Bringing back the grey

Efforts are being made to revive Grey Power’s Te Awamutu branch – but a full committee is needed to make it happen.

The branch has been in limbo since last year when key executives announced they wanted to stand down – and no replacements could be found for them. President Hazel Barnes treasurer Bernard Westerbaan and secretary Meryl Reardon resigned, but maintained their positions.

“I think there is an opportunity here for us to take this to the next step, I think Grey Power is struggling nationally, through the Covid situation, so we need to kickstart it,” Pirongia based Michael Cullen told The News.

“With Bernard and Meryl resigning, nothing was happening as far as Grey Power was concerned.

“We need a committee to be formed, and I am more than happy to step up as president,” said Mr Cullen, who is also the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) chair.

Bernard Westerbaan and Michael Cullen.

Cullen has been a Grey Power member for more than 10 years, but only became actively involved with the association last year, after speaking with committee members.

He said that through the NZMCA, and his engagement with local government, he was made aware of some of the opportunities that exist for people who are in the 50 and over age bracket, and the importance of associations like Grey Power.

“They all have a common interest in wanting to do stuff and enjoy their retirement and life. I think that Grey Power has an opportunity to do that if we get sufficient interest, and a few people who are prepared to commit themselves to joining the team and making things happen.”

When I look at the volunteers, the potential is huge, because there are a lot of very qualified people out there who are not doing anything.”

He hopes to establish a new committee during Grey Power’s next annual meeting on June 16.

Bernard Westerbaan plans to continue his role as treasurer, provided that a full committee is formed. He, Barnes and Reardon are in support of Cullen becoming president.

“There has got to be a leader, but I still need a good team behind me,” said Cullen.

He hopes that a resurgence can give Grey Power’s constituents a united voice, provide them with a social platform, and make their lives and retirements more interesting.

He suggested the association could also provide education on technology.

“One of the things I am very concerned about is the literacy with smart phones, computers, and worst of all, scamming. It is becoming a real issue and I think we need to educate people in those areas,” Cullen said.

He wants to gain a better insight into what people want from Grey Power at next month’s meeting and is urging potential committee members to contact him before it.

“We need to find out what they want, it is all very well saying ‘this is what we stand for’ but what do the people actually want from Grey Power? There are a lot of people, and the demographics are massively different.”

Westerbaan said the meeting is open to past, present, and most importantly, intending Grey Power members, who are over the age of 50.

“For those who are eligible to be a member, get involved. Because this is the future of Grey Power, and once that is gone, you’re losing a lot of things.”

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