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Wellington Caving Group



Dated 11th August 2000
1 Name

The name of the Group shall be the Wellington Caving Group.

2 Interpretation

In this constitution, unless otherwise stated, 'Group' means the Wellington Caving Group, and 'Committee' means the executive committee of the Group.

3 Objects

The objects of the Group are:

a. To encourage caving for both pleasure and research in New Zealand and elsewhere, in particular the collection and dissemination of knowledge relating to caves, also the preservation of caves in their natural state. The Group shall foster social exchange among members and maintain contact with other scientific and/or sporting organisations of similar interest.
b. To purchase, take on lease or in exchange, or hire, or otherwise acquire, hold, mortgage, or dispose of any real or personal property and any rights and privileges which the Group shall think necessary or expedient for the purpose of attaining the aims of the Group or any of them, or promoting the interests of the Group or its members.
4 Membership
a. Any person may become a member upon paying the current membership subscription, subject to the following conditions:
(i) He/She must be considered a suitable person for membership by the Committee
(ii) He/She must be a financial member of the New Zealand Speleological Society Incorporated, and must remain a financial member of the said society so long as he/she remains a member of the Group.
(iii)  He/she must agree to abide by the caving ethics of the NZSS as published by the Society on their web site in the page entitled "Ethical guidelines of the NZSS". A copy of the ethics current at the time of this update of the constitution (11 August 2000) is included in the appendix to this constitution.

First Subscription
A new member's subscription shall cover the period from the date of receipt of payment until the end of the current financial year, which shall be the thirtieth of June, except that an applicant paying during the months of May and June may stipulate that the subscription is to take effect from the first of July for the succeeding twelve months.

5 Cessation of Membership
a. Any member may resign by giving notice in writing.
b. Any member whose membership is more three months in arrears may be deemed to have resigned and may not vote at any meeting.
c. No member through simple failure to notify his/her resignation, shall be liable for the subscription for any financial year in which he/she has taken no part in activities.
d. The Committee may expel from membership, suspend for any period, or reprimand any member who is guilty of disregard for the rights of others, or of the rights of the Group, or has otherwise behaved, in the opinion of the Committee, in a manner unfitting to a member of the Group, providing that before expulsion, suspension or reprimand, he/she shall be given the opportunity to give an explanation of his/her conduct to the Committee.
6 Officers
a.  The Officers of the Group shall be:
(i) President
(ii) Secretary
(iii) Treasurer (provided that the Office of Secretary and Treasurer may be held by the same person)
b. If the President cannot attend meetings, a Chairman is to be elected for the duration of the President's absence.
c. The Officers of the Group shall be financial members of the Group and shall be elected at the Annual General Meetings, except that in the event of the resignation or loss from office of an Officer, the Committee shall have the power to appoint a replacement for the period up until the Annual General Meeting.
Such Officers shall be nominated and seconded by financial members of the Group and shall hold office until the next Annual General Meeting, but will be eligible for re-election
(provided that no person shall hold any single elected office for more than three consecutive years).
d. The Officers elected at the Annual General Meeting shall take office at the end of the meeting at which they were elected.
e. Officers elected by postal vote shall take office at the following meeting.
7 Committee
a.  The Committee of the Group shall consist of the Officers of the Group mentioned in Section 6 of this constitution, together with sufficient number of financial members of the Group, duly

elected at the Annual General Meeting, to make the total membership of the Committee up to six.

b. On resignation of a Committee member, the Committee shall have the power to appoint a replacement for the period up until the Annual General Meeting.
8 Duties of the Committee and Officers
a. It shall be the duty of the Committee generally to conduct the business of the Group and to attend to matters of policy, subject to the directions given to the Committee by the members at the general meetings of the Group.
Meetings of the Committee may be convened by circular letter, at such times as the President, or in his absence, inability or refusal to act, the Secretary shall appoint; a representation of four shall be a quorum.
b. The President shall be the chairman at all meetings; in his absence all Presidential duties shall be assumed by the elected Chairman.
c. The Secretary shall keep correct minutes of the procedings and a complete roll of members and conduct all correspondence.
d. The Treasurer shall keep proper books of accounts and submit to the Annual General Meeting a set of accounts which has previously been approved by the Committee, who may request them to be audited.
9 Annual General Meetings

Notice to convene an Annual General meeting must be presented to all members at least one calendar month before the date of the meeting, calling for nominations for all Officers. Nominations close immediately prior to the commencement of the Annual General Meeting.
The Annual General Meeting shall be held in the month of August in each year upon a date and at a time and place to be fixed by the President or in his default, absence or inability, the Committee, for the following purposes:

a. To receive from the Committee a report, balance sheet and statement of accounts for the preceding year.
b. To hold the annual election of Officers and Committee of the Group for the ensuing year.
c. To fix the membership subscription for the ensuing year.
d. To decide on any resolution which may be duly submitted to the meeting.
10  General Meetings

General Meetings of the Group shall be held fortnightly or at such other intervals at such times and places as the Committee may decide and shall be advertised to members.

11 Quorum

At the Annual General Meeting and at all General Meetings seven members shall form a quorum.

12 Special General Meetings

A Special General Meeting may be called by the Committee or any six financial members. At such meetings a quorum shall consist of 40% of the financial membership. At least four days notice of such a meeting shall be given to all members.

13 Procedure at Meetings
a. At all General Meetings, the President, or in his absence, the elected Chairman, shall be chairman. Every member present shall be entitled, on every motion, to one vote exercised in person or by

writing. In the case of an equality of votes the chairman shall have a casting as well as deliberative vote.

b. The mode of voting on all questions (other than elections) at all General meetings shall be by voices, or if the chairman or any three members shall require, a show of hands.
c. The mode of voting on all elections at the Annual General Meeting shall be by secret ballot, for which purpose a returning officer and a sufficient number of scrutineers and assistants shall be appointed at the meeting.
14 Finance
a. All funds shall be deposited in a bank account to the credit of the Group, except for imprest accounts necessary for the functions of the Treasurer and Secretary.
b. Withdrawals from the Group's bank account shall be signed by two of the three trustees of the Group authorised by the Committee in that connection.
c. The Group may borrow or raise money from time to time by the issue of debentures, bonds, mortgages or any security founded or based on any property and/or rights of the Group, or without any such security as the Group may see fit. But the powers of such borrowing or raising money shall not be exercised except pursuant to a resolution of the Group passed in a General Meeting.
d. The Group may from time to time invest or reinvestin such securities and upon such terms as it shall think fit, the whole or any part of its funds which shall not be required in the immediate business of the Group.
15 Winding Up

In the event of the winding up of the Group, any property remaining after satisfying outstanding liabilities shall not be distributed amongst members, but shall be given to the New Zealand Speleological Society Incorporated to promote caving in New Zealand.

16 Amendments to the Constitution

These clauses may be altered, added to or rescinded by a two-thirds majority expressed by a postal vote of all members.


1. This copy of the Constitution was retyped including all amendments on 1 June 1990.
2. It was further reformatted on 11 August 2000 in conjunction with the inclusion of the August 2000 amendments.
3. The Constitution has been amended as follows:
March 1977  Alteration of Section 6c and addition of new Section 6e.
October 1978 Change of Group's name and change of financial year.
June 1981 Amendment to Section 7a to increase the Committee membership from five to six.
October 1985
Clause 6c: Committee given right to replace resigned Officers.
Clause 9: Notice of AGM reduced from two months one.
Nominations of Officers to close immediately prior to the AGM rather than 4 weeks before.
Clause 8d:: Accounts to be approved by Committee rather than being automatically audited.
October 1989 Change of financial year back to original 30 June to allow three months after AGM to pay NZSS subscription before Christmas.
August 2000
Clause 4a: Paragraph (iii) added.
Adherence to ethical guidelines a membership requirement.
Clause 6c: Amendment restricting term of elected officers to no more than 3 years.

Appendix New Zealand Speleological Society Ethical Guidelines

The Society expects that the following code will help to guide the actions of New Zealand Speleological Society affiliated clubs and individual members, and promote an ethical approach to caving by other cave users.

Conservation and Protection of Caves:

  1. We will take care to avoid destruction or disfiguration of cave decorations (speleothems), and any other natural feature of caves.
  2. During exploration, sensitive areas will be taped off and routes will be marked for future use.
  3. In sensitive areas, tracks will be readily adhered to, and where applicable, route markers followed.
  4. We will not disfigure caves by unnecessary markings. Survey marks will be small, inconspicuous and removable.
  5. In areas of clean flowstone floors, muddy clothing or boots will be removed.
  6. We will not leave rubbish in caves; our own or other people's. Flash-bulbs, batteries, wrappings, and other refuse must be carried out of the cave.
  7. We will carry spent carbide out of the cave and wherever possible, encourage the use of battery operated lights.
  8. We will, where practical, discourage camping in caves.
  9. Under usual circumstances, we will discourage the practice of urinating or leaving faeces in caves.
  10. Where there is no alternative to underground camps, faeces, where practical, will be removed from the cave.
  11. When carrying out water tracing work, only those tracing agents which present no danger to the cave flora or fauna will be used.
  12. We will also ensure that water supplies are not adversely affected by tracing agents, and before carrying out experiments, we will obtain water rights from the applicable catchment authority.
  13. We will not construct a gate or a barrier in a cave without first obtaining approval of and the landowner or administering authority.
  14. We will not construct a gate in a cave without an accompanying sign explaining the reason for restricting access, and the circumstances under which authorised visits are possible.
  15. We will not interfere with, force, or damage a legitimately erected gate or barrier.
  16. Bolts for rigging in caves should only be used as a last resort.
  17. Under no circumstances will modifications be made to a cave, or cave entrance, other than to gain access.
  18. We will not remove any deposit, speleothem, sub-fossil remains, flora or fauna, or any other naturally occurring thing from a cave or karst area without first obtaining permission from the administering authority.
  19. Anything removed from a cave or karst area where permission is granted will, where appropriate, be lodged with a recognised museum or scientific organisation.
  20. The classification of caves and karst areas for the purpose of conservation and preservation will be in accordance with the Society's Cave and Karst Management Policy.
  21. We will honour the classification of caves and karst areas determined by government agencies e.g. Department of Conservation.
  22. The Society will consult government agencies to assist them in preparing classifications of caves and karst areas.
  23. We will respect Maori tapu relating to burial caves and will not enter such caves without permission. All human remains, artefacts, and other objects will be left undisturbed. No photographs will be taken without obtaining permission.
  24. When camping in natural areas or on farmland, we shall carefully observe the established Minimum Impact Code and rules of good camping conduct, especially in the lighting of fires and the removal of rubbish. We will bury our faeces when camping.
  25. In order to conserve and protect our cave and karst resource, we shall encourage other organisations or groups that use caves to adopt these guidelines.

Cavers and Landowners:

  1. We will seek and confirm specific approval in advance from the owner before entering a cave or crossing private property. On no account will we take access for granted.
  2. We will respect the privacy of landowners.
  3. We will respect restrictions placed on access to caves, for example, during the lambing season.
  4. We will take care to avoid interference with crops or stock, and ensure that all gates are left as found.
  5. We will, where a cave entrance has been blocked by the landowner to prevent injury to stock, re-block the entrance after use; and will liaise with the owner to erect a fence or some other mutually satisfactory means of protecting the entrance.
  6. We will not conduct any substantial dig, or use explosives, on the surface or underground without the permission of the landowner (or administering authority). We will make secure or cover any hole which has occurred as a result.
  7. We will not be accompanied by a dog, or carry a firearm without the prior consent of the landowner (or administering authority).
  8. We will always have available a current Society membership card to show the landowner (administering authority) when necessary.

Public Relations:

  1. We will obtain permission from the managing authority before entering a tourist cave, and will treat guides and other officials courteously.
  2. We will, when visiting the area of another group or club, co-operate and liaise with that group/club.

Publishing Information:

  1. We will be discreet in disseminating information that might endanger caves or karst areas. In particular we should not reveal the location of entrances in newspapers.
  2. We will not publish. or draw media attention to scientifically, ecologically, or physically sensitive caves or karst areas without prior consultation with NZSS Council.
  3. We will, in reporting our work, particularly to the media, avoid and discourage sensationalism, exaggeration and unwarranted statements.
  4. We will, in publishing our work, take particular care to acknowledge other people's contribution to the work involved, either as clubs, groups or individuals, whether by published work, personal communications, or whatever.

Ethics in Detail

For a short period after emptying your lamp, the waste carbide undergoes a reaction with the surrounding substrate and may be toxic to animals. It will remain very unsightly as well. Take carbide out of the cave in an unsealed container e.g. plastic bag. In many overseas caves, carbide is banned as a light source, and if members do not dispose of it carefully, the same will apply in New Zealand. Outside the cave, don't leave it where stock can eat it or it can be seen.
NZSS policy regarding bones is to leave them where they are unless they inevitably will be destroyed. All previously unexplored passages should be viewed as a source of subfossils and due caution should be taken when first exploring a passage. If bones are seen they should be taped off or placed out of harm's way nearby.
Bones should only be removed from caves if they are to be housed in a public collection by those who are suitably qualified. Waitomo Caves Museum maintains a properly documented land catalogued collection. Collections are also held at Auckland University, Canterbury Museum, and the Museum of New Zealand. An introduction to the sub-fossil remains found in caves is now available at the Waitomo Caves Museum.
Bats are very sensitive to disturbance, and as they are rare and endangered, should not be interfered with when found.
Cave Animals
Collecting or killing cave animals may seriously deplete populations. Please leave them alone unless taking part in a legitimate scientific programme.
Cave Decoration
Cave speleothems (formations) include stalagmites, stalactites, straws, helictites, coral and crystals of all shapes and styles. It is strictly forbidden to remove any formation, including broken bits, except with the permission of the land manager and the NZSS Council detailed description of speleothems has been published by the Waitomo Caves Museum.
Access to Caves
If the cave is on private property, permission must be obtained from the owner or manager. This is very important for the future access of cavers to all caves. Most caves on the public estate (e.g. Department of Conservation) are "Open Access" to cavers, but a permit is necessary in some cases. At present, caves which need permits include: Aurora (Te Anau), Metro Cave (Paparoa National Park), Honeycomb Hill Cave (Karamea), Hollow Hill (Waitomo), Puketiti Flower Cave (north Taranaki), Bone Passage in Gardners Gut (Waitomo), from Department of Conservation, and Wiri Lava Cave (Auckland), from New Zealand Rail.