26 Apr 2010

RSA buoyed by new generation of membership

6:17 am on 26 April 2010

A new generation of memberships has buoyed the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association, which is preparing for its centenary celebrations in 2016.

As the number of war veterans decline, the RSA has had to look at ways of boosting membership.

The youngest of the World War II veterans are now in their 80s, and every year there are fewer of them to attend Anzac Day commemorations on 25 April.

The RSA says it is not just recently retired servicepeople who are becoming members. The public has been allowed to join, without belonging to the armed forces, for the past 30 years.

RSA chief executive Stephen Clarke says the youth market is now also being targeted through social media networks including Facebook. Mr Clarke says a youth faction, for people aged between 13 and 18, is also proving popular.

Nelson RSA president David Wallace says his club has looked at various ways to build its membership, including moving its headquarters, and the number of members is growing by about 15 per month.