Beware – A Tangled Web

I thought you might be interested in the torturous route required to write a recent Swimwatch story. Here is a self-explanatory exchange of emails and the final story. It may be worth typing the name of the sender plus Massey University into Google before you read further.


Dave Crampton

To:David Wright

‎6‎ ‎Aug at ‎5‎:‎31‎ ‎PM

Here’s something. I spoke with Mark Berge today and he has told me he agrees that his Swimming Wellington board is not meeting in accordance with its constitution as it has more board members than its constitution provides for – and this increase in board members over its rules was approved in a letter from Swimming NZ . such changes have to go through the membership, NOT Swimming NZ more later.  MUCH more later.




Dave Crampton

To:David Wright

‎7‎ ‎Aug at ‎12‎:‎52‎ ‎AM


have a look at the swim welli constitution. Have a look at the number of board members on the board meeting minutes  and compare that with the rules. Ask Swimming NZ why there is a discrepancy ( hint: they know why) Have a look at the  amount of time spent “in committee”  ( often discussing me but also Masterton and Raumati)

Have a look at the meet entry numbers in Wellington. Its very low apart from champs. Wonder why? Ask yourself why so many senior swimmers from welli clubs are flocking to Capital and why four Swim Welli clubs had just one swimmer each at NAGs. Ask why the swim welli board has no members who are both members of clubs and Swimming Wellington. Mark Berge is not a member of swimming Wellington.

Ask why Swim welli is happy to host a National secondary schools meet that breaches FINA rules ( specifically General Rule 1.1 -eligibility)  in that they permit  non registered swimmers to compete. Will it start in the deep end or the shallow end?  Will FINA recognise the meet if its rule is breached? If not, how can FINA points be  awarded?

ETC Dave



Dave Crampton

To:David Wright

‎7‎ ‎Aug at ‎9‎:‎48‎ ‎AM

Can I read it first please? because something you dont know about ( and I cant tell you yet for legal reasons ) is about to drop soon.




David Wright

To:Dave Crampton

‎7‎ ‎Aug at ‎7‎:‎57‎ ‎PM


This post is the first of three that will deal with corruption in Swimming New Zealand. Some of the reports will be pretty dull reading as they take you through the bureaucratic detail required to reveal the corrupt behaviour of those on the Swimming New Zealand Board and management. But persevere, you will find evidence of wrongdoing.

We begin in Wellington. Swimming Wellington merged with Wairarapa Swimming five years ago in July 2013. One result of the merger was an increase of one in the number of Swimming Wellington Board members; from six to seven. This was perfectly legal. Here is what the Swimming Wellington Constitution says on the subject of Board composition.

The Board comprises six persons, (except following a merger of regional associations when for the first three years after the merger, the Board shall comprise no less than six persons and no more than eight persons)

Today I see that the Swimming Wellington Board still has seven members. They are Chairman Mark Berge, Deputy Chairman Paul Matson, Technical Officer Greg Forsythe and Board members Allison Yannakis, Chris Dyhrberg, Murray Pugh and Sam Rossiter-Stead.

I am not sure why Sam Rossiter-Stead is still on the Board. I may be wrong but I was told he had shifted to the Bay of Plenty. However he is still listed as being on the Board. That is seven names which was fine for the period 2013 to 2016. But after 2016 the Constitution requires that the Board return to a maximum of six members. I thought how come Swimming Wellington has operated in breach of its Constitution for two years?

I decided to investigate. Much of what I found is shrouded in secrecy. Certain facts are difficult to find. However it appears that at some time in the past two years someone from Swimming Wellington, probably the President or as he labels himself the consultant on jeans, contacted Swimming New Zealand and asked for permission to allow the Region to have seven Board members. I don’t know the content of their reply. However Swimming New Zealand must have approved because the extra Board member is still there.

If that is what happened, it is a disgrace. No one can trust a Board that ignores the organisation’s Constitution. And as for Swimming New Zealand giving their approval; that is just as bad. Effectively a backroom, deal probably between Christian Renford or Steve Johns and Mark Berge, changed the Wellington Constitution. Swimming Wellington’s Constitution told them both what any change to the Constitution involves. Here is what the Constitution says.

Subject to Clause 15.2 and subject to the prior written consent of Swimming NZ, this constitution may be changed by Special Resolution at a GM for which such change has been notified in accordance with Clause 10.

Swimming New Zealand must also have known better. Here is the same clause from the Swimming New Zealand Constitution.

Subject to rule 20.2 this constitution can only be changed by Special Resolution at a GM for which such change has been notified in accordance with rule 15.

I have scoured the General Meeting minutes listed on the Swimming Wellington website. I can find no record of a “Special Resolution at a General meeting” required, by the Constitution, to make a change to the Constitution. If this is the case, and the Boards of Swimming Wellington and Swimming New Zealand have conspired to ignore the rules, it is really bad. Quite simply it means neither Board can be trusted. It means the sport is being run like some central African dictatorship. It means the Constitutions of Swimming Wellington and Swimming New Zealand are meaningless. And it means those responsible for the corruption should resign – that’s Berge, Cotterill and Johns.

Because corruption is what having seven Board members for two years longer than the Constitution allows is. When Swimming New Zealand received the Wellington letter asking for approval to have seven Board members, their reply should have been conditional on the members approving the change at a General Meeting. But once again the members of the sport were treated like dirt. How dare anyone suggest that Berge or Cotterill should be accountable to the members. If ever there was a case of mushroom management, keep them in the dark and feed them shit, this must be it.

Mind you the members also get what they deserve. In my view Cotterill and Berge have been at this sort of caper for years. Unless members hold them accountable like all autocrats they will misbehave. Give them and inch and they will take a mile. It seems that is exactly what they have done.

Kia Kaha David Wright



Dave Crampton

To:David Wright

‎7‎ ‎Aug at ‎8‎:‎47‎ ‎PM

Hi David

Please do not post this just yet –   I know why Sam Rossiter Stead is on the  board but need to get advice before I  put that to print for legal reasons.

But before I amend this post can you  please do the following

1. write your three posts and email them to me

2. I will then decide after consultation with the relevant people  which bits I  have to seek legal advice on

3.also  which bits I can fill gaps in

4. I will then get back to you with  the rest of the story when I am permitted to.  Its worse than you  have written . So lets do it right,

the reason I am asking this is that I have written to Mark Berge and he has promised to answer my questions  by the weekend. I have asked him for more info that you have provided. Timing is crucial in this. Lets not jump the gun. I will work with you on this  – also   you dont seem to know who the members of swimming wellington are.  None of the board are members. According to SNZ constitution neither are the swim welli  life members!!

Send those three posts  and then give me a couple of days?

Finally  “Effectively a backroom, deal probably between Christian Renford or Steve Johns and Mark Berge, changed the Wellington Constitution.”

1. its worse than that

2. They werent the people involved.

Send those three posts and then give me a couple of days?   I`ll get back to you.




David Wright

To:Dave Crampton

‎7‎ ‎Aug at ‎9‎:‎45‎ ‎PM


Sorry but I’d prefer to drop the whole thing including not publishing the story written today. Swimwatch is the pet of no one and especially I am not a ghost writer for you.

If you want to publish all that stuff on Swimwatch write it yourself and I’ll put it up with you as the author. But please don’t play the role as Editor in Chief of Swimwatch. That is unacceptable

So write the story yourself.


Kia Kaha David Wright


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