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The 2023 AGM

Chairpersons report to AGM

Our chairperson Jo Lumkong has retired after almost 3 years. We thank her for her leadership and energy though some difficult times. She leaves us in good heart. We now have 113 members, more than we have had since our earliest days in 2004. Jo’s report covered a range of issues and activities, including some of the frustrations of trying to get community-based planning for our town with spatial planning, master planning and the planning foundation document all on hold. She discussed resolving the traffic dominance in the CBD and her vision for a vibrant town with retail traffic and a café culture.

The address by the guest speaker - Ken Ross

Ken Ross is an ecologist, former teacher at Bay of Islands College and was a community liaison officer with FNDC. In his talk “Broadening the Context” he discussed society, its evolution and its governance through the analogy of 3 gems.

  • Gem one is a Treaty of Waitangi lens from a Te Tiriti perspective (the Maori version).

  • Gem two is an environmental lens and consisted of 4 inter-related perspectives about the biosphere which supports us and is paramount. Humanity is a subset of the biosphere, but it is living unsustainably and consuming too many resources. The economic system, a sub/set of humanity has become dominant. He discussed various perspectives including the strong sustainability model that tells us the biosphere is paramount, humanity is a subset of the biosphere and the human construct of ‘money and economy’ is a subset of society, so we need to think about them in that context. Money and the economy is much less important than the environment and biosphere, and less important than people and we need to get our thinking and decision making into that order if we are to stop living ‘unsustainably’ and move toward a relationship with the planet and all other life that is ‘sustainable. We need to always put Gaia first and money last.

  • Gem 3 is a societal lens. He described how humanity evolved from simple families or groups and with governance structures of increasing complexity. New Zealand’s political system operates within the context of a representational, democratically elected parliamentary central government, with semi-separate regional and localised governance that is also elected democratically. He considers that NZ’s democratic system is currently weak with an imbalance of power. He observed that 83% of revenue in NZ goes to central governments and only 13% to Councils, the opposite of Switzerland as an example. Councils are underfunded for the tasks they need to perform.

You can read more detailed notes of Ken’s talk by clicking here.

We have three new committee members, David Rees, Anette Main and Jason Vokes and are pleased to have some fresh faces and their wide-ranging experience. Their profiles are below.

Annette Main

Annette moved to the Far North full-time three years ago after a period of regular travel from Whanganui to manage the renovation of a property she had purchased on the Purerua Peninsula. She has family who have lived here in Kerikeri for the last ten years.

Since being here, she has observed with interest the speed at which Kerikeri and Waipapa are developing and the tensions this has created. With an eighteen-year background in both local and regional government, she has a solid understanding of the role councils play on behalf of communities, and has continued to stay in touch with plans to reform councils and their roles.

In 2016 Annette was awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her work to unite communities as both a regional councillor and deputy chair, and as Whanganui’s Mayor. Managing the involvement of four councils throughout the Whanganui River settlement process with Whanganui iwi and finally completed five years ago, she continues in an advisory role to Te Pou Tupua, who hold the role of legal guardians of the river.

She also has her own business The Sea House, following on from 25 years of providing remote visitor accommodation in the Whanganui River hinterland accessible only by aerial cableway.

Jason Vokes

Jason is 55 and married to Kim and they have 6 adult children between them. He has lived in Kerikeri since 2004 and seen many changes over that time. Their eldest daughter, Ashley, lives in Kerikeri with her husband and two children - the others are dotted around the country and in Australia. He was Chair of the Kerikeri Business Association from 2009 to 2021 and had contact with VKK throughout that time so knows many of the members and enjoyed a degree of like mindedness on most topics. He and his wife have a Financial Advice business in Kerikeri but prior to this he was been involved in Brand Management and Sales with a focus of selling NZ products abroad. He loves living in Kerikeri and wants to keep in the loop as to what's going on with respect to its development and growth. He has a saying... "that despite the increased regulation, bureaucracy and political inaction that restricts growth and investment - money will always find a way". What he means by that is, investment and growth move around the rules and development happens anyway - but without a plan and frequently in isolation - this usually results in regulation leading to unintended consequences. He finds it very frustrating that local (and national) Govt don't get this and is happy to put his shoulder to the wheel to try to guide them when he can.

David Rees

David is a recent arrival in Kerikeri, arriving in 2020. David has spent his adult live working as a researcher, educator and consultant in the private and public sectors in NZ, Australia and the UK and is currently retiring from a company he set up 24 years ago. David has 3 children and 1 grandson and hopes to use his experience to support Kerikeri's continued growth as a vibrant community that cares for all the people who are privileged to live here. David is also involved with Kiwi Coast, establishing a predator control programme along the Kerikeri River.

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