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New Board ready for 2008 HERO Festival

Wed 29 Aug 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

Auckland's HERO Festival has a new official Trust Board, and plans for a vibrant and dynamic festival for February 2008 are well underway. New Chairman Frederic Guillemont has extensive experience in community development and management in the Pacific region. The rest of the new board has been confirmed as Neil Denney as Deputy Chair, Mike Binis, Richard Kittelty as Secretary and Myke Laagland as Treasurer. “The HERO Board wants to acknowledge the work of its retiring Chairman, Michael Bancroft, who has stood aside as a result of having suffered a mild heart attack recently,” says Guillemont. “Michael stepped into the position of Chairman to keep the board functioning after the last festival and has done an incredible job of managing the board and recruiting new board members. It was with sadness the board accepted his resignation and we wish him all the best. “It is because of all the hard work and the dedication Michael has shown that the Board is now in a position of strength and we are grateful that he has developed a strong board dedicated to bringing the GLTB community another wonderful festival," said the new chairman. The new HERO Board was appointed after invitations by Michael Bancroft to the public to become members through gay media and word of mouth and invitations at various LGTB functions including Gay Auckland Business Association meetings. The board members are all volunteers and meet on a regular basis to plan the HERO Festival each year. The possibility of holding a HERO Parade in future is still on the agenda. The cut off date for applications is 31st August 2007. "The Board hopes to make a final decision by 15th September on whether a parade will go ahead in the upcoming festival,” says Guillemont. "The dates for the festival are being finalised and we will be making a public announcement mid September regarding the party and festival. “Following usual business practice, the board will consider the feasibility of all proposals and their financial credibility before making a decision on if there will be a parade in 2008. At the end of the festival we have to ensure we are in a good position both in terms of public perception and credibility," he makes clear. The HERO Board is responsible for the governance of the HERO Trust . The HERO Festival is managed each year in conjunction with the HERO Board by the Brand Management Group (BMG), which in 2007 was headed by Jane Henley with assistance from Michael Modrich , whom the BMG appointed as fundraising manager. Henley has since stepped aside for personal reasons. "We give her a huge amount of thanks for the work she and her team undertook to bring the 2007 festival to life," continues Guillemont. "We are hoping to get more involvement from the community for the BMG and some wider community representation on the board," said the Chairman. “We are particularly interested in hearing from lesbians and youth who would like to be involved either on the board or at BMG level for the 2008 festival. We would also love to hear from members of the GLTB community who would like to become a HERO 'Hero or Heroine' in 2007/08 and work as volunteers in the lead up to the festival and during the events". The current HERO structure of using the BMG to license the use of the HERO brand works well to ensure that the financial issues of previous years do not affect the festival again, believes Guillemont. “The financial risk is taken by the groups running their own events and this puts us in a much better position. "Whereas once HERO took the financial risk as a board, we now sell the right to use the HERO brand to people staging an event on the HERO Festival calendar. Only those events deemed appropriate are given a licence to use the brand." Guillemont concludes: "The board is looking forward to bringing Auckland a fabulous HERO Festival in 2008 and invites people to join in to help us do that. We welcome comments from the community on events and activities." The email address to get in touch with Frederic Guillemont on is fredoofnz@hotmail.com.    

Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 29th August 2007 - 3:08pm

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