Our Team

Meet The Team

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JOHN PURCELL QSM JP

PRESIDENT

"My military history is perhaps not as uneventful as I would have liked it to have been, nor were the years of service within the Prison system or the many Govt. Departments I served in spanning almost 6 decades.

What it did do though, was prepare me with the patience and skill sets for providing the ultimate service to our members, the health and welfare of our veterans ensuring they enjoy a quality of life deserving of their service to our country has been one of the most significant personal rewards during my time in office. 

Seeing the Club grow, modernise and prepare itself for a new generation of membership has been as equally joyous. Napier RSA is the oldest trading RSA Club in New Zealand, a history and a tradition that we are eternally grateful for and extremely proud of."

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BRIAN STRONG

VICE-PRESIDENT

"I have been a member of the Napier RSA for over 20 years and, during that time, I have been heavily involved with Adjuncts, Sponsorship, Linedancing, Raffles and the Executive Committee. Presently I hold the position of Vice-President and was honoured to receive a life membership in 2019.

My wife Sharon and I introduced Line Dancing to the Napier RSA prior to either of us becoming members and have brought overseas artists into the club on several occasions. Linedancing is still a big part of our family life.

We ran a Scrapmetal and Importing business in Napier for over 30 years - I retired and my son took over - he now keeps me busier than I was before! My family and I have also been very active in Speedway as a competitor, official and promoter. Now it is my son, son-in-law and grandson who are the competitors."

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DONALD FRASER

PATRON

"I have been Patron of the Napier RSA since 2014 and I first joined the Club, when it was located in Dickens Street, in 1985 and was elected to the Executive Committee in 1995 where I served for 10 years before resigning to assist the CEO with administrative duties. My current involvement is as a member of the Executive Committee, Chairperson of the Events Committee, Poppy Charitable Trust & Napier RSA Welfare Trust. I have also been the Housie Administrator since 2003. It has been a pleasure to have been involved with the Napier RSA over the last 26 years, and, if age and health allow, I hope to be around for a while longer."

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ALAN LAWTON

COMMITTEE

"I am an ex SSgt with the RNZAC (Armoured corps and Senior Constable Instructor, with the NZPolice). I joined this RSA in the mid to late 1990’s then in 2002 I moved to the central Nth Island to Turangi. My RSA membership continued with the Turangi RSA, I was on the Executive for 10 years, 5 of those years as the Vice President I was also elected to the District Executive three years prior to moving to Australia in 2014. I was asked in 2016 to be a Veteran Support Advisor here at Napier RSA. I was seconded onto the Napier RSA Executive and for last 3 years the membership have elected me to the Executive.

My current duties are Veteran Support, Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and train the staff and executive in Gaming harm minimisation and Governance. I received a Napier RSA certificate of merit and a RNZRSA merit badge in 2019. I will continue to assist ex servicemen and women the RSA members and their families."

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THOMAS HAMMOND

COMMITTEE

"I am married with 4 children, 6 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

I am retired and before my retiring, I was a support worker for a very high level mental health business which I enjoyed very much - nothing like getting a smile or a thank you at the end of your shift from the clients I looked after.

I have been a member of the Napier RSA for many years. My mum, Lenora Hammond was an Honorary Life Member and was active in the RSA Women's Section. So I feel it is time for another Hammond to step up and be on the Executive Committee.

I think that being on the Committee is an honour, not a right, and I'm very proud to be on the Committee. I am looking to the future for the club and members and will try to make this club a club we are proud of.

Over the last year I feel that I have learnt a lot and have helped out in the events committee and different adjuncts and have valued my time here.

I have made a lot of friends and look forward to making more as the year goes on. "

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CRAIG WILLIAMS

CEO

"We will be here a couple of years, maximum of 5" I assured my wife almost 25 years ago.

After a short and uneventful stint in the Army, I spent a good part of my working life owning and running businesses. Six years in hospitality is certainly a positive precursor to managing the Napier RSA.

Being part of the Management Team at the RSA spoils you for life, no two days are the same and there is always a fresh crisis to make you feel challenged.

Over the years, Clubs (those that do better than just survive) have evolved unprecedentedly, and we live in an almost space age of technology that assists us in better preparing and actioning a great Club experience for our members, their guests and affiliated members.

Over the years the Napier RSA has been fortunate by investing heavily in and on our premises making it one of the 10 best clubs in New Zealand, something as a member and a part of the Management Team that I am extremely proud of."

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BEVERLY RUSSELL

COMMITTEE

From a few pots and pans 30 years ago Bev Russell established the start of the Napier RSA Restaurant in the now upstairs office area of the Club. Over the years the Restaurant developed under the hardworking and dutiful loving care from Bev, building food sales from a few hundred dollars each week to a record $2.4 million per year and in excess of 30 staff just prior to retirement. Retiring in 2017 did not signal any rest for Bev. With a lifetime of interest in ‘her oldies’ as she fondly referred to our senior members, Bev undertook the role as a Welfare Officer on behalf of the Napier RSA with Hospital, Rest Home and Residential visits. With every visit Bev would drop off a packet of biscuits or some lollies but most important she would share time and company to those that were alone or in between family visits. Bev is a Life Member of the Napier RSA and is as dedicated today in her involvement with the Club and its members as she was at the beginning of her career at the Club in 1992.

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KEN LYNCH

COMMITTEE

"I am a retired Secondary School Teacher and have taught in 5 communities where I have served with golf, rugby, harness racing club, Board of Trustees and Whakatane Community Board (3 times elected).  As well, I have been an active rugby, volleyball and hockey coach.

I work part time driving buses and serving the RSA. Having served a number of years on the Executive, I am responsible for the Sports Council, Rules & Discipline as Chair and have been part of most other functions of the Committee. 

My passion for RSA work comes from having two Grandfathers return from WW1, my father from WW2, a son recently retired from the Army and my 20+ years of NZ Cadet Force service.

My interest is in services to surviving armed forces personnel who can often be forgotten as needing assistance."

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NOELA THOMPSON

COMMITTEE

Women’s Section President and Welfare Officer, Noela is never not busy with RSA Club Business, often in and around the Club sometimes every day of the week. Noela was first Co-Opted onto the RSA Executive Committee in 2017 as part of a trial programme by RNZRSA to engage Women’s Section Members to become more involved with Club Business. So successful was the Head Office initiative that Noela has been either Co-Opted or stood for office every year since contributing a valuable voice to RSA business matters. Noela is heavily involved with Women’s Section and is one of the longest standing Presidents and a Life Member of both the Women’s Section and the Napier RSA. Any new members to the Club that wish to be involved with Women’s Section should contact Noela as they are always looking for new members to grow their Association numbers. Women’s Section meet every month and have very interesting guest speakers. Throughout the year Women’s Section hosts visits from other Clubs, have an annual Birthday Function and operate independently from the main Club with their own election of officers.

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VERONICA SHEARSBY

COMMITTEE

"Originally from Auckland, I moved to Napier in 1999 making it my home for the past 22 years. I have brought up two children and seen many changes and challenges in the area. With five returned service members in the family it was only natural the RSA would become family too. Growing up within the RSA community I have been involved in RSA’s Christmas functions, youth group tour, debutante ball and cadets. Being an RSA member (various RSA’s) for 25 years and having an interest in the wellbeing of the RSA, it’s members and the community, I hope to help make positive changes for the future by bringing a more youthful view to the committee. Me mahi tahi tātou mō to oranga o te katoa We must work together for the wellbeing of everyone."

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KATHERINE DUNSTALL

COMMITTEE

"Throughout my life I have had strong values of community service and helping those in need instilled in me. I have a strong interest in helping different people from all walks of life. I have watched my parents connect with the community across various different roles. As I have grown within our family business, I have had many opportunities to help out in our community, from assisting the local R.S.A’s to supporting the New Zealand Embalmer’s Association. Being a committee member of the Napier R.S.A will help me extend myself on a voluntary basis and also be a further area where I can assist the community. Outside of the various things I am involved with, I enjoying spending time with my family, getting out in the boat fishing and in the summer months I enjoy heading off water skiing."

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ANNE WOOLRICH

ACCOUNTS MANAGER

"After retiring from a 30 year banking career I joined the work force at the Napier RSA in July 2010 as a part time meet & greet person on the front counter. A role I relished, meeting all our members and visitors. Before long that all changed when they realised I had a few clues and moved me sideways into admin and then up the stairs!

I am partner to Graeme, mum to 3 sons and Nannie to 9 local grandies, lots of fun when they come to visit be it home or at the RSA.

My interests include reading, gardening, fishing, travel and needless to say spending time with family.

My work, I love being a numbers girl, the role is right up my alley.

I do look forward to coming downstairs on pension days and hosting the pension day raffles!"

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TRACY GEMPTON

OPERATIONS MANAGER

"Having always been customer orientated, from my days a Vet Nurse to employment in retail & hospitality, I have warmed to my role within the Napier RSA.

I am married to Tony and have one son.  I enjoy reading, gardening, breeding and showing pedigree dogs around the country.

The Napier RSA is owned by the members, what we do on a daily basis is to benefit our members. I believe that we offer a wide range of activities. I enjoy planning special events for them.

We have a small-dedicated team of staff. Most have been here for many years and are part of our RSA family.

If you do decide to join this club, I look forward to meeting you. My door is always open."

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ASHLEY JONES

NORFOLK LOUNGE RESTAURANT OWNER

"After an extensive career in both New Zealand and Australia I am delighted to be offered to begin new chapter with the Norfolk Lounge at Napier RSA. Coming to Napier RSA is a refreshing change in my career and have been overwhelmed with support from staff, members and guests. It is great to be a part of such a strong community organisation. My vision for the Norfolk Lounge is to see development and growth in our offering, providing a fantastic experience to both our members and guests. I am excited to bring my experiences and work with our team to elevate what is already a great venue. Having moved from Sydney, Australia to reside in Auhriri with my wife and 3 children I feel lucky to live in such a great part of the world. Napier fast becoming a vibrant little city offering a great lifestyle to both work and play."

"GREAT PLACE, JUST VISITING AND STAFF WERE AMAZING, GREAT SERVICE, FOOD WAS REALLY GOOD TOO.

NEENEE GO

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