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Kahu Tamatea (left) and Ray Noble (right)

Ray Noble appointed new CEO

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The Gisborne Herald’s Fraser Ruru reports on the appointment of new Poverty Bay Rugby CEO Ray Noble.

Community is at the heart of the vision for Poverty Bay Rugby Football Union’s next chief executive officer.

The union has announced Ray Noble will succeed Josh Willoughby at the helm.

“The PBRFU board is excited to announce that we have secured Ray Noble for the position of chief executive officer, start date October 1, 2022,” union chairman Hayden Swann said.

Noble has been a part of sport in Gisborne for the better part of 30 years. Many will remember him on the basketball court as a member of the popular and successful Rising Suns team.

He is community rugby manager for the PBRFU and has an appreciation of the union’s goals and the direction it wants to head in.

“Ray has a deep understanding of the sport sector, having worked in various employment and volunteer roles with national and regional sporting organisations, regional sports trusts, clubs and the community for over 30 years.” Swann said.

“Ray brings continuity, integrity, a strong belief in our values and goals, and how we deliver rugby in Tūranganui-ā-Kiwa.

“Ray moves from being our game development manager to CEO after spending last year away from rugby co-ordinating, managing and delivering Softball NZs reset and rebuild project, targeting high deprivation Māori communities.”

Willoughby, who ends his tenure at the end of September, is confident he will leave the union in capable hands.

“It’s good to know that there’s continuity. There’s someone stepping into the role who has a good understanding of what the union’s priorities are and what we have been trying to achieve,” Willoughby said.

He echoed Swann’s comments about Noble’s appreciation of and commitment to achieving the union’s vision.

“It is great to have someone who is going to carry it on but at the same time understands there are areas for improvement — some we have talked about but haven’t been able to do.

“He’s got the power to do that now and I’m interested to see what’s going to happen . . . I’m really excited for Ray.”

The union is reviewing this season’s club and JAB rugby.

“We are right in the middle of the review . . . and we have made it very clear that that is what drives our union and our priorities.” Willoughby said.

“Ray is currently completing the senior and JAB club reviews and is in a very good position to know our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats,” Swann said.

“We look forward to Ray building on the strong position we are in and are excited about the 2023 season.”

Noble is looking forward to his new role.

“I am pretty honoured to be appointed . . . I am motivated to continue the awesome mahi Josh and the board have undertaken over the last four-and-a-half years,” he said.

“I have experience in community development and believe the union should continue to be what our community needs us to be.”

Noble says having staff share in growing the vision is important.

“What gives me confidence coming into my new role is our current staff. They all have different strengths, yet all display a strong work ethic, a selfless attitude and a strong connection with the community.”

Noble has the full support of Willoughby and the board, which he recognises as key to creating a better rugby future for the district.