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Changing of the guard at the RSA

Changing of the guard at the RSA

The RNZRSA has farewelled its National President BJ Clark QSM at their National Council held in Auckland in October.

Former National President of the RNZRSA

BJ has held the role of National President for eight years but chose not to seek re-election this year bringing to an end over 30 years spent in governance roles within the organisation.

Portrait of BJ Clark wearing a ceremonial Māori cloak

BJ Clark, the former National President of the RNZRSA

BJ first came in to the RSA in 1973 as a young soldier, and when he retired from the Army in 1991 he became involved in the governance of the RSA, first as an Association Vice-President, working his way through District appointments in Canterbury and culminating with being elected National President in 2014.

He had served for twenty-one years in the Royal New Zealand Corps of Engineers, attaining the rank of Warrant Officer Class One.

He served overseas in Moscow as part of the team that refurbished the New Zealand Embassy, completed two postings to Singapore, deployed to Fiji, Antarctica, and the Sinai.

“New Zealanders and New Zealand Governments haven’t always understood the challenges that face our Armed Forces personnel and veterans."

"I was determined to ensure future generations of veterans were able to access support when they needed it — and that New Zealand as a whole valued the sacrifices made on their behalf,” said Mr Clark.

BJ represented the RNZRSA at numerous international occasions, most recently the funeral for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

For 30 years BJ has been part of the governance of the RSA, and worked hard to ensure that local RSA’s had the guidance they needed to deliver support to veterans in their areas.

“Local RSAs are often at the heart of their communities and provide a visible reminder to New Zealanders of the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces. I’m very proud of the work that has been done in recent years to revitalise the RSA’s support network and help the current generation of veterans realise that their service is just as valuable as their forebears.”

National Office Chief Executive, Marty Donoghue said that BJ’s service to the RNZRSA has been significant.

“The role of National President of the RNZRSA is a demanding one, and for anyone to give eight years of their time voluntarily to the role is incredible. BJ has brought passion, dedication, patience and kindness to the RNZRSA and his wisdom and guidance will be greatly missed.”

Sir Wayne Shelford, BJ Clark, and Sir Jerry Mateparae standing together at an event

Sir Wayne Shelford, BJ Clark, and Sir Jerry Mateparae

BJ Clark was farewelled from the RNZRSA by Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM, QSO, KStJ and was presented with the RNZRSA Badge in Gold (RNZRSA’s highest honour) and Life Membership.

New National President of the RNZRSA

Sir Wayne served over a decade in the Royal New Zealand Navy, and has a strong family connection to the military with four generations having served.

In the early days of the new role, Sir Wayne is looking forward to tackling some of the challenges facing New Zealand’s veterans and their whānau.

Portrait of Sir Wayne Shelford wearing medals

New National President of the RNZRSA, Sir Wayne Shelford

He Aha Te Mea Nui o Te Ao,
What are the most important things in the world?
He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata
Tis the People, Tis the People, Tis the People. 

You can read more stories and updates in the Summer 2022 edition of the Veterans' Affairs Magazine.

Magazine cover of a man and woman talking at an event for veterans

Read the Summer 2022 Edition of the Veterans' Affairs Magazine [PDF, 9.7 MB]


02 January 2023