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Waikato Hockey Association’s new Full Time CEO

Date: 1/11/2022

The Waikato Hockey Association Board (WHA Board) is pleased to announce the appointment of Craig (Hemi) Webber as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Waikato Hockey Association (WHA). Effective 1st December 2022, Craig will move from the current position of Acting Chief Executive Officer to a full time CEO role.

WHA Board Timeline of decisions

In February 2022 several existing long standing WHA Board members decided that it was time to leave their posts on the WHA Board.  At the same time our WHA CEO Declan Wyndham-Smith had also decided to resign and move forward in his career with a new opportunity.  This left quite a gap in leadership which in turn has led to a relatively new WHA Board and a change in Staff leadership coming into the 2022 Hockey Season.

Prior to  the March 2022 WHA AGM the ‘Management Team’ was put in place by the WHA Board as a stop-gap measure, given the economic outlook at the time it was believed that it would be in the best interest of WHA to take a conservative approach rather than replacing the outgoing CEO immediately.  The WHA Board was also overseeing the day-to-day operations working closely with the new Management Team.

By June 2022 the WHA Board had started to revisit the idea of employing a leader given our season was in full flight, the potential impacts of COVID on the season, and any possible fiscal challenges that we might have had to navigate, had since subsided.

Discussions as to the way forward continued with several options being considered, with the Board  ultimately making the decision to employ Craig as the Acting CEO.

From August 2022 onwards Craig took up the position of Acting CEO and started to provide leadership and create the energy that was vital to the continuation of the 2022 hockey season.  The culture and community spirit of  our organisation was starting to come back into full swing.  The Community were noticing a fresh new vibe that was becoming contagious around the Pavilion.  Thankfully it was not the vibe of COVID.

Finally at the end of September 2022 the WHA Board began consulting with WHA staff to decide a permanent way forward.  The results from staff interviews showed that a feeling of momentum and energy had returned to the workplace and that staff were happy.  It was apparent to the Board that Craig brings an innovative Business mind mixed with the passion and drive of an Olympic Athlete.  Craig has a personable, calm yet energetic, and compassionate demeaner which enables him to offer the utmost support for WHA Staff and the wider community.

Craig is an ‘ideas person’ and a ‘problem solver’ coupled with a ‘can do attitude’ and ‘never say die’ work ethic.  He has clearly demonstrated his worth and intention to be the best CEO he can be for WHA.  The Board fully supports Craig moving forward and we are excited to be working with Craig and the WHA Staff for the foreseeable future.

On a final note, the WHA Board would like to give thanks to…

Craig for accepting the Acting CEO role back in July 2022, and for doing such an incredible job and service to WHA and the wider community.  From day one you have worked hard, solved problems, invested your time in building a great culture, created engagement within the community , and instigated the delivery of a great end to the season.  You have also revisited our Strategic Plan and started to action a number of tasks.  Well done Craig congratulations.

The WHA Board would also like to thank the WHA Staff for being patient and diligent in their services and administration of WHA functions during the year.  We understand that it was no easy task carrying the weight of operational services after the loss of our previous longstanding CEO, Declan Wyndham-Smith earlier this year.  Thank you to the WHA Staff for delivering yet another great season amid the challenges caused by COVID.

Finally, the WHA Board would like to thank the wider hockey community for being patient with us  as a new Board and allowing us the time to come to what we believe will be a fruitful and exciting decision in moving Craig into the CEO Role.

Tēnā rawa atu koutou, thank you all very much.

Ethan Hohneck (BSocSci Hons)
Waikato Hockey Association Board Chairperson
Rōpū Haupoi Waikato Tiamana Poari