One of our members, Don Donaldson
of New Zealand sent along an explanation of a Veterans Service
Organization in New Zealand called the
Returned & Services Association after I had asked him just what this
organization does. Here is reply:
"Well Bill, very briefly, The Returned and Services Association was
started in 1917 when the troops started to come back from the First
World War. Initially it was titled The New Zealand Returned Soldiers
With the passage of time it was granted Royal status, hence the
Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association. The word
Returned speaks for itself, being ex service people who have
returned from war. The word services are those military people who
never left New Zealand but do, or have served in the military.
Each RSA has a welfare/pensions officer to assist members applying
for War Disability Pensions. I have held that position in two RSAs
for more than 25 years, although I only assist Foxton people now. I
have held a number of Executive appointments in RSAs that I belong
to. I was President of the Palmerston North RSA for two years, but
had served as its Treasurer for seven years before that. I am
currently the Vice President at Foxton and I am the Chairman of the
Foxton RSA Trust Board, which is the welfare arm of the Foxton RSA.
I am also a Life Member of Two RSAs. You may or may not be aware
that Pat Duggan is the District President of the Canterbury District
of RSAs. Does a good job too.
The RNZRSA has well over 100 Associations throughout NZ all kindred
associations. Although there is a headquarters as such in
Wellington. All the other associations are autonomous. The main
philosophy is that of welfare to all current and ex service people
and their wives/partners and family. Most schools and colleges in
New Zealand have a liaison with an RSA in their district. The
children want to know what the fathers and grandfathers did in
whatever war they were at and are in the main very much involved in
ANZAC Day and Armistice Day on the 11th November each
Each association holds a street appeal Poppy Day throughout NZ,
usually on the Friday before each ANZAC day. People buy their
Poppies to wear on ANZAC Day. Most RSAs make well in excess of
$20,000 each year and this money goes to provide comfort and welfare
to returned service people, who are either down on their luck or in
need of medical assistance.
The RNZRSA headquarters holds one major conference each year in
Wellington and each RSA have two or more delegates attending. A
group of members from one end of the country to the other are
elected to the National Executive Committee. This Committee is a
lobby group that brings pressure to bear on the Government of New
Zealand on behalf of all ex service people. A good relationship has
been established over many tears and the Prime Minister, Governor
General and other ministers of the crown attend all conferences.
The RNZRSA is a kindred organization to Veterans Associations
throughout the western world. If the 83rd members belong
to such an American group they would be most welcome in any RSA in
NZ at any time."
here for more on Foxton RSA.