News & Updates

19 June 2019 • General

National Volunteer Week: Heather O’Hagan

Heather O’Hagan – The Paeroa-based optometrist serves as the Waikato BOP officials educator and in a range of other roles within officialdom. Here she offers her take on her extensive voluntary work in the New Zealand athletics community. 

How were you first introduced athletics volunteering?

My kids got involved at Paeroea Athletics Club and for me there is nothing worse than sitting and just watching. My main passion is the throws and at one of the first ribbon days I got asked to help out; and it developed from there. I served as treasurer for a spell. My daughter was a toddler at the time and this meant my involvement was largely preserved to arranging the handicaps for the kids’ sprint races.

What was the attraction of moving into officialdom?

Well, anything is better than housework! I enjoy seeing athletes competing, particularly the throwers which is my main interest.

I was also motivated to ensure meetings were organised properly and safely. I worked my way through basic officiating and later started doing senior meets. I got shoulder tapped to do an officials course in Australia and later served on the national technical committee, where I ended up as chair. For the past six or seven years I’ve worked in the educational side of officialdom.

What are some of the main challenges you faced?

That there are not enough officials! I train many local people but very few take the next step of officiating outside of their club. It is really good when you get somebody who takes that step, so you have to make sure their experience is as enjoyable as possible, so that they want to come back.

Why would you encourage others to get involved?

The satisfaction of seeing the athletes compete and knowing that you are providing top-class competition on a level playing field.