The AA Research Foundation governance structure involves expert steering committees, trustees and the AA National Council.


The purpose of the AA Research Foundation is to act as a catalyst for getting clearly needed research undertaken where no other catalyst exists.

The Trust Deed specifies the Foundation's objectives:

  • To undertake research that has the potential to significantly influence Government policy, particularly in regard to driver education.
  • To investigate road safety areas where current understanding is poor or falsely assumed to be known.
  • To coalesce diverse road safety research efforts in order to create momentum and purpose.
  • To carry out research in areas not currently explored by Government.
  • To conduct applied research which can be implemented to the benefit of AA Members.
  • To partner with researchers and Government agencies to ensure research findings are adopted and actioned (as has happened with the NZAA KiwiRAP model).


The AA Research Foundation governance structure has three tiers - expert Steering Groups, AA Research Foundation Trustees and the AA National Council.

Responsibilities of each tier of governance includes:

  • Expert Steering Groups (made up of representatives from a range of organisations working in fields relevant to the research programmes). These groups are consulted about potential new projects; they examine and direct current research; and report to the AA Research Foundation Trustees. Often they are made up of people who would ultimately have some involvement in implementing recommendations from the research.
  • AA National Council ultimately approves research programmes and projects, but delegates detailed consideration of project proposals and oversight of expenditure to three AA Research Foundation Trustees.
  • AA National Council appoints the Trustees. Trustees are limited to two AA Councillors plus the AA President, who make recommendations to the AA National Council.
  • AA Research Foundation staff provide secretariate and executive functions.


The Trustees of the AA Research Foundation are currently Mark Winger (AA President & Chair of AARF), Stacey Spall (AA Bay of Plenty District Council Chairperson) and Mark Yates (AA Auckland District Council Chairperson).

How we operate

The AA Research Foundation is largely funded through grants provided by the AA for specific research projects, sometimes supplemented by funding or other resources offered by other organisations working in the field. 

In order to maximise funds:

  • The governance of the Foundation is intended to be as light on resources as possible. This is achieved by drawing together existing resources and interests and coordinating these.
  • Wherever possible the Foundation seeks partners from agencies which are likely to implement the research or have a financial or in-kind interest in the outcome of the research. This is in part to leverage AA funds, but also to obtain buy-in from those agencies affected by the research outcomes.
  • The engagement model is one of “partnership” and is based on the highly successful KiwiRAP implementation model. Thus, to an extent, success is “shared” and “co-owned”, which greatly increases the likelihood of research findings and funding being applied and implemented.
  • The Foundation is fundamentally concerned with making positive improvements to road safety in New Zealand. Programmes must have the potential to make a significant difference to the numbers of New Zealanders killed or injured on our roads.

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