Mike Heath, General Manager RaboDirect NZ, with the Kiwis and two of the Dutch cyclists, at the 2011 World Track Champs.
Aside from savings and investments, the other area that RaboDirect is actively engaged in is cycling, through our role as Principal Partner of BikeNZ, New Zealand’s National Cycling Federation.
From our sponsorship we work closely with BikeNZ to deliver their cycling programmes here in NZ, from school children learning basic cycling safety right up to the elite athletes competing on the world stage, and it’s this later group I’d like to talk about for a moment.
I recently had the pleasure of watching the Kiwi track team in action at the World Track Champs in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, and I must say it filled me with great pride watching them competing right alongside the best in the world, and having my colleagues from Head Office there as well to watch made this even better (read BikeNZ’s official wrap from the event).
As you may or may not know, Rabobank is also very much at the heart of Dutch cycling, also as the Principal Partner of the KNWU (the Dutch equivalent to BikeNZ) and as the sponsor/owner of the Rabobank professsional cycling team (you may recall we recently announced the first Kiwi, Rosara Joseph, having joined the team).
When I was in The Netherlands I was able to introduce Kieran Turner (CEO, BikeNZ) and Mark Elliot (Head of High Performance, BikeNZ) to both the KNWU and Rabobank pro team, with the express intention of establishing a dialogue to share learning’s and who knows, get a couple of more Kiwis on the pro team roster.
I must say it’s personally very refreshing to be partnering with BikeNZ and to be intimately involved in NZ on a subject other than savings and investments. Cycling ticks so many boxes, in terms of being good for NZ and NZ’ers, and I do know that BikeNZ has big plans to make it even more relevant and enjoyable (we, us and BikeNZ, may even steal some of the ideas we received from the team at the KNWU ... more on that another day).
One of the programmes we have started to “ramp up” is our involvement is in the recreational cycling space. Whilst we’ve been present at a number of cycling events over the past few years, we continue to take our experiences and feedback from cyclists so we can add more value and provide them with tangible benefits from our sponsorship, and also assist BikeNZ in their plans to ad value here as well. If you have any ideas, don’t hold back.
We recently were at the Forest Graperide in Marlborough which was a great opportunity to have some face-to-face time with our customers, which is not something we get to do very often as an online bank. Over the remainder of the year there’ll be numerous opportunities for us to do this across the country as we invite our customers to come and say hi at cycling events in their region.
BikeNZ have huge plans, as do we, for cycling and cyclists in NZ and I’m very much looking forward to bringing them to fruition.