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New Plymouth Operatic Society recognised for excellence

Members of the New Plymouth Operatic Society with Harvey Dunlop (TSB Community Trust)
Members of the New Plymouth Operatic Society with Harvey Dunlop (TSB Community Trust)

Many years of hard work driven by passion and a huge commitment to volunteers paid off for longstanding New Plymouth Operatic Society Inc when they were recognised for Not for Profit excellence at the TSB Business Excellence Awards held on 28 October 2017.

In its second year, The Wheelhouse Not for Profit Excellence Award reinforces and recognises good practice within the Taranaki Not for Profit sector.

The Award is a joint initiative of The Wheelhouse and the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce, sponsored by The Wheelhouse, with support from TSB Community Trust.

Judging of the Award is carried out by highly experienced, independent Taranaki business people, and encompasses a review of each entrant’s performance in the areas of Human Resources, Strategic Planning, Marketing, Quality Assurance and Systems, Management, Financial Measurement and Community Outcomes.

Comprehensive feedback is provided to all the entrants by the judges.

In summing up NPOS the Judges noted how impressed they were with all aspects of the Society’s planning and ability to make future aspirations a reality.

Recognising the calibre of their highly capable and experienced board, contractors and volunteers, the judges also noted that the “New Plymouth Operatic Society has an incredible challenge to deliver entertaining shows that rely on the performance of so many volunteers”.

We spoke to Patrick Landrigan of the Society to congratulate the organisation and find out more about what makes Operatic just so successful.

Talking to Patrick one factor that shone through strongly was NPOS’s huge commitment to ensuring every volunteer involved in the organisation has a positive experience.

The Society maintains strong communication links with its volunteers and provides them with regular information and opportunities to provide feedback about the process and experience and suggest improvements. This then forms the basis of development going forward.

The Operatic team are driven by a passion for Taranaki - striving to be the best they can not only for themselves but for the community and they are highly regarded on the New Zealand Theatre Group circuit.

Why did you apply for the Award?

We were told about the Business Excellence Awards by a member of the Chamber of Commerce Team. The management Committee of six and the President discussed it and couldn’t think of a reason not to enter!

How would you sum up the experience?

We found it quite straight forward as have all our systems and procedures in place. It took a good couple of days to pull everything together (we entered two categories) but this helped us to realise we had everything that was being asked for. This reassured us that we were doing the right things to ensure the society continues to go from strength to strength.

What are mains reason for doing it?

We wanted to acknowledge the hard work, commitment and dedication of every person who has ever volunteered for the Society – a stunning 40,000 – 50,000 volunteer hours are given each year by Taranaki volunteers to ensure the success of every production and the smooth running of the society. We have one staff member who is employed for 12 hours per week as our Administrator.

The society could not run without this dedicated army of volunteers.

This award is a “pat on the back” or a “High Five” for every volunteer from the Taranaki Community for a job well done.

The award is in effect a quality mark, to be the winner of the Not for Profit Excellence Award and to have been judged by other businesses is very humbling.

This demonstrates to everyone that we are good at what we do - and it’s not just us saying it we have been independently assesses to set criteria.

Will you be making any changes as a result of the process?

The committee will consider all the feedback from the judges – we found the whole process very encouraging and worthwhile

What advice would we give to other organisations?

Do it! This is a valuable process - you’d normally have to pay a consultant a lot of money to evaluate your organisation and to give you advice.

The awards evening is so valuable too – it’s a great opportunity to promote your organisation.

Established in 2014 The Wheelhouse is a collaborative partnership of nine organisations committed to empowering community sector capability in Taranaki – see

Taranaki Chamber of Commerce provides membership support to Not for profit organisations as well as for profit - currently the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce has 52 Not for Profit members – see