The branch organises activities on average once every 4 to 6 weeks, these are held in Palmerston North, Wellington and in other locations throughout the area, allowing all members the opportunity to attend local events.
2015 Wellington Science Fair
There were about 80 food and water related projects this year which kept the team of 5 judges busy for a morning. There was a wide range of topics this year and Anchor milk containers only appeared once which was a pleasant change from previous years...read more
Bio-farm Organic Yoghurt
For any business founded on innovation it is an inconvenient truth that a primary driver of success is luck and the mother of luck is timing. Irrespective of planning, an unplanned event, or shear blind luck, frequently frames the chances for success or failure ...read more
Visit to Tweedale Apiaries
Late on an April Friday, seventeen members of our Branch trekked from the corners of our domain to meet at D&C Tweeddale Apiaries in rural Taihape...read more
Welcome to 2015 Techies
The Central Branch of NZIFST put on a welcoming function for Massey Food Technologists on the 24th of March. This featured “gourmet” sausages freshly barbequed in the Product Development Lab as well as a guest speaker Linda Hafner, who is the New Product Development Manager at Premier Meats in Carterton...read more
Prof Douglas Dalgleish
Prof Dalgleish remains a major force in food academia with 40 years in food research, predominantly dairy-focussed, and over 200 research paper authorship credits. He is a frequent visitor to New Zealand having been a regular visiting researcher to the Riddet Institute since its foundation, and an interested explorer of our...read more
2014 Branch Meetings
2015 Wellington Science Fair
There were about 80 food and water related projects this year which kept the team of 5 judges (Sally Hasell, Rob Allman, Melinda Sando, Dennis Thomas and Duncan de Geest) busy for a morning. There was a wide range of topics this year and Anchor milk containers only appeared once which was a pleasant change from previous years. As is often the case, the younger students produced the best projects. Senior projects were not only few in number but lacked scientific rigour and were poorly researched.
The winner was Emily Rampton (year 7 Wadestown School). She had grown microgreens on a variety of substrates and found very different outcomes, especially with regards to taste. Highly commended were Annabel Peacock (also year 7 Wadestown School) and Daniel Gibbs (year 7 Evans Bay Intermediate). Annabel had looked at the effect of a wide variety of commonly drunk liquids on teeth and Daniel investigated the differences between low and high fat milk for coffee frothing and compared fresh and stored milk.
The judges particularly commented on the good understanding that the winners had of their projects, the good rationale behind selecting their project and the amount and variety of data collected, including repeating experiments and the clear presentation and analysis of the data.
July 2015 BIO-FARM ORGANIC YOGHURT
For any business founded on innovation it is an inconvenient truth that a primary driver of success is luck and the mother of luck is timing. Irrespective of planning, an unplanned event, or shear blind luck, frequently frames the chances for success or failure.
If ever a Kiwi business embodied that truth it is the vertically integrated cow-to-customer venture BIO-FARM® Organic Yoghurt, and the Central Branch of NZIFST had the pleasure of hearing their tortuous pathway from faltering farmer to flourishing firm direct from Bio-Farm’s founding father Jaime Tait-Jamieson.
Jaime’s story started in the heady heavy rock days of the `70’s when Jaime, armed with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a complementing Dairy Diploma decided to ditch his promising musical career as a bass-guitarist and get a “real job” running the family farm. The property was a trust farm established by Jaime’s grandfather serving a town-supply contract, and had become decrepit from under-investment, neglect and a rarely sober sharemilker who saw “the bare minimum” as an aspirational goal. It was fortunate that the farm was framed on three sides by the Manawatu River as there were few fences to otherwise restrain stock to the property. So Jaime’s first task was to restore the property to some level of acceptable repair. As a town supply unit, calving was continuous and their milk supply curve relatively flat, important factors in shaping Jaime’s future ambitions.
But for now the farm was directed to supplying milk to the local milk treatment station, and was struggling to be economic. In an effort to boost economies of scale, the family acquired adjacent land in year 3 and more two years later, but the associated debt in those perilous days of double-digit interest rates produced monthly interest bills that simply meant they were going broke faster.
Soon there came the dreaded call from the bank; they were foreclosing and putting the farm up for public auction. Far from being discouraged the family decided that they should be active bidders at the auction, so prepared a new business plan built around ecological principles of “zero input farming” (later given a racier name “biodynamic”), took it to a finance company to fund, and such was the financial mood of the time that the GM agreed to fund the venture based on the farm’s proximity to urban Palmerston North. Driven more by bravado than acumen, the family made the winning bid to reclaim their farm, but “at an untenably inflated price” per Jaime’s hindsight.
Thus the Tait-Jamieson venture into biodynamic farm was launched. It was quickly apparent that “zero input farming” was not revolutionary, being farming per his Grandfather’s methods, and so not the expected recipe for economic salvation. So the farm continued as an economic cot case much as before. The tipping point was the financial crash of 1987 which saw the demise of the finance company mortgagor and the receivers calling in the Tait-Jamieson loan, which could not be refinanced. However, a judicial discrepancy with the property title prevented the receivers from assuming title on foreclosure requiring legal resolution. The matter of resolving clear title stymied the farm being sold from under the Tait-Jamiesons and gave them two precious years to frame an assured economic turn-around plan. For a change, luck was loaded on the family’s side! Wasting that opportunity ensured the dream was over and the ensuing strategic clarity crystallised that a quantum change in value generation was essential if the Tait-Jamiesons were to continue their link with their farm. Tinkering at the margins could never rescue the dire financial situation – a bold plan was needed ... and quickly!
“We’ll make the only organic yoghurt in the country” declared Jaime, launching that proposition on the intrinsic strengths of established biodynamic practices and their flat milk supply curve. “And we’ll make it from wholemilk and only from milk without any additives whatever” realising the value proposition of a “pure” product and the operational benefit of a product founded on wholemilk, meaning no surplus cream to manage. Making yoghurt was just one more thing that Jaime could learn by reading and asking, in the manner that first dairy farming and then biodynamic farming had been learned.
Jaime begged, borrowed and stole first knowledge and then plant access (Palmerston North’s milk treatment plant were accommodating), and a sole product “organic plain yoghurt” was quickly developed for sale in pottles. “It’s too runny” cried the punters; “You can almost drink it!”. “We’ll pack our product in bottles and sell the country’s first organic DRINKING yoghurt” thought Jaime ... and so he did. “Where’s the acidophilus?” enquired the customers. A visit to NZDRI across town and Jaime had his acidophilus culture.
While there was a degree of “cowboy” to Jaime’s operational approach, there was greater discipline in the marketing. Realising that this end game relied on developing a FMCG brand position around their unique offering, the family ensured they tied their product to a brand name that embodied their values and spoke to its target customers – BIO-FARM® – and then made sure the underlying brand principles were lived and enhanced as distribution was gradually expanded. Initially sold through independent health food retailers, slotting into the supermarket system was accomplished through further brazen serendipity. Jaime bowled up to the local Woolworths with a load of product hoping to persuade them to stock his wares on a trial basis. Arriving at the delivery dock, the warehouseman, assuming that this was just another routine delivery, called out to Jaime “I’m flat out at the moment ... just drop your product in the chiller!” And so Bio-Farm had its first slot on a supermarket shelf.
With production reliably contracted to a core dairy facility, and distribution expanding, things were going great ... until it was announced that the Palmerston North Milk Treatment Station was to close. The BIG decision was taken to bring manufacturing back to the farm and a factory was constructed adjacent to the milking shed. The learning curve was steep and teething problems were overwhelming. Entire batches were discarded to pig food until the realisation dawned that the direct set process installed was not suited to BIO-FARM product and that a starter-pot system was necessary to provide the high inoculation rate needed. Jaime located a starter pot nearby and “traded” one of his cows for the equipment. Shortly after making the process change the original quality was achieved and BIO-FARM yoghurt was back!
Today the Tait-Jamieson’s BIO-FARM story is stand-out success. How else can you describe an ascribed milk payout approaching triple digits, when the broader dairy farming community contends with mid-single figure income? But Jaime is the first to concede that this success is born from rapid recovery from a raft of mistakes and a fair share of luck. However it was also clear to this audience that Jaime’s entrepreneurial spirit and drive were no small factors in what had been achieved. Jaime is ample proof that in this world you largely make your own luck.
This was one of the best attended branch meetings ever with about 35 members present between the primary venue in Palmerston North and the video-linked downtown Wellington venue. The high attendance had the committee scratching their heads as logistical challenges necessitated this meeting be slated with just a few days’ notice. Perhaps this proves what an impulsive bunch we are at NZIFST Central ... or maybe we are just eager to get back to the land.
Allan Main (FNZIFST)
April 2015 Visit to TWEEDDALE APIARIES, Taihape
Late on an April Friday, seventeen members of our Branch trekked from the corners of our domain to meet at D&C Tweeddale Apiaries in rural Taihape. This was an impressive attendance given that Taihape is at the far northern reaches of our region, requiring a 3 hour drive from Wellington and 1½ hours from Palmerston North.
Here, unexpectedly, in the backblocks of Taihape, one of the country’s largest apiary businesses operates out of a family home! Perhaps it is not that surprising as this business is as family-based as a business ever could be. The Tweeddale family is the business and the Tweeddale business is the family. I for one was surprised to learn that the “Tweeddale” I had known since primary school days was a family name and not a place.
After his return from WWII 70 years ago Stuart Tweeddale brought his family to the land he was allocated in a returned soldier’s land ballot. He decided it was not fit for regular farming, so he would farm bees, and Tweeddale Apiaries was born. Today the business is continued by Stuart’s son Don (our host) and his own children Kim (our co-host), Mark and Steven. Don’s wife Conchita holds the administration reins (and makes an impressive country spread as we were to shortly experience). Members of the next Tweeddale generation, the founder’s great-grandchildren, are already engaged in operations assuring its continuance as a family business for some time to come.
Tweeddale Apiaries now own and operate about 20,000 bee hives distributed within a 200km radius of Taihape, increasingly on land tracts owned by the Tweeddales. Hives are trucked into chosen locations determined by the availability of flowers of useful species – notably manuka, but also clover, kamahi, rewarewa , rata etc. After the bees have done their work collecting the floral nectar and depositing their honey in the wax cells of the honey frames, hives are fitted with escape boards, one-way passes that isolate the bees to the lower brood box and exclude them from the “super” boxes housing the honey frames. Thus the honey boxes may be retrieved after a few days with few bee passengers.
From this resource two primary product streams are harvested – bulk honey and propolis (an antimicrobial resin of which Tweeddale are the largest national producer). At the time of our visit, the extraction season was about half-done, and 308 tonnes of honey had been collected. This was looking like a bumper season!
Recovering honey from the frames is a relatively simple mechanical process. But prior to harvesting honey from the frames, moisture must be reduced by around 2% to ensure a microbiologically-stable honey. This is accomplished by placing the honey frames, still housed in their boxes, into a dehydration chamber until the target moisture (less than 18.5%) is reached, typically a couple of days. Thereafter the tempered honey frames are removed from the boxes, the wax cap cut off and honey cells pierced with needles to allow easy flow of the liquid honey. Thus prepared, frames are radially loaded into a centrifugal extractor where they are spun to recover the honey which collects in the extractor sump leaving the wax comb intact in the honey frame for re-use. The honey is pumped from the extractor sump through a coarse filter to remove gross contaminants (wax and bees predominantly) and transferred to the resin-lined 200 litre metal drums. In a typical day 500 boxes providing 5,000 frames are processed in this way. The honey will later be given a finishing filtration by the retail packer.
With large differentials paid for manuka honey over other types, true-to-type quality assurance is an essential element of New Zealand’s modern honey trade. Honey floral type is traditionally validated by the predominant presence of pollen residues of the claimed floral species in the recovered honey, but supplementary chemical fingerprinting methods of verification are gaining ground. Manuka honey is also specifically graded for its unique activity. Consistent with the quality principle the Tweeddales take great pride in the traceability of their products which may be linked through a continuous track from the field occupied by the hive to the 200 litre drum that leaves their precincts.
If honey recovery is a simple process, collecting propolis is even more so! Propolis is a strongly anti-microbial resin laid down by the bees to calk unwanted fissures in the hive and to protect their community from infection risk. Tweeddale bees are channelled to deposit this material on specially installed screens which lead the bees to lay down the propolis as a sealant to the plastic mesh voids. The propolis screens are left in place for the full season and collected in autumn. The propolis-laden mesh is placed in a freezer to harden the resin then the mesh simply banged against the side of a collection vessel to release the propolis for collection. Process complete!
Tweeddale Apiaries has recently established a subsidiary division “Hum” to develop the propolis business and this is run by Don’s son Mark. A few brave members experimented by tasting the fresh propolis and found that its adhesive properties caused near terminal adhesion to teeth and an overwhelming, indescribable flavour tha developed slowly ... but persisted!
All farming demands good husbandry to nurture the animals that are the foundation of all value. Beekeeping has never been easy farming, but the unwelcome arrival of the pesky parasitic varroa mite to New Zealand in 2000 considerably complicated bee husbandry. Today varroa management plays a major role in apiculture, and places a significant burden on the apiarist. MPI estimates that the cost of varroa management in the 2013-14 season was $25 - $28 per hive, a significant cost for something that simply restores the pre-varroa situation without adding new value.
After a fascinating facility tour, enhanced by our hosts’ delightfully open commentary, Don unexpectedly invited us back to his home adjacent to the honey house “for a cuppa”. Here we were overwhelmed by Tweeddale family hospitality when Conchita Tweeddale welcomed us with a table laden with a country spread that would have impressed Don’s founding father; a most welcome respite to prepare us for the long trip home.
Allan Main (MNZIFST)
March 2015 Welcome to Massey Techies
The Central Branch of NZIFST put on a welcoming function for Massey Food Technologists on the 24th of March. This featured “gourmet” sausages freshly barbequed in the Product Development Lab as well as a guest speaker Linda Hafner, who is the New Product Development Manager at Premier Meats in Carterton.
Linda gave an informative and inspiring presentation on both her life and career since leaving Massey as a Food Technology graduate in the 80s. Linda described an interesting career shifting companies and disciplines, mainly focused around product development, technical management and process management. Some of her key messages were to be enthusiastic, to be a lifelong learner and to be curious. She also outlined what she had used the most from her degree in industry, much to the surprise of some students. Overall it was a very interesting and useful presentation which the students really enjoyed.
Afterwards, further refreshments were enjoyed with the remaining sausages, accompanied by some high quality cheese. A quiz on food trivia was then conducted, with the 4th Years declared winners on the night. Two of the group became ultimate winners by a tricky “heads or tails” system that Richard Archer had devised, and received free NZIFST membership as a result.
It was a great night with good student attendance; despite the entertainment competition from a certain cricket match. Thanks to Lara Matia-Merino and her team of helpers for putting on a relaxed evening with the emphasis on student/member interaction. Also a thanks to Linda for coming all the way from Carterton to give the students an inspired, honest talk about what life as a Food Technologist is all about.
Pippa Halliday and Craig Honoré
February 2015 Prof Douglas Dalgleish
Here in the lower half of the North Island we are fortunate to have on our doorstep the internationally renowned Massey University Institute of Food and Human Nutrition (IFNHH) and its associated Riddet Institute which act as a magnet to visitations from many of the world’s most notable food academics. For too long our committee has not worked to use that link to provide our members with world class speakers in aspects of food science and technology. In 2015 we changed that when we learned that Emeritus Prof Douglas Dalgleish (University of Guelph, Canada) would be visiting the Riddet Institute in a private capacity during February.
Prof Dalgleish remains a major force in food academia with 40 years in food research, predominantly dairy-focussed, and over 200 research paper authorship credits. He is a frequent visitor to New Zealand having been a regular visiting researcher to the Riddet Institute since its foundation, and an interested explorer of our oenology industry products and landscapes, and he has a long-standing love-hate relationship with the brown trout of Lake Rotorua.
With persuasive help from Dr Mike Boland at the Riddet Institute we were able to secure Prof Dalgleish for a suitably scholarly but nonetheless enlightening address titled “Structural Stability in Foods - Structures and their Changes in Time”. The lecture was delivered from a presentation suite at IFNHH and beamed to a second location in the Wellington CBD to enable participation from both our primary membership clusters. Given that the tail-end of summer holiday season was still in effect we were happy with our attendance of around 30 members and guests in Palmerston North and a cosy group of about 6 in Wellington. We were especially honoured to welcome Profs Dick and Mary Earle, foundation stones in professional food science and technology in New Zealand.
Prof Dalgleish’s talk focused on the physical and molecular factors of food structure stability rather than biological and biochemical effects. This still provided fascinating and wide-ranging content with such systems as foams, glasses and emulsions feeding his examples. His foundation premise was that “foods are quasi-stable frozen kinetic states” and addressed changes in food structure in terms of their thermodynamics and kinetics. This greatly delighted Prof Dick Earle who professed to the audience that he had long sought to have that approach drive academic thinking in his own sphere of influence. Thus food structure, with its consequential impact on texture, phase stability and other food quality factors, nestles in a tension between enthalpy and entropy with environmental factors and kinetic barriers affecting where in the continuum the food sits ... for now.
Prof Dalgleish’s first principle conveyed was that since these systems are driven by thermodynamics, there is no going back up the slippery slope! So when the desirable small ice crystals in your ice cream integrate into fewer larger icy flakes after sitting on your hot summer kitchen bench before replacing in the freezer, they will only get bigger and rougher. Cream once whipped cannot be reformed into the viscous liquid of its initial state. Once the egg white has congealed through denaturation, it will never revert to its original fluid form.
Thermodynamic/kinetic thinking can not only help understand these changes it can also provide a tool box to manage product attributes, not the least physical shelf stability. By implementing formulation and processing strategies that introduce higher kinetic “humps”, products can be driven to live longer in their higher and unnatural thermodynamic state, so providing acceptable shelf life. Prof Dalgleish used the example of the emulsion stability of cream liqueur, where 145g of fat present in a litre bottle would rather exist (thermodynamically) as one lump the size of a cricket ball. Yet by the combined food technology interventions of surfactant use (protein in this instance) and processing (homogenisation) a comparatively stable system of 300nm diameter droplets is formed where the kinetic energy needed to broach the surfactant envelope is sufficient to deter the system’s natural tendency for fat coalescence. Thus a bottle of cream liqueur can exist on the liquor-store shelf without risk of becoming a glob of butter in alcoholic skimmilk!
Similarly in ice cream the use of specific functional ingredients, ie lipid-based emulsifiers (surfactants) and stabilisers (hydrocolloids), create at least a level of resistance to heat shock by introducing kinetic hurdles to phase changes of the inherent water from solid (ice) to liquid (water) on warming and back to ice on cooling. Thus through informed application of kinetics, sufficient resistance to the cannibalistic growth of ice in the ice cream can be designed into the product for you to safely get it home from the supermarket. Just don’t leave it on the kitchen bench expecting it to refreeze into its original unctuous texture on return to the freezer!
In this enlightening presentation Prof Dalgleish gave similar insights to syneresis of gels and staling of bread through an interrogation of their thermodynamic and kinetic states. Fascinating!
This was a wonderfully informative evening where we were blessed to have a tutor so familiar with his subject that he was able to make complex matters apparently simple and certainly comprehensible.
After question time which was surprisingly brief further proving the effectiveness of Prof Dalgleish’s lecture, a group of Central members had the delight of accompanying Douglas and his wife Janet to a local hole-in-the-wall restaurant where a good time was had by all!
Allan Main (MNZIFST)
Branch AGM 2014 ‘Why Trade Agreements’?
A presentation by Catherine Graham, Trade Strategy Manager, Fonterra Cooperative Group, at the NZIFST Central Branch AGM – 20 May 2014
One of the highlights of the Central Branch AGM on 20 May 2014 was the guest presentation by Catherine Graham, Trade Strategy Manager, Fonterra Cooperative Group, which was video linked to cover audiences in Wellington (at FSANZ office) and Palmerston North (at Fonterra).
Catherine was asked to address the topic of ‘Why Trade Agreements Matter’ in the context of opportunities and fish hooks for food exporters.
Catherine set the scene by contextualising the dynamic global trading environment. Firstly some inherent challenges:
The food security challenge and the increasing policy focus on this issue due to it being a significant issue in the 21stcentury in relation to providing improved nutrition and safe food to a rapidly growing global population, and doing so in a way that minimises impact on natural resources. She touched on how some countries are focusing on policy reforms to liberalise food trade in order to improve food security though reliable supply and commercial partnerships, while others are addressing the issue by encouraging self-sufficiency in food production, which can lead to protectionist policies that promote domestic production and limit imports; a threat to exporters.
Complex supply chains due to distance to markets from NZ and the need for efficiency, the cost of market compliance, and expertise to manage logistics.
Changing regulatory responses due to the need for greater food safety assurance - driven by increasing consumer awareness of food safety and diversity in product ingredients, and increasingly complex and non-standard product testing regimes
Managing price volatility due to an imbalance between supply and demand. According to FAO estimates, only 12% of food is traded between countries. This very small traded market for food, including dairy, drives price volatility.
Catherine then zoomed in on Fonterra’s business. Key points made were:
A comparison of dairy trade flows in the mid 1970’s with its limited diversity in markets, with the current picture – one of increased complexity and a shift in trade towards emerging markets.
In this regard, Catherine specifically mentioned how demand for dairy in Asia continues to grow, with China and S E Asia being dominant markets driving demand, and how Japan remains an important market for New Zealand dairy products.
And, the outlook for 2020 showed continued strong global growth in dairy consumption, led by developing countries. Catherine touched on how demand is forecasted to outstrip supply in key markets like China, India and Middle East/North Africa. She mentioned that whilst domestic milk production will increase to match consumption patterns, imports will continue to play a significant role in meeting demand.
High tariffs on dairy restrict trade; Countries like Canada impose 200% tariffs on products like skim milk powder, compared to 100% by Japan, 50% by Mexico and ~20% by USA.
How the regulatory environment also has a major impact. Some examples of non-tariff barriers to trade she mentioned were protectionist policies implemented under the guise of ‘food security’, price controls, product and factory registration requirements, marketing restrictions and non-standard product testing requirements.
As further evidence of the impact of Tariffs in global food trade, Catherine shared a series of slides showing how barriers to agricultural products moving across borders far exceeded those for industrial products, with dairy being the most protected sector globally above any other product/sector, including weapons. All this, in an environment where the world is concerned about ‘food security’. Despite this, Catherine emphasised Fonterra’s stance to push for free trade into all markets it operates in.
Catherine then dealt with the means of overcoming these barriers to trade through multilateral or bilateral negotiations.
She firstly highlighted an overview of progress with the WTO’s legally binding framework for trade, starting with the GATT round from 1947, to the Uruguay Round completed in 1994 where agriculture was brought into the system for the first time, to the establishment of the WTO in 1995, the yet unresolved Doha round launched in 2001, and how in the meantime countries have been pursuing bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) to improve trading conditions, where NZ has been very active.
Catherine concluded by highlighting some key FTAs and RTAs globally, including some major regional trade negotiations currently underway - the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Pacific Alliance and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), all aiming to remove or improve significant tariff and non-tariff barriers.
Catherine needs to be commended on delivering an illuminating discourse to the NZIFST Central branch members, especially given the complexity of the topic and the relatively short time to deliver!
Namalie Jayasinha, Wellington
#March Meeting - Student “Welcome Back” Sausage Sizzle and Quiz.
On March 19ththe NZIFST Central branch held a BBQ, Beer & Quiz night at the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health. This was our first event of the year, providing a good chance to catch up and also to welcome new and returning Food Technology students to the NZIFST.
We were lucky to have talks from Andrew Legg and Abby Thompson about their experiences during and after studying Food Tech at Massey. It was interesting to hear about their careers and how they got to where they are now.
The quiz provided a chance to see how much we really knew about food, with questions about food companies, food brands, dairy and fermented foods. The Novel Zany Incredible Food Superstars Team did well and took out first place. Best team name went to Corn Chip Congregation Conglomeration and Just GoogleIt won the award for the most outrageous answer.
It was great to see everyone getting involved in the quiz and of course the well-cooked sausages, snacks and assortment of cheeses plus beer from the Massey micro brewery went down very well with our Food Tech students.
Overall it was a very good night.
Hayley Stewart (Branch Student Liaison)
#May Meeting – Branch AGM
May 20thsaw our first AGM as “Central Branch” a year on from our decision to simplify our moniker from the “Manawatu-Wellington” adopted on the amalgamation of the two separate branches. That amalgamation causes Central Branch to hold a special character within the context of NZIFST branches having two substantial hubs of membership separated by a couple of hours drive. We manage that apparent negative by a range of strategies, foremost amongst these being use of point-to-point video conferencing between venues at each of the branch hubs. The AGM was typical in that regard with the Wellington cluster assembling at the video conferencing suite in the CBD offices of FSANZ, and the Palmerston North cluster meeting in the presentation suite of Massey University’s Institute of Food, Health and Human Nutrition.
Together 21 members were present for the AGM and for the presentation on New Zealand’s trade agreement negotiations that followed. Branch Chair, Prof Richard Archer, noted the challenges of our distributed population base and reported a successful year with ten events spanning a diverse range of activities. There are also many concepts “in the pipeline” for the coming year so the branch is in good operational health.
The Treasurer’s Report, presented by 3-term outgoing Treasurer Jerry Wellington, showed the Branch to also be in very fine financial health, with substantial financial reserves. The meeting agreed with the Treasurers recommendation that these reserves provide an excellent opportunity to invest in regional projects that support development and standing of our profession. Several excellent ideas were raised as prospective projects, but rather than make ill-considered decisions at the meeting, it was agreed that anex officiopanel be established under Jerry Wellington’s stewardship to bring projects to the members for investment consideration. Jerry accepted the challenge offered and will convene a small group of long-term NZIFST members from the branch to develop investment options during the year.
And so to the election of branch officers and committee positions. The situation was fortuitous (suspicious people may say constructively devised) such that there were no competing nominations for any positions, and so nominees were accordingly elected without need for a Returns Officer. There is a lot of continuity with the new committee but also enough new blood to provide fresh thinking. The new committee comprises: Prof Richard Archer (Chair), Grant Boston (Vice-Chair), Craig Honoré (Secretary), Don Otter (Treasurer), Hayley Browne (Student Liaison), Namalie Jayasinha (Council Rep), with committee positions taken by Andrew Legg, Allan Main, Dennis Thomas, Euan Cant, Lara Matia-Merino, Ann Hayman, Sally Hassell, John van den Beuken and Xemenita Trejo Araya.
Reflecting the geographic distribution of the committee there was an appeal from elected members to better use remote-meeting technologies (eg Skype) for committee meetings.
The AGM business complete, our guest speaker, Catherine Graham of Fonterra’s Trade Policy Group, addressed the assembled members on the fascinating topic “Trade Agreements – Why they Matter”. In order to do this justice, we will review Catherine’s presentation in the next Branch Report.
Allan J Main (MNZIFST)
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