CANZA : Beginnings.
The following is a brief history of CANZA written by one of the founding members, Len Edney. Over the next few months we'll be expanding this section of the site to include a year by year review of some of the highlights of our organisation:
In the summer of 2005 an Australian, Steve Rees, got together with other Aussies and Kiwis over a few beers and floated the idea of CANZA. He had been working previously in KL, Malaysia and belonged to MANZA (the Malaysian, Australian & New Zealand Association).
At the very beginning it was all about monthly drinks night/socials and networking. We then became involved in forming a Rugby Club, Cricket Club, Yacht lessons on the Vlatava (disastrous, no wind but plenty of beer most days), celebrating Australian & Waitangi Day, ANZAC day and then the committee had the idea of a Christmas Charity Ball with the proceeds going to Children’s charities in the Czech republic.
Over the years we were approached by Austrade (the Australian Trade Commission) to assist with Touch and Taste Australia (2), Study in Australia and other promotions, the New Zealand Government to help organize a New Zealand Export seminar in Prague and, with both Governments active support, to hold film nights promoting Australia and New Zealand Films. Further we held business lunches to introduce new Ambassadors (and others with something worthwhile to say) to the community.
In between times we donated goalposts and jerseys for rugby, equipment for cricket, held Bar-B-Q’s, visited ex-pats in hospital and co-promoted Australian and New Zealand wines over diners. Additionally CANZA has sponsored Australian Artists appearing at the Prague Fringe Festival, organized Schools Orchestra’s and Choirs appearing in Prague, supported visiting Maori Concert parties, advised distraught ex-pats and generally made ourselves useful where-ever we had the abilities. We have even had members meet (and marry) their future spouse at CANZA events.
As with all ex-pat groups members move on, priorities change, the numbers go up and down but we, CANZA, are still here, still celebrating Australian/Waitangi Day, still organizing the ANZAC Day memorial service followed by a Bar-B-Q, still holding our Christmas Charity Ball (now well over a million KC donated to Czech children’s charities) and still enjoying our drinks nights. Sensibly we gave up the pretense of yachting and focused on the beer.
Why not become an active member of CANZA by joining the committee and help contribute some of the Australasian attitude and lifestyle into the Prague scene? At least sign up as a member and read in advance our program for the next months.