I’ll start off with some general comments before moving on to some of the specific projects we have had going on this year.
First of all we have had a very good team and have worked together pretty well. We have spent a bit of time looking at the different roles that council members play in the organisation, through using a Belbin Roles analysis, and concluded that we had a good range of types represented on Council. The major problem, however, has been that the council is simply too small – especially after Linnea had her baby and has quite rightly pulled back from PiNZ and other responsibilities. As a result we have struggled to get as many things done as we would have liked.
We would have liked to get the new website up this year but that has not happened, although the website has taken up a lot of our attention. Part of the difficulty has been project managing the work – we have contracted two separate people to take on that role at different times but they both had to pull out for various reasons. We don’t really have the expertise on Council to keep on top of the work flow but have had to do our best. We have budgeted money to employ Fuzion to help with both the drupal website build and the CiviCRM database which sits behind it and gives it the power and that has moved things along, although again managing the work flow to be clear what pieces of work our webmaster Richard needs to concentrate on and which bits Fuzion needs to focus on is an issue. Richard has worked reasonably well with Fuzion and we expect to see further progress as a result of that relationship.
PiNZ pitched to run the next Australasian Permaculture Convergence as an Oceanic Convergence in 2018 but was turned down – the feedback we got was that people liked the idea but wanted the APC to focus on Australian domestic issues. This begs the question why it isn’t called the Australian Permaculture Convergence, but there you go.
Based on the support for an Oceanic Convergence expressed by the PiNZ membership previously, the Council has decided to host the OPC in 2019 in Auckland around harvest time. This should avoid clashing with the APC in 2018 and the IPC which is likely to be late 2019 in India.
Auckland Permaculture Workshop and Resilio have agreed to manage the event, with oversight by PiNZ Council and input from an advisory group.
Our bookkeeper, Clare Wimmer, has introduced some new financial systems which are starting to yield good financial data for decision-making. She has agree to continue in that role for this year, overseen by the elected treasurer.
The hui wiki is a resource for people organising the hui and is constantly added, to following each hui. Joelyn Winters did a great job of starting it and incorporating historical information into it and it will continue to grow.
Council Manual Review
Council has been working on updating the manual, including Council job descriptions and processes as these were badly out of date and unnecessarily detailed. Most of it has been updated although a little still remains to do.
It is with sadness that I note the intended resignation of three of our current Council members – Jocelyn Winters, Cheryl Noble and Linnea Lindstrom.
Linnea is leaving because she has recently has a baby. She was only on Council a short time but did an excellent job in that time and introduced some very helpful rigour around the secretarial function, including minute taking, as well as in decision-making generally. We regret that we are losing her but some things are more important.
Jocelyn has been indicating for a couple of years that she wanted to step down from Council and has stayed on to help ensure we had good succession and stability in the handover. She was the longest serving Council member and her institutional knowledge and generally considered approach was a great benefit to our deliberations. It is sad to see her leave but we miss her all the best.
Cheryl is leaving to give more attention to her extraordinary adventures doing permaculture in Burma. Cheryl was also a highly valued member of the team, one who perhaps didn’t take up as much speaking time as some of us but whose contributions when they came were always significant and often caused us to change direction. Again, she will be missed.
EDIT: At the hui Floyd Driver and Kama Burwell both stepped down from council after seeing 8 fantastic new people elected on, and feeling they could hand over the baton.
Floyd joined the Council at the same time as me, at the Turangi APC, and has carried a huge load for most of that time. During the last year or two he has had to deal with some major personal matters as well as do the roles he took on and I know that has caused some stress. He has done an enormous amount for PiNZ since being elected on to Council and his energy and enthusiasm were a blessing for us over the past few years.
Kama has only been on Council for one year but made a real mark in that time with her very thoughtful and constructive approach. I have really enjoyed working with her and while I understand she has personal reasons for stepping back, I selfishly regret that we won’t have her valuable input in Council this year.
I want to thank all our departing council members. They each contributed in unique and important ways to this organisation and gave many hours of work for very little reward - apart from the knowledge that they were contributing to something important. Love and blessings to them all.