Jeanette Sinclair’s term as President is drawing to a close

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If someone ever writes a book ‘How to be the President of a National Sports Organisation’, they couldn’t do much better than interview Jeanette Sinclair, President of Bowls New Zealand.

So well has Jeanette performed her stewardly duties, that she is going to be very much missed when she retires in September. Jeanette’s cheerful, congenial manner has won her friends in the bowls community up and down the country. She has been a fabulous ambassador for the game.
Although Jeanette’s the one with the title, the job’s never been about her. It’s always been about the many, many people she’s met over the past two years. That’s the modus operandi of the consummate sports president – to make people feel great about the sport … great about their achievements in the sport … and of course, great about themselves.

It’s a modus operandi that makes it uncomfortable for Jeanette to talk about herself. Her presidency is about other people.

Like Joan Jagger, the first President of Bowls New Zealand. “She reinforced to me that we live in times of change,” says Jeanette, “and we have to change as well. As we all get older (Jeanette is 80 going on 64!), it can be a bit of a stumbling block accepting change. But It doesn’t mean everything in the past is bad or obsolete … it just means that things can be done differently.”

Like Jean Ashby, Life Member of Bowls New Zealand. “Jean’s always been there giving me wise counsel,” says Jeanette. “Right from when she pinned my umpires badge on me all those years ago.”

And like Doreen Bartlett, 2006 Auckland Bowls Official of the Year. “Both Jean and Doreen made a great impression on me … they constantly encouraged me with their wise words.”

It’s also about the changes that have been initiated in the executive office of Bowls New Zealand.

“I love the new technologies that have been introduced to bowls,” she observes, “When I think about the cumbersome way we used to do the draws for tournaments … typing up the list of players, cutting it into strips, throwing them in a bowl, and drawing them out like a lucky dip out of a Santa sack.”

“When I look at the live-streaming that Erin, Tamara, Kevin and the team are now doing at tournaments, it’s fantastic!”

“And even when I go to board meetings, we no longer have a wad of board papers. All the board members can now view the ‘paperwork’ on an iPad.”
But three things have made her particularly proud.

“Firstly, we were awarded a Good Governance Mark by Sport New Zealand this year*. I understand that Bowls New Zealand is only the fourth national sports organisation to ever obtain such an award. It’s a great accolade to support our future funding aspirations.”

“The second was joining 350 women leaders in Wellington in November last year for the 125th Women’s Suffrage Celebrations. It was a privilege to represent a sporting organisation that has already come to grips with the need for women’s equality in sport – while many other sports have only just started grappling with the idea in the past few years.”

“And thirdly, as I’ve been going around the country, I’ve enjoyed seeing clubs that are now capable of hosting world-class events. I even went to one club hosting an Intercentre tournament, where the President, knowing I was a ‘quiet suffragette’, took me out the back to see the kitchen full of men in pinnies making the lunch!”

The enjoyment Jeanette gets in recounting the adventures during her term as President only reinforces the fact that we will not only miss her, but she will miss us.

“I’ve loved the ‘job’”, she says, “and I’ll still continue to go to a roll-up every Tuesday, as well as continue to umpire. But I’ll have to reinvent myself : A bit of travel … maybe charity work … reading at schools .. I’d even like to take up dancing!”

We’re sure that Jeanette would be open to any suggestions!

Thanks for everything Jeanette.



2004 Auckland City Service to Sport Award
2004 Bowls New Zealand Official of the Year
2006-2007 Auckland Bowls Official of the Year

Club history
1985-1996 Greytown Bowling Club Executive Member, Treasurer, Badged

1996-2001 Hillsborough Women’s BC Executive Member, Treasurer
2001-2006 Remuera Bowling Club
2006-2011 Balmoral Women’s BC
2011-Now Carlton-Cornwall Bowls Match Committee Member, Constitution Management Committee Member., Board of Management, Vice-President

Centre history
1985-1996 Bowls Wairarapa Secretary of Coaching
2004-2005 Auckland Bowls Operations Committee
2005-2009 Auckland Bowls Chair Operations Committee, Independent

Board Member
2008-2009 Auckland Bowls Vice-President
2009-2011 Auckland Bowls President
2010 Auckland Bowls Manager Youth Invitational Team to Queensland

National history
2006 Technical Official Commonwealth Games Melbourne
2007 Technical Official Asian Pacific Games Christchurch
2008 Technical Official World Bowls Championship Christchurch
2012 Hall of Fame Investigation Committee
2015-2017 Vice-President
2018-2019 President

Umpiring history
1991 Umpire Badge Number 2278, officiating for club and centre
1996 Member of the Auckland Women’s Umpires Association
1999 Executive Member ADWBUA
2001 Registered International Umpire
2001 Vice-President ADWBUA
2002 President ADWBUA
2002 Chair amalgamation Auckland Men’s and Women’s Umpire

2002-2008 Member Bowls New Zealand Umpires Committee
2003 Executive Member ABUA, Tutor and Examiner
2004 Chief Umpire National Open Championships
2005 Chief Umpire National Secondary School Championships
2006 Tutor umpire for international events
2007-2008 Chief Technical Official National Open Championships
2009-2015 ABUA tutor an examiner
2005-2012 ABUA Appointments Officer
2009 Assistant Chief Umpire National Open Championships
2011 National Level 2 Umpire
2011-2014 Chief Technical Official National Open Championships
2015-2017 Umpiring at centre and national level