensive and informative databases including approved ornamental fish and invertebrates, native freshwater and marine fish species, and native and introduced aquatic plant species. There is also information on New Zealand biosecurity issues that affect aquatic hobbyists, and a breeding database which is often referred to by other organisations.
The Aquarium World website also contains a number of forums. While these forums have to some extent been superseded by social media sites, in particular Facebook, the forums still provide a central FNZAS repository to post, comment, and store important information that is particularly relevant to the FNZAS such as AGM , biosecurity issues and events that are being held by local clubs; to name a few.
The website also provides an independent platform to post aquatic trades and sales that can be linked to in Facebook. Fish sales are banned on Facebook and listing or referring to them has led to numerous Facebook groups being permanently closed. This is something members need to be aware of and the Aquarium World website provides a useful alternative, that doesn’t cost such as Trade Me.
While underutilised, the Aquarium World website is a great resource and we encourage clubs to introduce members to the many benefits of the website.
2- Why does the Aquarium World magazine cost so much with so little revenue? Is there a cheaper option that could be being used? (have publishing costs been reviewed recently?)
Our flagship publication Aquarium World Magazine offers readers a view of fishkeeping in New Zealand that is both relevant, and interesting at a local and global level. The first edition of the magazine was published March 1953 and we continue to publish informative issues for the benefit of hobbyists. Thirteen issues of the new look high quality online magazine have been produced over the last eight years and the magazine is currently being followed by 264 individuals.
Latest Statistics (past 30 days) for all your publications
Avg. read time
Unfortunately, we no longer offer hard copies of the magazine as the cost of producing and mailing out each issue was increasing and was not able to be covered by interest from the Sievwright Trust. PDF’s of each issue can be downloaded from the Aquarium World website. Hard copies of the magazine can be ordered from ISSUU (https://issuu.com) at the readers’ expense.
In addition as a result of being an FNZAS member you are also able to receive a discount on selected products at a number of aquarium stores around the country. A shop directory can be found on the Aquarium World website and in the Aquarium World magazine. We rely on local knowledge to keep this list updated and to receive a discount you need to produce a FNZAS membership card.
The FNZAS also maintains a breeding registry (which can be viewed on the Aquarium World website) and offers certificates (PDF’s which can be easily printed) for successful breeds and rebreeds. This database dates back to the 1970's and provides important information on what is being bred and maintained in New Zealand. We congratulate the HBAS for their continued dedication to the breeding scheme, over the last year they have won the competition for the most breeds in a club, Congratulations. .
In regard to breeding pins, the FNZAS has not been supplying breeding pins for a number of years. This issue was raised and discussed by the executive and attendees at the 2011 AGM in Tauranga. While a small number of FNZAS members were in favour of re-introducing breeding pins, most AGM participants were not in favour and prior feedback from clubs also did not support this initiative.
3- What is the justification of spending so much on a prize that only increased membership by 7 individuals?
The FNZAS has seen an overall decrease in membership in recent years and several few clubs have folded. As an organisation it is essential that we retain and ideally increase the number of clubs and members. This competition was targeted as a membership drive to try and increase the number of FNZAS members.
The proposed competition was first discussed on the Executive officers only forum on the Aquarium World website in June 2019 - the discussion around this was that we had excess funds, and we wanted to give back to our members as well as act as a promotional drive for membership to the FNZAS. The discussion evolved from there.
A large retailer of aquatics approached the FNZAS and asked to promote the membership drive, we accepted. The prize was purchased mainly from our members’ capitation fees to the Federation. We have to charge a capitation fee as it is a legal requirement for running a society. We also receive interest from the Sievwright Trust and revenue from advertisers. The competition was discussed and voted on by the executive. The proposal was also posted on the Executive forum. Unfortunately, no input was received at the time from any delegates.
The clubs that promoted the membership drive on their Facebook pages, in their local shops and Pet Expos increased their membership. While we would have liked the membership increases to have been greater we believe this was a worthwhile exercise. If the HBAS has any ideas to increase membership of FNZAS, the Executive team would be happy to hear ideas bought to them by their club delegates that we can then discuss and hopefully evolve them into a reality.
4- Referring to the cost of courier to Nelson, why this was required and why is it so high and why does this cost appear to not have been consulted on and approved before it was invoiced
Thank you for explaining this question at the AGM. As explained by the secretary at the AGM this was discussed on forums and was a cost incurred to have all banners and trophies sent to Maxine Lynch so they can be held in one place by an executive member. We have investigated this and have found that we did indeed pay too much for this, the matter has now been dealt with by the FNZAS Executive and monies returned. We appreciate you informing us of this discrepancy.
5- What is the justification of the amount spent on the website when the forums have been made mostly redundant by Facebook?
While Facebook has changed the way many of us interact online as hobbyists, we believe that the Aquarium World website offers several advantages. It is a central repository for FNZAS members to post, comment, and store information that is particularly relevant to the FNZAS.
It is also the Federations public face, our home, a home we own, and it is also a great resource for hobbyists offering a range of hobby/aquarium related information, a breeding registry, useful links, and forums (see Question 1 for more information).
Social media platforms offer a quick fix. They can provide knowledgeable answers and information but they just as easily provide ill-judged or bad advice and it all soon disappears down the page. And if Facebook deems content objectionable (i.e. fish sales) they can close the site down permanently as has happened with a number of sites and the content is lost. Aquarium World content, databases, and forum threads are there to stay and content and threads are usually answered by experienced club members.
Social media is easy to use and is very popular not just nationally but internationally; so we are now utilizing this to our benefit, but we always promote going back to the Aquarium World forums and posting on that, then linking to Facebook.
We are aware how popular social media is and it is a struggle for other forums to compete. The fight to keep forums going is a responsibility of all FNZAS affiliated members. We really appreciate clubs and members using the forums and would love to see more use of it.
6- Was the financials of the FNZAS released in full? If so why is there no reference to spending on Facebook ads or membership cards?
Yes - the financials have been released in full. There is one error of overpayment which has now been corrected.
The Facebook ads and membership card costs were donated by Mark Paterson who wanted it done anonymously.
The Executive spoke about this after the AGM and we agreed if donations were made that they should be noted by the Treasurer to avoid future confusion.
The FNZAS Executive appreciates the time taken to ask the above questions. We encourage clubs to come with us ideas or suggestions in ways they think we can better help or promote the Federation. We are open to any suggestions as the FNZAS executive is nothing without its collective of members.
(FNZAS vice-president on behalf of the FNZAS executive)