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Nippers Committee

Mitch Board
This will be our fourth year of ANZA Nippers. We originally joined as I wanted to provide our kids, who have never lived in Australia, some of the experiences I had growing up. It also helped that it starts at a nice time on Sunday morning – everything else in Singapore tends to open at 11am! We could give the kids a great day out and still get them back home to beat the heat.
I was quickly wrapped up into Nippers to support the founders, Alex and Skye, and the rest of the team who did an amazing job building it from scratch. Being part of the committee as well as an Age Manager, (plus various other functions) has been extremely rewarding, particularly after you see the kids having a great time on the beach on Sunday mornings.
We have also been fortunate enough to forge some amazing friendships and create incredible experiences. It is a very social activity during normal times, and we will be strengthening the community aspect as soon as MOH guidelines allow.

Steph Condon
Originally, I’m from Ocean Grove in Victoria. I grew up surfing and had very little to do with the local surf club. However, after moving to Singapore three years ago, via Hong Kong, I wanted my son to have a little piece of home. We joined ANZA Nippers and I initially volunteered as Secretary, but as Nippers were short of Age Managers, I found myself leading the U7 group this year. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a lifesaver to lead the age groups. We leave that important skill to our certified Bronze Medallion holders. So far, it’s been a great experience leading the kids – they’re so enthusiastic and such good sports when it comes to participating in races, either in the water or out. Although I really look forward to when restrictions lift so we can involve more parents and engage with other groups.

Jaq Molloy
Our family has been living in Singapore since 2014. Although I am Singaporean by birth, I lived in Sydney for 16 years, where I met my husband while discovering the surf and beach culture. We saw a bunch of kids in ANZA Nippers rashies one morning at Tanjong Beach and enthusiastically enquired about it… the rest is history! We joined in 2018 when Olivia, our eldest daughter turned six. Fast forward to 2021, she is now in the U9 group while Brigitte, my youngest has started in the U6 group.
I volunteer my time as an Age Manager for the U6 group, teaching them beach and ocean awareness. I’m also the voluntary Events Manager, which involves organising parent social nights, year-end celebrations, volunteer appreciation nights and educational sessions around ocean conservation and beach awareness.
As the Events Manager I work with multiple organisations and very closely with Guardians of the Sea, the conservation arm of Resorts World Sentosa on many occasions. One of the highlights of this role was when our Nipper kids participated in the Ocean Heroes Bootcamp by creating a marketing campaign to ban single use plastic. We competed in this global competition to celebrate World Oceans Day in 2019. Our kids learnt a great deal from this experience and although we didn’t win, it was an unforgettable experience for us all.

ANZA Singapore Nippers is a not-for-profit volunteer group where children aged 5-13 participate in fun activities at Palawan Beach to learn essential ocean and swimming skills. Stay up to date with ANZA Singapore Nippers news at anza.org.sg/sports/nippers or by following our Instagram @sgnippers or Facebook page @SingaporeNippers

Street Netball Tournament

ANZA Netball players adored playing a fast and fun Street netball tournament to finish up their season. Street Netball rules state that each team has four players on the court, and players can move anywhere (providing no more than two players from each team are in the goal circle at one time). All players can shoot goals. The duration of each game is 7-minute quarters with 3-minute intervals. Rock Paper Scissors starts the game. All other standard netball rules apply, including footwork, contact, obstruction etc.
With the increase of permitted group sizes to 8, and the return to Tanglin Trust School in the last half of the season, conditions were perfect for the modified game of street netball. Fortunately, the size of each ANZA Netball age group is sufficiently large to allow some great competition across the groups. The players were very excited to have matches to look forward to at the end of the season in a tournament format. The tournament was set up so that the girls (from age 8 and up) rotated each week in groups of four, to take on a different opponent.

Different age groups played slightly different versions depending on their skill level, for example in the younger age groups, players were nominated to be in a shooting role each quarter, and in the older age groups, the matches were longer in duration.
Whether winning or losing, beaming smiles greeted parents on pick up, as the girls played their hearts out and thrived on the competition experience. The season ended with a fantastic bright orange t-shirt gift to all players and a specially designed ANZA Netball mask. The fabulous ANZA volunteer coaches have continued to do a wonderful job throughout the changing season and are now fortunate to get a well-deserved break. But for those players who want more netball, the off-season programme, run by the professional coaches, from April to June, provides additional opportunities to maintain and improve their skills and fitness.

Congratulations to all for a fantastic season – we look forward to seeing you again soon for Season 2021/22 commencing in September, including the first intake for girls born in 2015.


2020–21 Season Highlights

During the 2020–21 season, ANZA Soccer’s motto of ‘fun, friends, and football’ held true, despite the extraordinary circumstances caused by the pandemic. We congratulate the players, parents, volunteers, staff, and sponsors who persevered to make sure the kids enjoyed their time on the pitch.

Getting started
The season started early to make up for lost time during the circuit breaker. In July, pilot summer camps yielded positive feedback from participants and Age Group Coordinators (AGCs). Throughout August, all players could attend pre-season sessions to get back in shape, enjoy old and new friendships, and get used to the COVID-19 protocols. Working in groups of five, players engaged in active drills, fitness exercises and small-sided scrimmages. Volunteers adapted and refined the guidelines in response to government inspectors’ feedback. We were heartened that nearly 800 players registered for ANZA Soccer, and our parent community stepped up to volunteer for all the extra roles, from organisers to temperature takers and safe-management officers.
Once the season officially started on 29 August, we had even better rates of attendance than normal because ANZA Soccer was one of the only games in town! While our usual league games and age-group competitions were not possible, our many willing parent coaches – guided by our professional coaching staff – had fun and varied drills ready each week and were creative in finding new ways to challenge and engage each group of five. Our youngest players focused on fitness, skills and fun, while our older players improved their passing and positioning through multiple touches in 2v2 or 3v3 games.

Training sessions with our professional coaches began in early September and were well attended. At all times, ANZA Soccer’s Code of Conduct applied, and players were expected to uphold our Fair Play ethos.

League play
After a few weeks, we were given the go-ahead for 5v5 scrimmages with a buffer zone between the groups. This made for more authentic soccer play and was quickly adopted. Once the government allowed groups of eight in early 2021, most age groups organised modified league competitions, with points counted from each team’s Saturday mini games. Coaches and AGCs collaborated to agree on special rules to meet safety guidelines and encourage passing and team play. It was a season like no other, but many creative and positive innovations were developed thanks to our community’s can-do attitude.

Our girls-only teams had a very successful year, with players developing strong team spirit, supporting each other, working on their skills, and playing competitively whenever possible. On Saturdays they were a force to reckon with, known for their passing, communication, and patience with the ball. Our Matildas competition teams are proving themselves strong opponents against teams from other academies. We are pleased that our girls’ programme has continued to develop and now boasts at least one Matildas team in every eligible Saturday age group, as well as multiple competition teams across external leagues’ age groups.

Competition teams
Over 250 of our keenest players spent longer than usual preparing for Sunday competition team play! Encouraged by their enthusiastic Competition Team Coordinators (CTCs), they attended weekly practice sessions diligently and were more than ready by the time the government’s regulations allowed for inter-squad play. When the JSSL and ESPZEN leagues finally got up and running in the spring, ANZA Soccer entered over forty 4-a-side teams across age groups and divisions. In our eyes, our comp team players are already winners for their patience and dedication to their sport!

Our volunteers, professional staff and sponsors
ANZA Soccer’s parent volunteers rose to the occasion in record numbers this season! Our Committee put in long hours discussing, developing, and communicating the many rules and protocols needed. AGCs and CTCs kept records, allocated mini-squads, liaised with volunteers and professional staff, and dealt with on-pitch issues. Parents in yellow vests helped everyone remember about masks, check-in, distancing, and entry and exit rules. Our professional coaches and groundskeepers proved ready and able team players in ever-changing circumstances. By helping offset our costs, our generous sponsors ensure that ANZA Soccer remains affordable for all. We thank all these contributors to our success—you certainly went ‘above and beyond’ this season!

Hats off to all our families!
Thank you to all our families for your support and positive encouragement of your children over the 2020–21 season! From our two-year-old’s to our Young Lions B18 team, ANZA Soccer players had fun, played with friends and enjoyed their football in this unique and challenging year. While we all hope for more relaxed conditions next season, we will certainly never forget this one!


Meet the 2021 Executive Committee

President: Adam Martin

Current employment: Private Banker
Years in Singapore? 13
Years on the EC? 11
Why did you want to join the ANZA Exec? I still remember landing in Singapore many years ago without really knowing anyone. Luckily, I found ANZA with their warm welcome in our new home. That evolved into an opportunity to do my part in the ANZA community, which has been an amazing experience alongside our awesome and passionate volunteers!
What skills or experience do you bring to the committee? 11 years across various roles on the Executive Committee, the majority as Vice President and now President. This has given me an intimate view of the structure, processes and people within our awesome association; important as we’ve navigated the COVID-19 situation.
What are your goals for ANZA? Across 2020, ANZA played an even more essential role within our community as we all faced long periods away from home. In this dynamic, fast moving Covid environment I want to ensure the Executive Committee continues to evolve to support our members through this period and continue our amazing 73-year legacy.
Something interesting about you?
I have three girls under five so there is plenty happening in the Martin household!

Vice-President: Megan Kinder

Current role: Relocation Consultant and Realtor
Years in Singapore? 17
Years on the EC? 6
Why did you want to join the ANZA Exec? To be involved in the ‘bigger picture’ and share what I’ve learned from working in an exec capacity in one section of the organisation (ANZA Cycling) to support the wider association.
What skills or experience do you bring to the committee? A long-term outlook, quirky creativity, vast reserves of patience and openness to change, along with a deep understanding of what it takes for an organisation to thrive within the local context and culture.
What are your goals for ANZA? To see even greater diversity across the organisation and for each member to feel they really belong to the ANZA community.
Something interesting about you? An avid wordsmith and word puzzler, I once worked as a lexicographer (writing dictionary entries).

Treasurer: Tristan Perry

Current employment: Head of Tax at Select Investors Australia.
Years in Singapore: 5
Years on the EC: 3
Why did you want to join the ANZA Exec? To give back to the amazing community at ANZA.
What skills do you bring? Bean Counting! I’m an Australian Chartered Accountant and Tax agent and love numbers. I’m also a people person and love to connect, share and collaborate with fellow members.
What are your goals for ANZA? To ensure that the financial function runs smoothly and that we remain in a great financial position to keep ANZA going for at least another 74 years…and longer!
Something interesting about you? My name comes from a remote British island off the coast of South Africa called Tristan De Cunha. My mother was born there, but
her family had to flee when the Volcano erupted.

Joint-Sports Coordinator: Sonia Heath

Current employment: Communications Consultant and General Manager for Active8me.
Years in Singapore? 4
Years on the EC? This will be my second year. I’m looking forward to getting
back out and mixing with the ANZA community and making a difference! It’s been a strange (and somewhat frustrating!) year.
Why did you want to join the ANZA Exec? To meet new people and provide support to the ANZA community.
What skills or experience do you bring to the committee? I have a background in journalism, media relations, and consulting. As an Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Scholarship graduate, I have sat on not-for-profit Boards in Australia. I’m also a former Olympic rower, so I’m thrilled to be appointed as Joint Sports Coordinator. We all want to see sport – the lifeblood of ANZA – return to full capacity.
Something interesting about you? I love stair climbing – Singapore is ideal for it!

Joint-Sports Coordinator: Megan Scott

Current employment: VP Talent Management at Northern Trust
Years in Singapore? 9
Years on the EC? 4 or 5, though not consecutively.
Why did you want to join the ANZA Exec? I received a huge amount of support from the ANZA community when I arrived in Singapore. Being part of the exec helps me stay actively involved. It’s a chance to give back.
What skills or experience do you bring to the committee? My background in hospitality, HR and leadership development brings many varied opportunities to support the ANZA Executive and community at large.
What are your goals for ANZA? I’m so proud of the way our community connected and supported each other through the last 12 months; some amazing and very creative people kept subgroups and connections alive. Our most important goal as an exec team is to support our many volunteers and the community they serve, so we continue to grow and reach more people.
Something interesting about you? I was part of a storytelling group that performed in the Perth International Fringe Festival. I’ve told dozens of different (always real life) stories since then through different story telling groups, including Storyslam here in Singapore.

Association Secretary: Mark Neo

Current employment: Group General Counsel and Company Secretary
Years in Singapore? 7
Years on the EC? 5
Why did you want to join the ANZA Exec? ANZA contributes so much to the community and its members – mostly on the effort and time so generously given by volunteers. As part of the committee, I hope my small contribution will help ANZA continue to flourish.
What skills or experience do you bring to the committee? My legal and secretary background aligns well with my role as committee secretary, and I will continue to support the President, Vice President and Executive Treasurer through some of the greatest challenges that ANZA has faced as a result of the pandemic.
What are your goals for ANZA? Covid has caused so much upheaval for so many of us and not being able to return back to Australia or New Zealand to see family and friends has been difficult. ANZA has helped us to cope by providing a sense of community, a de facto family and a reminder of the best bits of the Australian and New Zealand spirit that we all sorely miss. I want to see ANZA come out of this pandemic stronger than before.
Something interesting about you? My Singapore grandparents lived on a farm raising chickens and fish and growing local fruits. So much has changed since then, but I still fondly remember visiting and helping cut down durians as a child.

ANZA Action: Louise Jones

Years in Singapore? 4
Years on the EC? 2
Why did you want to join the ANZA Exec? To introduce our members to a broad range of people in Singapore within volunteer, social and recreational settings, where there are opportunities to forge and strengthen bonds with the diverse local community. And to help our members be aware of the environment and sustainability.
What skills or experience do you bring to the committee? I’ve been on many different committees including Aussies Abroad Abu Dhabi, Wesley Rowing Parents Support Group, APSM Rowing Club, Dental Therapists’ Association, Parap Preschool Parent Committee, Darwin Junior Netball Coordinator – to name just a few.
What would you like to achieve for ANZA? I want to be part of ANZA Action to enrich the lives of our members. Through charitable acts and volunteering we can engage in new activities and connect with community. We can make a difference. I want volunteers to share the joy, meet new friends, and learn new skills while doing good for others and for themselves.

Committee Member: John Neilson

Current employment: Technology and Cyber Security, Banking / Citibank
Years in Singapore? 11
Years on the EC? This is my first year.
Why did you want to join the ANZA Exec? I’ve always enjoyed the ANZA community and events. Now, with more time on my hands due to other commitments easing I wanted to see how I could help at a broader level.
What skills or experience do you bring to the committee? I’ve been a surf lifesaver and instructor and was the U11 age group coordinator for ANZA Nippers for two years, as well as a condo chairman, social club organiser and coach of various sports.
What are your goals for ANZA? To learn where my skills and experience can help the most and give it a go.
Something interesting about you? My wife Silvia Hajas and I joined ANZA Nippers with our daughter Trinity three years ago after Silvia risked her life to save three boys from drowning on the east coast.

Committee Member/Asst Treasurer: Zenaida Bharucha

Current employment: Stepping Stone – Portfolio CFO
Years in Singapore? 7.5
Years on the EC? 4
Why did you want to join the ANZA Exec? We joined ANZA years ago as my son wanted to play soccer. With my finance and accounting background I put my name forward for the role of the Treasurer to give back and volunteer for the broader ANZA community. This was also a great opportunity for us as a family to meet more people in Singapore and make more friends.
What skills or experience do you bring to the committee? Before joining ANZA, I volunteered with various organisations overseas and have been part of school Parent Associations, so I understood and valued the volunteering ethos. My roles in Finance, Accounting and Project Management allow me to help ANZA from a financial reporting and compliance perspective, as well as assisting on projects.
What are your goals for ANZA? To assist the finance team and board in constantly improving our financial processes and embracing technology.
Something interesting about you? I was born as a Zoroastrian (we are often called Parsees) Our religion started 4000 years ago in ancient Persia. Today we are only 160,000 in the world and unfortunately are a dwindling community.

Committee Member: Maria Taylor

Current role: Head of Commercial, Asia-Pacific, Amadeus Hospitality
Years in Singapore: 13
Why did you want to join the ANZA Exec? To help people assimilate into our great life in Singapore.
What skills or experience do you bring to the committee? Good software technical skills and 20 years’ experience and knowledge around online marketing and e-commerce. I am also good with change management. With 35 years in the hospitality industry, event planning is a skill I hope to be able to use if we can start doing some events in the next 12 months.
What would you like to achieve for ANZA? In a post COVID-19 world, I think we will be working through very different challenges in the next few years, so I’ll have to wait and see what I can assist with.

Committee Member: Christo Alexander

Current employment: Song Division Asia
Years in Singapore? 6
Years on the EC? 2
Why did you want to join the ANZA Exec? To give back to the amazing community and to Singapore. The EC is a great vehicle to propagate change and positivity, and I love being a part of it.
What skills or experience do you bring to the committee? 20+ years of event delivery and production, as well as expertise in the virtual event space. In the last year, my company has planned and delivered over 600 virtual events worldwide, so I’m well placed to help ANZA with the most current and best practices in the field.
What are your goals for ANZA? I’m looking to help the EC plan and manage virtual, hybrid and in-person events in the coming years.
Something interesting about you? I’ve been a professional composer and musician since the age of 19. During my touring days, I shared the stage with Jimmy Barnes and Ian Moss (Cold Chisel), Delta Goodrem and even David Hasslehoff! I’ve also written a custom song for Sir Richard Branson and performed it with him live on stage. It
was a real highlight!

Membership Secretary: Philip Simmonds

Current employment: Director, Asia at ExpertsDirect.com
Years in Singapore? 12
Years on the EC? 4
Why did you want to join the ANZA Exec? When I first arrived in Singapore 12 years ago, I knew very few people. The ANZA events provide a springboard to meet new and interesting people, from diverse backgrounds. The ANZA spirit is strong in Singapore and I feel that I can help to expand that camaraderie and inclusive nature to a wider community.
What skills of experience do you bring to the committee? I have worked as an integrated marketing and sales professional for 15 years, as well as marketing within the hospitality sector. I think the combination of the two can help build our membership base, through a connected, socially conscious community, and commercial partnerships and opportunities.
What are your goals for ANZA? To help sustain ANZA’s role and relevance for the next 70 years in Singapore. To create a connected experience across all the groups and communication channels we have, and build a diverse and inclusive local-global community.
Something interesting about you? I once had my own radio show called ‘Boogie Nights’ on a community radio station in Sydney.

Committee Member: Alistair Green

Current employment: Regional Vice President, Oracle Cloud Engineering
Years in Singapore? 3.5
Years on the EC? This is my first year.
Why did you want to join the ANZA Exec? I’ve been an avid member of ANZA Cycling and Triathlon and felt a desire to contribute to the people and the organisation that supports so many in our community.
What skills or experience do you bring to the committee? I spend my days building connections between people, teams and strategies through my leadership role.
I have a keen sense for business and the ability to see through the details to the real issues impacting people.
What are your goals for ANZA? To grow our community building and supporting role in Singapore. This present time is a challenge for so many in Singapore and abroad. The sense of community and identity that ANZA brings is important for people’s self-worth and feeling of belonging.
Something interesting about you? My wife, Karen, and I are regular Scuba Divers and look forward to the borders opening again soon to explore waters beyond Singapore.

Committee Member: Don Northey

Current role: Sole Practitioner, Chartered Accountant
Years in Singapore? 14
Why did you want to join the ANZA Exec? When I first joined the committee some 10+ years ago they were without a treasurer, so I was asked to help. The other benefits have always been the social and networking sides of ANZA.
What skills or experience do you bring to the committee? As a Chartered Accountant and trainer in accounting software I initially brought my expertise to help with setting up and running the financials for six years as Treasurer. My side passion is photography and pre-Covid I enjoyed supporting with events photography.

ANZA Action Bra Drive

Do you have bras that have outlived their usefulness?

Don’t feel right? Too big? Too small?

Finished with those maternity bras?

Doing a Marie Kondo on your wardrobe?

If you have gently used bras, in good condition, then we can take them off your hands and donate them to a worthy cause.

Till the end of May, we are supporting BRA Girls, an online group aiming to provide bras to women in disadvantaged communities in the Philippines or Africa. These ladies are unable to obtain or afford any form of undergarment, and in many cases, the undergarments provided by charitable organizations may be the only ones they will ever own. Bras are more than just an everyday essential; they also provide women with dignity and protection. In particular, maternity or nursing bras and even crop tops are in demand.

You can drop off your bras (or donations towards postage and packing) to the ANZA Office from Tuesday to Thursday, between 10am and 2pm. Alternatively, you can contact Rae through WhatsApp on 83214155 to arrange a drop off.

Any small donation towards postage with your bras would be greatly appreciated.

You can find out more about ANZA Action here.


Review: Tiffin Room

Tiffin Room

1 Beach Road, Raffles Hotel Singapore, 189673
6337 1886


The legendary Tiffin Room has been a part of Raffles Hotel Singapore’s history since 1892, serving delectable North Indian cuisine. Located off the Grand Lobby, the elegant restaurant offers authentic Indian dishes with interactive tableside service by chefs. The recently restored interiors feature herringbone wooden floorboards, along with locally made porcelains and tiffin boxes.

A la carte dinner choices include succulent boneless chicken leg cooked with chickpea flour and rich saffron, accompanied by a fragrant sweet corn and onion salad. Plump, juicy scallops in a coconut, lemongrass and tamarind curry, scented with curry leaves and coconut, marry well with cool cucumber salad. Tandoori (clay oven) bread and chawal (rice) choices add to the colourful meals.
Enjoy a tiffin box (tiered container for transporting a meal) of meat or vegetarian curries, accompanied by chutneys, pickles, rice and bread, presented in a tiered copper tiffin, harking back to home-prepared meals in India.

Indian desserts are legendary. Gulab jamun (sweet milk dumplings) with chocolate and saffron is recommended, while mango kulfi (ice cream) refreshes the palate after a spicy feast. Lassi (yoghurt drink) should not be missed and there is an international wine list.

VERDICT: For a relaxing environment reminiscent of a bygone era, enjoy a delicious meal here with service to match.

Note: Due to Covid restrictions, the Tiffin Room’s breakfast and lunch buffet menus are currently available as à la carte options.

What’s On – May

29 May – 18 July

La Clique, Sands Theatre

Award-winning spectacular La Clique will make its debut at the iconic Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands for a limited season, in what will be the first theatrical performance featuring an international cast to return to the venue since Singapore’s Circuit Breaker in April last year. Filled with heart-stopping moments, humour and spellbinding acts, La Clique features a unique blend of circus, comedy, and contemporary cabaret variety, set to a thrilling live soundtrack. Since it was first launched in 2004, the show has performed to sold-out audiences in cities such as Adelaide, Brighton, Edinburgh, Melbourne, Montreal, New York and Sydney. In Singapore, La Clique will run at Sands Theatre for an eight-week-long limited season from 29 May to 18 July, with eight performances a week and an audience of 250, seated in the round. From $98. La Clique (lacliquetheshow.com)

Until 11 May
Sea of Tiki
S.E.A Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa
Don’t miss the final weeks of S.E.A. Aquarium’s island paradise theme, The Sea of Tiki. Kids will adore viewing and uncovering fun facts about tropical fishes, going on a tiki trail featuring a majestic volcano and snapping some photos with the aquarium’s much-loved manta ray mascots – Mika, Mako and Manja. The long-awaited dive feed makes its comeback; watch the incredible feeding of over 40,000 marine inhabitants at the Open Ocean Habitat.

Until 30 May
Paw-verbs on the Lawn
Malay Heritage Centre, 85 Sultan Gate, 198501
Malay Heritage Centre (MHC) has teamed up with popular Japanese artist Juno for the sweetest art installation on the island: Paw-verbs on the Lawn. 30 of Juno’s adorable cat illustrations are displayed on the expansive green lawn of MHC, interspersed with 10 common Malay proverbs that spotlight how cats convey different aspects of human behaviour. Snap a few photos for the ‘gram, enjoy other galleries and exhibits at the centre or grab a bite around trendy Kampong Glam.

Until 29 August
Picturing the Pandemic: A Visual Record of COVID-19 in Singapore
National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, 178897
With the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the National Museum commissioned five local photographers – Bob Lee, Brian Teo, Edwin Koo, How Hwee Young and Zakaria Zainal − and two filmmakers – Adar Ng and Dave Lim – to visually document how Covid was experienced in Singapore. The photographs and short film, along with a selection of objects, are showcased in this fascinating exhibition, presenting a resonant portrait of a nation responding to and coping with an unprecedented local and global health crisis.



Kiwi Waka Ama, Singapore

I’ve loved living in Singapore for the past 14 years, but like so many grounded expats here I’m missing my beautiful homeland and everything it represents; weekends away at the bach, paua fritters and crays on the barbie, world class mountain bike trails, Pohutukawa flowers in the summer, decent meat pies…the list goes on and on. But most of all I’m missing my whānau – my family and community.
As I was approaching the date of yet another missed trip back to Aotearoa and feeling achingly homesick, I heard about the Kiwi Waka Ama club. I decided to head down to Aloha Sports Club on the East Coast to check it out, quickly discerning that Kiwi Waka Ama is so much more than a paddling club.
New Zealanders share a deep culture that links to our people and our land and Kiwi Waka Ama is a place where members of all nationalities can learn about Kiwi culture, and experience being part of a whānau. It also provides a place for New Zealanders living in Singapore to connect with their culture. For this homesick Kiwi, kicking off my jandals and heading out on the moana (ocean) in the waka (Māori canoe) with my new whānau is the next best thing to being home.
I had a chat with club Co-Captain Mike Matthews about Kiwi Waka Ama and what they’re all about.

How long have you lived in Singapore?

25 years. My wife Sandra and I came on a one-year contract and career opportunities, experiences and regional travel were compelling reasons to stay. Over time, becoming more connected with local communities and groups, and raising our daughter here made Singapore feel more home and it’s why we are still here.

Why did you start the Kiwi Waka Ama club?

In a word, connection. A small group of us were regularly paddling once a week using canoes rented from the Singapore Paddle Club at Sentosa. In true Kiwi Style, we would bring kai (food) and socialise afterwards. As the group got bigger and we started to see and experience an identity, we realised that to grow, we needed to find our own tūrangawaewae (a place of being). Given our whanaungatanga (family connection) to our cultural heritage, we also understood we needed more than a traditional set of club guidelines to operate. Our kaupapa (a principle or policy) is the foundation for how we conduct ourselves, both on and off the water. We made the decision to base ourselves on the East Coast as it has a more relaxed vibe and is very suited to families, with plenty of space for the tamariki (children) to play together and build their own connections.
Mauri tū, mauri ora, an active soul is a healthy soul

What is your role with the club now?

I was President during the foundation years of the club, however, as the club grew and new roles emerged, I was appointed Co-Captain. I work closely with Mary (Women’s Club Captain) to plan, develop and manage the club’s on-water paddling activities. This includes building coaching and training programs, organising club training sessions and generally overseeing the growth and development of the paddlers. I also coach our young paddlers. Watching the youth develop their own strength, courage and leadership styles, while learning the principals of team work is extremely rewarding. The most important role however, is to support and contribute to the development and preservation of the kaupapa of the club and support the collective efforts of the leadership team and all members – both past and present. It’s also important to acknowledge the efforts of the people who have returned to New Zealand or other shores, who were a big part of setting up the club.
He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people

What is the Kiwi Waka Ama Club?

While the club’s main activity is paddling, kapa haka (a traditional song and dance performance) is an integral part of our activities. Through our learning and performing of kapa haka, the connections to each other, our heritage and culture, the land and water, we see ourselves as a whānau. This is very evident every weekend when we come together, old and young, and experience the wairua.
Toi tū te whenua, whatungarongaro he tangata
The land remains when the people have disappeared

How does the club celebrate NZ history and culture?

Pre-COVID we performed at Waitangi Day celebrations, the Aotearoa Ball with the Australian International School Kapa Haka Group, and have done a number of performances at trade events – including at the New Zealand High Commissioner’s residence. We also live our kaupapa every day. From simple things like saying a karakia (Māori incantations and prayers, used to invoke spiritual guidance and protection) before leaving the shore or opening a committee meeting, to how we treat each other (as whānau). We adopt many traditions. For example, the importance of our tamariki (children) – they are our future. We have programs to develop their paddling, but we also make sure they are cared for and included in all the club’s activities, so that they can experience and learn about their culture and heritage. We don’t see leadership as the responsibility of a single person. Decisions are made through conversation, using our kaupapa for guidance.

How has being involved with the club enriched your time in Singapore?

Being part of the club has allowed me to connect with our culture, far more than had we stayed in New Zealand. Through our kaumātua (Māori elder), Tony Keepa, we have achieved more than simply learning waiata and haka. Experiencing the wairua, the deep connection to our heritage, and knowing you belong has been hugely enriching and the essence of who we are as a club. For the members from other countries and cultures, experiencing our wairua is something they will carry forever.
He aroha whakatō, he aroha ka puta mai
If kindness is sown, then kindness is what you shall receive

Are you open to other nationalities?

Absolutely! Connecting people from all backgrounds is an integral part of our kaupapa. We currently have members from more than 10 nationalities – all part of the same whānau. It’s really cool to hear members from other countries totally fluent in saying karakia before going out on the water.

What training is involved?

It really depends on the level of interest and commitment. Some of us can be on the water 4-5 times a week, as well as doing land-based training. Other members like the social aspect and will paddle once or twice a week. We run specific training for men (Tuesday evenings) and women (Thursday evenings). We currently have mixed training on Wednesday evenings, Thursday and Friday mornings (you get to see some amazing sunrises) and then a number of sessions on Saturdays and Sundays. On Sunday mornings we run sessions for rookies and we have a dedicated weekly youth paddle session.

What competitions are your members involved in?

As a club we compete in local paddling events, such as the Singapore Ocean Cup and the Country of Origin. Our paddlers have also competed in events in Hawaii, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong and the World Va’a (outrigger canoe) Championships. Fingers crossed that international travel will return before the end of the year so we can send one or two crews to compete in the ATIR – a 46km paddle race around Hong Kong Island.

Any special achievements?

There have been many highlights, both on and off the water. Establishing the club and growing to now 80 members in just two years, contributing to the growth of the sport in Singapore and success in local paddling competitions are some. One significant moment was performing the haka to a Singapore Trade delegation departing for a two-week trip to New Zealand. As it happened, it was the day of the Mosque shooting in Christchurch. The power and emotion of the haka was deeply emotional for all in attendance.

What’s next?

We have recently launched a fundraising campaign to purchase additional waka so that we can continue to accept new members and grow the club. We’d love to see more youth getting involved in both paddling and kapa haka and we will continue to put effort in this area. We are also open to hosting team building events. The waka is an incredible platform for experiential learning of teams and leadership.
E hara ā tātou toa, i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takimano
Our strength is not that of an individual, but that of a collective

Support our fundraiser at accelevents.com/e/KiwiWakaAmaSingapore
There are some fantastic items and experiences up for grabs, including return premium economy flights with Air New Zealand.

Find us at https://wakaamasingapore.wixsite.com/mysite

How COVID-19 Is Affecting Moving Your Pet

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Moving in the time of COVID-19 can be overwhelming. It’s even more so when you plan on moving your pets too. As one of the best relocation companies Singapore, we understand your concerns about moving your pets abroad amid the COVID-19. Therefore, this article will offer insights on COVID-19, how it spreads to pets and what you must know about pet moving in these trying times.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that range from the common cold to MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Over 20% of colds happen as a result of human coronaviruses. Animals also have their own coronaviruses leading to certain illnesses.

Although there is no vital evidence about animals’ role in spreading COVID-19, scientists have not fully understood if and how different animals can be affected by the virus.

Still, it is widely acknowledged that the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19 originated from wild animals (possibly bats) in China.  Because of mutations and factors not fully understood, the virus was able to infect humans and spread from person to person.

Since then, a few cats and dogs living with COVID-19 patients have tested positive for the virus. Ferrets, cougars, lions, tigers, gorillas, fruit bats, hamsters, and tree shrews have also been shown to have the possibility of becoming infected with the virus.  A study in the Netherlands showed that antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 were found in about 1 in 7 dogs and 1 in 5 cats from homes with individuals who had the COVID-19. This indicates that these pets were previously infected.

However, animals such as chickens, ducks, pigs, and mice appear not to become infected or spread the infection.

Nevertheless, research is still on-going to discover how COVID-19 can infect animals like dogs, cats and other mammals. There are speculations that pets worldwide can be infected with the virus after close contact with infected people. Even so are assumptions that people can also be infected by contact with an infected pet, although cases of such are rare.

Pet Restrictions And The COVID-19

Because there are too many uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus and pets, pet travels have been facing many restrictions and regulations across the globe. The idea is to slow down the virus’s spread and protect pets, livestock, wildlife, and humans alike.

Pets also only make a fraction of a percentage of cargo that airlines carry. As they began cutting on their routes, many stopped accepting live animals because they began to find it challenging to move them.

Therefore, many states, countries, and airlines are continually changing their rules and ability to carry pets, creating huge complications for you.

As COVID-19 vaccinations become a reality, there are speculations that restrictions may lessen. But, when will COVID-19 become a thing of the past? That’s a million-dollar question without an answer.

However, here’s what we recommend:

Carry on preparing your pet for upcoming travels. Patience and careful planning are essential to ensure that your pet is safely and efficiently transported overseas.

Ensure their vaccinations are up to date. If you have anyone around you ill or sick with the COVID-19 virus, be sure to keep your pet away from them. Be sure to stay aware of the pet moving regulations in your destination countries and recommend travel routes to prepare ahead of time.

If you are also stuck in a situation where you need to move quickly but have no way of moving your furry loved one, consider using a boarding service. Reputable international moving companies can provide excellent recommendations on the right services for you.

How a Pet Relocation Service Can Help

As one of the best international moving companies, we have worked with clients to help them navigate the complications of moving overseas. Faced with clients having to find their way through the complicated regulations concerning moving pets, we must recommend that you invest in a pet relocation service.

The ideal pet relocation service will guide you on the appropriate documents, vaccinations, and all other facets to ensure that your pets can travel without hiccups. They will also provide updated information on pet regulations in your destination country. Your ideal specialists will also help you find the right pet accommodation options should you have to travel without your pet. In the end, they can ensure the health, safety, and comfort of your pet until you can have them with you in your new home.


Established in Singapore in and Malaysia since 2006, SIR Move Services is a Singapore/British brand and it is a moving company that continues to build a business based on integrity and trust. SIR provides Complete Move Solutions for International, Commercial and Domestic Relocations inclusive of storage and insurance. We move pets too. Moove My Box (MMB) is the newest addition to our suite of services allowing customers to ship small shipments faster. Similar to Air Express Delivery with the addition of packing and collection services.  SIR Move is a qualified FIDI/FAIM Quality Mover.

SIR Move Services

Email talk2us@sirmove.com

Visit www.sirmove.com

Call 65 65347345

SWAGA Gym 2021 Summer Camps

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SWAGA Gym 2021 Summer Camps

Offering a wide range of camps, SWAGA has something on offer for the whole family.

Younger kids (starting at 4 years old) will be kept busy with kinder gym. A whole heap of fun will be had climbing, rolling and running through an obstacle course as the kids learn balance, agility and fine tune their motor skills.

For girls who already enjoy weekly gymnastics sessions, SWAGA will offer a recreational and competitive summer camp program for 6-18 years old. If you are just starting out with gymnastics or simply want to try something new during summer, come and join our recreational program where coaches will introduce the basics of gymnastics and skills to practice on all apparatus.

Competitive gymnasts will be able to focus on increasing or perfecting their skill level with highly qualified coaches during a three-hour session.

For the more adventurous boys and girls, a Parkour camp will take the kids (6-18 years) through their paces as they learn to flip, climb and swing through the custom parkour equipment. Learn tricks in a safe environment and even play a game or two of ‘the floor is lava’ tag!

Adults can join in the fun too, with an adult fitness program being run throughout the summer with classes including bootcamp, HIIT and Zumba. To keep the younger kids (under 4) entertained and active, SWAGA offers a fully equipped jungle gym that can be booked by the hour.

Officially opened on 1 April, SWAGA Gym is the latest gymnastics facility in Singapore. With world class equipment and fully air conditioned, it is the perfect place to spend summer days. Close to food and beverage outlets and amenities offered by The Grandstand, SWAGA makes summer camps easy for the whole family.

Located at The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Road, book now to secure your camp preference at  www.swagagym.com