Annual Report AGM 2024

Annual Report for AGM 2024

“Anthroposophy in Hawke’s Bay”
For the Hawkes Bay Branch of the Anthroposophical Society in New Zealand
AGM to be held on Saturday 13 April 2024 at 2 pm at Rudolf Steiner Centre, Hastings.


Chair:                  Robyn Hewetson  {see Appendix 1 for Chair’s Report}

Treasurer:           Robin Bacchus. See  for Financial Report

Secretary:           Angela Hair

Committee:        John Jackson

Throughout the year we have met monthly. 
Committee Minutes are filed under Members - Anthroposophy in Hawkes Bay

We have various members, some not on the Committee, managing and caring for responsibilities around the Centre:

We are all volunteers, and some devote many hours of effort and hard work to maintain the Rudolf Steiner Centre and all that goes on inside it.

A hearty round of applause for these people.


New Members

We welcome the following new members:
Tania Diedericks; Wendy Rattray; Tasha Taylor; Susan Wotherspoon

Members who have died:

We farewell:  Val Maioha [1 Nov 23]; Florian Roger [26 Nov 23]; Belinda Simcox [6 Dec 23]


We also farewell: Mies de Monchy; Kate Hartland; Bridget Seque;

Transferred out: Sara Isherwood to Australia.

Festivals, Events, Talks, Activities

  • Hebert Wolpert spoke on the “Escalating Conflict in Ukraine”.
  • 14-January: Richard Drexel.  “Major and Minor in the Human Being” (also later in the year)
  • 6-March: Clayton Gibson.
  • A group of Anthroposophical Nurses offered Nursing Therapy for those impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle’
  • 22-April: BD ‘500’ stirring; Story by Ineke and Conversation on Climate Change with Hans Mulder.
  • In June Michelle Vette spoke on “Towards the Centenary of the Anthroposophical Society’s founding Christmas Conference.”
  • 16-June: Richard Drexel. 
  • 1-July: Memorial for Julian Pook.  “Olaf Asteson”
  • 29-July: Farewell to the Mulders (going to Christchurch)
  • 31-August: Stephen Evans. “Reflections on Teachers’ Conference at the Goetheanum.”
  • 10-October: Haiora Gibson.  “Observing Plants”
  • 24-5 February: Robin Bacchus.  Workshop on Threefold Social Order.
  • 28-February: To celebrate Rudolf Steiner’s 163rd birthday,
    Van James gave an illustrated talk on the Madonnas in Art.
  • At Whitsun Ineke Mulder spoke on “Thoughts on the story of Parcival”
  • Angela Hair spoke on “The Art of Homeopathic Remedies”.


The Festival Group has been looking after the seasonal festivals.

  • Mid-winter Festival.  24 June
  • Spring festival.  1 October
  • Mid-Summer.22 December
  • Autumn. 23 March 2024
  • Easter. 31 March

See the Appendix 2 for John Jackson’s more detailed report.

Displays and Art in the Foyer

2023 was a vibrant year for art at the Centre. Despite the challenges of Cyclone Gabrielle, the Centre was able to continue to provide a space and comfortable place for people to drop by, use the facilities, do an art or eurythmy class, consult with the homoeopath, borrow books from the library, attend festivals, study groups and listen to speakers.

We had many artists and artworks at the Centre during 2023. These included watercolours, pastels and sculptures bringing peace, hope and beauty to the Centre.  We are very grateful to the artists who have so willingly brought their art to the Centre and helped to display it.

Displays included:

January 2023 - Birds - various artists.

February 2023 - Bettie Huibers.

April/May 2023 - Bean Burns.

Mid-May (Whitsun) - end June 2023 - John Allison, Eva Steinmetz-Urieli. Amanda Sowersby. David Guerin.

June 2023 - David Guerin Peace sculptures, Amanda Sowersby - Peace Art.

June 2023 - Paulette Durrant.

July 2023 - graduation of Kairos Art School.

July 2023 - Peace Wave - Peace Po planted in the garden.

August 2023 - Cailtin Maloney-Clark.

November 2023 - Eva Steinmetz-Urieli & Bean Burns - Ocean Art.

November/December 2023 - Akiko Shimaoka.

November 19, 2023 - Open Day @ Centre, linking with Taikura Fete.

December 2023 - Eva Steinmetz-Urieli, Kathy Allen’s Art group, Advent display

February 2024 - Jeff Worsnop’s photographs of Cyclone Gabrielle (after 8 months)

March 2024 - Sonja Lethbridge, graduate from the Kairos Art School.

  • Library

Report: See Appendix 3

Website and Newsletter

A Newsletter has appeared nearly every week to give notice of coming events and share communications from individual members.  A link to it on the website is emailed every Sunday to around 200 recipients.

Room Rental   

Three rooms in the Centre (Main Room, Art Room and Consulting Room) have been hired out on a fairly regular basis for Eurythmy, Reiki, a pre-school play group; Art lessons and Art Therapy and Homeopathic Consultancy.  The financial support this provides the Branch has been an important part of our income.  We are glad to make our facilities available to educational and healing initiatives in our community.

If you are interested in hiring a room in the Centre, don't hesitate to get in touch with the Treasurer, Robin Bacchus,  


The lawns are mown, and edges trimmed regularly by a group from Hohepa Care.

Cecile Hurford cleans the Centre regularly on Fridays for which we are most grateful.

Jenny Speedy cares for the garden every week.  We have a Greenwaste bin collected weekly. 

Our car parking facility has been greatly improved by a twin concrete parking strip long enough for two cars.

A Shade Sail has been erected over the sandpit used by the Play Group to protect the children from the hot Hawke’s Bay sun.

While Sparks was still offering free connection, we had a fibre optical cable connected to a terminal in the Consulting Room.  This enables the Internet to be connected in the future, but this has not been done yet.


 Appendix 1

Chair’s Report

We have had a very good team this year.

Robin Bacchus is doing a great deal of work, as Treasurer and as Editor of the weekly Newsletter sent out to 120 members and 80 friends members each Sunday.

The person approved and appointed to be treasurer at the last AGM, decided he did not want the job, so Robin offered to take on the role.

Angela Hair has taken on the role of is working hard as Secretary, and as she works in the building several days each week, she is a good communicator about what is going on and what is needed.

John Jackson is managing the Festivals with a great deal of life and skill.

Robyn Hewetson is a member of BNI (Business Networking International) Hawkes Bay and so has access to excellent business people we can use for maintenance and other issues.

We are very grateful this year to the Hohepa Care Team who mow the lawns and trim of the gardens and grass verges -- a very reliable and affordable arrangement.

Jenny Speedy does an excellent job of our gardens.

Fran Obers and Margaret Stevenson take care of our Library with years of experience, and such devotion and care.

Robin Bacchus as Treasurer has been looking at managing our finances better and we are exploring the question of Insurance for the building, in these times of rapidly rising costs. We have a budget that is established each year and helps the executive make decisions during the year.

We are hoping to gain some new members on our team at this meeting.

In the upcoming Anthroposophical Conference (4 & 5 May) Diana

Bacchus and Bernadette Raichle are helping with set up and the organisation of the Centre..

With Nic Parkes and Michelle Yvette on our National Council we have communication with what is happening New Zealand wide.

Cecile Hurford manages our general cleaning and is a superb person for this job. She does an excellent and caring task of cleaning the whole building and is a very good communicator for what is needed and what needs repairing.

We have recently had Jim’s Trees remove the old cabbage tree stumps from the lawn facing Taikura, so the sand box for the Early Childhood area could have a Shade Sail built over it by Jonathan Jordan. Lawrence Bacchus donated a host of stumps for the children to sit on while they are out there.

Jonathan Jordan has put in two strips to provide a parking area on the side of the building. He continues to support the Centre with and is a very good person to do our maintenance and painting tasks.

We are going into the Winter Term with good heating in the building and timers on them, so they are not left on overnight.

The Committee is a good working group and looks forward to increasing our team for the new term at this meeting.

Best wishes, Robyn Hewetson


 Appendix 2.

Festivals celebrated at the centre for the year April 2023 to 2024

Midwinter Festival 24 June

After a jolly gathering in the foyer, we entered the art room where Saskia had prepared the space and took us through a Steiner meditative exercise of the yellow centre and surrounded by blue and red with colours mixing in places to give purples and greens. A very centring exercise that produced many beautiful cards.

After hearing the soul calendar verse 37, Rachel Pomeroy with the help of a bell then took us on a journey of what happens in nature during this cold dark time of the year. The carrying of spirit light into winter nights, the transfiguring of substances in nature, the cow manure into preparation 500, yarrow being put into the bladders which formed the preparation 502. Yarrow has qualities that help in getting things moving. Rachel did a great job packing much information into her talk. We closed with a close look at two paintings of Archangel Gabriel from David Newbatt who had included a cow in the picture. This caused quite a stir as to what connection the cow has to Gabriel?   There were many questions at the end which were answered by Rachel as well as by members of the audience. The Festival closed with another reading of the Soul Calendar verse 37

To carry spirit light into world winter night
Strives blessedly the impulse of my heart
That soul seeds , brightly shining,
Take root within world grounds
And God-Word in the senses darkness,
Transfiguring, sounds throughout all being.


Spring Festival 1 Oct 2023

After a pleasant meet and greet, we went into the art room where Saskia took us through a clay sculpting exercise. This was enjoyed very much and required a good deal of concentration from everyone.  We then moved into the main room where John read the soul calendar verse 52 and Robyn read the 1st soul calendar verse.  A short piece from The Four Seasons and the Archangels was read; and as we come round again to spring, up above we find  Raphael, with his deeply thoughtful gaze; with the staff of Mercury which now in the airy heights has become something like a fiery serpent, a serpent of shining fire, no longer resting on the Earth, but as though held forth, using the forces of the air, mingling and combining fire, water and earth, to transmute them into healing forces, working and weaving in the cosmos.  And below, quite specially visible, is Michael, coming to meet mankind, with his positive gaze; a gaze that shows the way, as it were, into the world and would gladly draw the eyes of men in the same direction, as he stands close to mankind, the complement of Raphael, in spring. Spring: Raphael above, Michael below.

Rachel then spoke about the importance placed by Steiner in a lecture given 100 years ago on observing the plants, how they grow and how if we do not notice the elementals working in the new growth of spring they become consumed by the dragon.  Michaelmas and the Soul-Forces of Man excerpts;

The stark, intense materialism of the 19th Century is in effect an apostasy from the Michael power.

…if the Michael conception is to come alive again. He (the human being) must be able to experience spirit, and he must be able to gather this experience wholly out of thought — He will experience the spring, sensing the beauty and loveliness of the plant world and finding deep delight in the sprouting, burgeoning life; but at the same time he will develop a feeling for the spell-bound elemental spirituality in all this budding life. He will acquire a feeling, a Gemüt content, telling him that every blossom bears testimony to the existence of an enchanted elemental being within it; and he will learn to feel the longing in this elemental being to be released by him, instead of being delivered up to the Dragon to whom it is related through its own invisibility. And when the flowers wither in the autumn he will know that he has succeeded in contributing a bit to the progress of spirit in the world, in enabling an elemental being to slip out of its plant when the blossoms wither and fall and become seed. But only as he permeated himself with the powerful strength of Michael will he be able to lead this elemental being up into the spirit for which it yearns.  Other participants spoke about the BD gathering.

The festival closed with a poem on blossoms spoken by Robyn around 9pm.


Mid-Summer Festival 22 December

“What seeps down towards the root spirits, that is something which the light has sent into the blossoms, which the sun’s warmth has sent into the plants, which the air has produced in the leaves, which the distant stars have brought about in the plant’s structure.”  from Man as Symphony of the Creative Word

 We are drawn out into the environment, with its growth and beauty of its blooms at this time of the year. While Spring and Summer draw us out in a healthy way, Autumn and Winter have a more inward quality. We can be aware of the earth’s breathing, this mighty being extends into the cosmos in the Southern Hemisphere and draws deep within in the Northern Hemisphere.

Listening to the various stories, anecdotes and experiences of plants brought to the circle provided a refreshing warmth, wonder and interest for our surrounding world.  Each person brought their plant, building connections with varied perspectives as some reflected on the philosophical aspects while others related how they came to be, in their gardens. We reflected that at this time of year we can experience objective spirituality in the outer world.

Jocelyn opened up the theme of Christmas, and participants reflected on what it meant for them, whether it be their struggle with the seasons, how different to experience Christmas through the winter nights, to the expanding light and warmth of summer. It was humbling to experience the diversity within our community.

I felt this festival gave everyone food for thought and let everyone leave with some reflections from it.

John Jackson & Sue Simpson


Autumn Festival 23 March

A small group gathered for this festival. We started with the soul calendar verse 26.  We then enjoyed a creative speech lesson by Robyn Hewetson and learnt the poem. To Autumn by John Keats. It was considered that the art of speech was the most appropriate for this time of year as it made us conscious of our stance, our breath and how our voice carried.  John Jackson then spoke about the lecture The Michael Inspiration. This is the lecture which mentions the verse on iron and how we must learn to recognise its spiritual side if we are to receive its healing power, the healing power of meteoric iron.

It is during the Autumn season that the nature-consciousness we enjoy in spring and summer must change into consciousness of self.  It is from the time of mid-Summer to Autumn that we can experience the living picture of Michael fighting the dragon with his sword of meteoric iron. This counters the sulphurising process, the animal nature within us and strengthens our higher nature.

Meaningful discussion was had afterwards, and a Michael song was practised.


 Appendix 3

Library Report

Library Report

Thank you to our members who make use of the library.  There is an exceptional collection of Anthroposophical and other wisdom in our library, waiting to be read, and all members are encouraged to make full use of it.
As usual, the library team looks forward to welcoming anyone and everyone coming to borrow or browse, most Wednesdays during term time between 11am-3pm.
 Non members also may borrow books (gold coin donation) – there is a small trickle of non members who do come in.
Thank you to members who introduce new people to the library, but please do remember to leave a note with their contact details.
A steady stream of 264 books were borrowed in 2023 (nearly one per day), but 82 are still unreturned, and that's just for 2023.
NOTE: The actual borrowing time is stated as 4 weeks before return or renewal. (not including study groups); however, the total of unreturned books is at least 269 according to the overdue register.
A number of these can be accounted for by borrowers who have crossed the threshold, but not all of them. 
So PLEASE check your bookshelves for any overdue library books. 
If you have borrowed a book in the last 5 years, chances are you still have them or some or one. 
There are no book police, or following up on fines, just trust in the borrowers to be people of their word, that word being their name that they write on the library card.
So, I’m calling an amnesty for 2024. The slot in the wall is always ready to receive books 24 hours per day, if unable to come into the library.
Full replacement cost would most likely come next.
Please contact the librarian at the Hawkes Bay Branch library on most Wednesdays not counting school term breaks, or at to get your overdue book status.
Many thanks to those who regularly tend to the return of borrowed books. 
Last year, 24 books and 3 periodicals were added to the library shelves.   More could have been added, thanks to donations from Ian Trousdell, Hans and Ineke Mulder, and especially Michael and Allysen Caris, but one librarian can only do so much. 
Update on the Caris Gift as of April 10, 2024: All of the Rudolf Steiner titles have now been sorted.  Over half go to our library, to replace lost or damaged books, or added to the same titles for group studies, and the remainder that we don’t need have been set aside for other initiatives or libraries around the country.

Hoping that conference attendees will find something they can take back with them.  These will be available in the library during conference weekend for a donation.
Other non-anthroposophical titles have been on a shelf outside the library door and I’m so grateful to the ones who take them.  There are still a few more that will appear on that shelf as sorting progresses.
‘Anthroposophical authors’ is the last category of their books, and the next lot to be sorted.
Thank you to the library visitors who have left these book piles alone.  Hope to have these done before the conference.

The library appreciates all donated anthroposophical books, and many thanks to Van James for another book donation on his recent visit titled: ‘Painting with Hand, Head and Heart’  by Van James. 

From the library team 

Fran Obers.