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Does the Association matter?

Well it depends on what you think it does. Established in 1967 as a "club of clubs" it was created to provide an indpendent organisation to represent railway modellers by supporting their organisations. 

In some respects the Association was established as a breakaway from what is now the Guild. The Guild (established in 1947) was beginning to focus more on modelling the New Zealand prototype railways rather then the wider modelling fraternity which included so many other prototypes. The Guild had organised the first National Model Railway Convention in 1966, however in order to ensure Conventions covered all modelling interest it was felt that an indpenndent group would be a better approach. 

The Guild at the time was also aware that the burden of organising conventions would put a considerable strain on their resources. The idea was that clubs in different parts of the country would sponsor each convention and would be provided with financial and other backup support by the new Association. The second National Model Railway Convention was held in 1968 in Auckland and was sponsored by the Auckland Metropolitan Model Railway Club - and so this practice has continued for the last 56 years.

There were other reasons that the Association was established. One of these was to negotiate with the Government on the significant cost of sales tax on model railways as they were, at the time, classed as toys. Another was to provide regular newsletters covering railway modelling from around the country and around the clubs. A thrid was to provide support to local clubs should they wish to put on an exhibition in their own area where perhaps they did not have the funding or the skills.

The world has moved on. Sale tax has gone away to be replaced by a universal goods and service tax. Email and social media have largely superceded the need for newsletters. For a while the Association published a printed magazine called the Coupler for distribution to member clubs (and some individuals who also joined).The Coupler was a magazine that covered a wide range of modelling interests. 

Clubs (or other informal groups of modellers) these days are well established and are putting together exhibitions, modelling days and other get togethers without any additional support from the Association.

Today, the primary purpose of the Association is ensuring that conventions continue and to provide support to the wider railway modelling fraternity.

The Association Executive has concluded that it is time to review the purpose and direction for the Association and has developed two alternative approaches. There is of course the third alternative which is to wind up the Association as being no longer useful. These alternatives (including the winding up option) will be debated at the Association's Annual General Meeting  in Christchurch at Easter 2022.

So what are the alternatives?

  1. To revitalise the Association with a range of new promotions and dvelopments to extend its support to the modelling fraternity. The Association would continue as an incorporated society with membership being clubs and individuals,.These ideas are detailed HERE.
  2. To simplify the support for conventions by converting the Association into a Trust comprising trustees appointed by model railway clubs. Its sole purpose would be to ensure that conventions continue and to provide such other support to local groups who may seek assistance. This proposal is detailed HERE
The Association Executive is keen to obtain feedback on these ideas to inform the AGM next Easter. They have provided a feedback form here for you to send back.
Full details are provided on the Association website here 
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