AGM 2024 Minutes

Hawkes Bay Branch of the Anthroposophical Society in New Zealand


Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 13th April 2024 at 2.10 pm

 Present:  John Allison, Chris Bacchus, Diana Bacchus, Robin Bacchus, Mike Caris, Angela Hair, Robyn Hewetson, John Jackson, Mike Lawn, Andrew McGovern, Deryn Menzies, Nic Parkes, Rachel Pomeroy, Astrid Pook, Eva Steinmetz-Urieli, Marjorie Theyer, Michelle Vette, Susan Wotherspoon.

 Eighteen members were present - quorum was reached.

Robyn Hewetson welcomed those present and handed the role of Chair to Robin Bacchus


Helen Bedyn, Gypsy Bruce, Trisha Glover, Lauren Hudson, Beate Kinzenbach, Christine Jackson, Gabi & Hans Jansen, Hans & Ineke van Florenstein-Mulder, Fran Obers, Bernie Raichle, Gerrit Raichle, Anna Reid, Ursula Reuter, Rosie Simpson, Sue Simpson, Margaret Stevenson, Marian Stronach

 John Jackson recited 2 versions of The Social Ethic.

Approval of Minutes AGM 2023 - posted online, read by John Jackson in full.  Confirmed as an accurate record unanimously.

 Matters Arising

Stephen Diedericks did not take up the role of Treasurer.  After several months of seeking Robin Bacchus took over this role; Robyn Hewetson became Chairperson; Angela Hair became Secretary.

Insurance - Astrid Pook queried whether we need to have insurance quoting an email from Switzerland questioning insurance - deferred for later discussion.

Mike Caris excused himself for the latter part of the meeting for medical reasons.  He offered himself as a committee member with a special interest in the promotion of study groups, promotion, contemporary issues, and developing the cultural life of the branch.


Chair’s Report was given by Robyn Hewetson.

 Art Displays in Centre report by Angela Hair and Eva Steinmetz-Urieli

John Jackson added to the Art Display report that four David Newbatt’s prints have been purchased for festivals.

 Activities in Centre

Michelle Yvette reported anthroposophical nursing therapies offered to people affected by Cyclone Gabrielle were a success and appreciated by those who came.

A report of other activities at the Centre was also received, including playgroup, talks, eurythmy, events, Open Day, study groups, art classes, and library visitors. The Centre is a vibrant Centre from Mondays to Thursdays.

Room Hire

We have regular room rentals which contribute to finances - playgroup two days a week.

Angela has her homoeopathic consults, Kathy Allan has art classes; Eva Steinmetz-Urieli has art therapy classes; Sue Simpson has eurythmy classes. Cleone Armon leads a regular study group, as does Chris Bacchus on Monday nights.  On the 2nd and 4th Friday nights of the month, there is a conversational study group focusing on Leading Thoughts.

 The Centre is increasingly used by members as a place to take a rest, have a drink, conversation or use the toilet.

 Library Report

The library is open between 11 and 3pm on Wednesdays during term times - 264 books were borrowed.

Special thanks to the librarians, especially Fran Obers, who volunteers her time to keep the library open. Margaret Stevenson also helps when she is not travelling.

Suggestion: We could have a library sign to advise when it is open and extended opening hours for those that are not able to attend on a Wednesday.

Michelle Yvette said that the Centre was very hospitable at the time of Florian’s death when a lot of young people came to his memorial and were able to express their grief.

 Communications with Members: Robin Bacchus reported that a Newsletter is emailed each Sunday

 Treasurers Report  was presented by Robin Bacchus

Eighty members made contributions of $90 (as requested) or more, and some people gave less, depending on their circumstances. 29% of income was from members contributions and these people are able to claim a 1/3 as a tax rebate as we are a Charitable organisation, although this may change under the current government. We are in a good financial position with money in term deposits.

Michelle Yvette noted the possibility that the government may reduce the donation rebate within the next year which may make it less appealing for people to be a member.  Committee to keep an eye on this.

Rachel Pomeroy commented that membership reminders are helpful to people who haven’t paid, but asked for a personalized reminder rather than a generalised letter to everyone.  The Treasurer will do this.

Annual Contribution – remains at $90.  Agreed unanimously.

Insurance: The committee met on Friday with insurance representatives regarding the Centre’s Insurance. We have a commercial insurance policy because the building is not lived in. We are insured for replacement of our plant and the building.  Fire is the biggest risk we face. The Library, which is our biggest asset, would be affected by fire rather than other risks. The Library has many sets of Steiner lectures that we would not be replacing if destroyed.  Instead, we would aim to get a new copy of every published book by Steiner.  We have asked for a policy increased to $900K building replacement, but keeping the same contents insurance which would increase the premium by approximately $800 to $4,000.  During the next year, we will get an Insurance Valuation report done to establish a more accurate value for insurance purposes.

Treasurer’s report was accepted unanimously.

 Trustees’ Report:  presented by John Jackson

Legacy money (from Brian Butler) is kept for cultural activities.  We invite initiatives to use this. 

Nic Parkes noted that there is a set of agreements from Switzerland around legacy money - it is recommended that some of the legacy money left to local groups be passed on to the Goetheanum.  New Zealand struggles financially, as it doesn’t have much legacy money coming in and Nic asks if the Trustees have a policy around sharing the legacy money with the Anthroposophical New Zealand.  The trustees will consider this.

Nic Parkes was asked to write to other branches regarding gifting legacy money to support NZAS.

 Changes to the Rules (of the Trust Deed)

There is an impulse to simplify the very long name the Branch Society to “Anthroposophy Hawkes Bay”

Reasons for the changes: To allow local Membership of the Hawkes Bay Branch, and add a layer of membership.  If a person wishes to join the New Zealand Anthroposophical Society (ASNZ) or the General Anthroposophical Society (GAS) based in the Goetheanum it is a daunting step.

People who are now friends could become Local members without first having to become NZ or International members.

The Financial Year change is recommended to 1 April to 31 March rather than 31 December.  This will bring financial reporting to be in step with New Zealand’s culture.

Incorporated Society Act (1918) - people cannot be deemed to be branch members unless they take the step to join the Society and make a financial contribution - this is the step that makes them a Member.    
Comment: Younger people don’t have a connection the way older people do.  They are attracted by events and connections.  The Auckland branch is running study groups, parenting courses, and speakers and are inviting relevant groups to come together and through events become members.

Michelle Yvette commented that when a membership comes through the website, these people are invited to things happening in a particular branch close to them.

Discussion of the issue ensued.  The Committee to consider this when our new committee member, Mike Caris, comes on board.

Amendments to the Trust Deed deferred, to be considered in a larger format at a later date.

Election of Committee:
Mike Caris was nominated by Robin Bacchus, and seconded by Robyn Hewetson.
The current members are standing again.  As there are not more than 7 candidates, there is no need for an election.  So the new Committee is: Robin Bacchus, Michael Caris, Angela Hair, Robyn Hewetson, John Jackson.

 Election of Trustee:

Mike Lawn is eligible for another three years and is willing to do that.  There are no other nominations he was acclaimed as a continuing Trustee.  The Trustees are: Michael Lawn, John Jackson, Andrew McGovern.

 General Business:

Astrid Anderson asked if people have come with some preparation of knowing what we are talking about in Rudolf Steiner's references (as given in her Newsletter article).  Steiner suggests having a branch meeting every week.  He differentiates between an anthroposophical branch and the Society - how can the two be reconciled?  A branch group carries the culture of the branch.  The Society takes responsibility for paying people to give teachings and doesn’t hire out the Centre.  Mike Caris will be looking at this when he joins the Branch committee.

 Chris Bacchus - he will be starting a study group of the Agricultural Course - 7 pm on Monday nights from 22 April.       
In July there will be conversations about the Foundation Stone Meditation on four Wednesday evenings.

 John Jackson: We have a Social Media group page - so much of this can be put on this page and will be in newsletters.

 Meeting ended at 3.51pm