The 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Anthroposophical Society in NZ was held this year in Hastings. The weather may not have demonstrated Hawke’s Bay at its finest, but the meeting was vibrant and lively and Hawke’s Bay was well represented among the forty-six members who attended.

Noel Josephson introduced the theme, touching on the three goals shared with members three years ago and carried by the council in that we ask ourselves, does what we do relate and have meaning for the life of the Society? We took three questions, inspired by work done by the council in America, into our group discussions.

  1. What are your assumptions of the Anthroposophical Society?
  2. What will it look like
  3. How will we get from here to there?

Not all groups moved beyond the first question but clearly, it’s an exercise that can be taken up and continued with groups around the country. The follow is not a full overview of responses, but provides a summary of assumptions reflected in all groups:

  • The Society is a body that nurtures the impulse of Rudolf Steiner
  • It is a ‘warmth-body’, searching for the truth and for meaning
  • It is inclusive, accessible, visible, supportive between movements
  • It creates connections, holds worthy ideals and wisdom.

Though the above doesn’t speak to the practical working of the Society, the ‘how’, it does speak to the intention of members. Moving forward, two points shared were the need to strengthen section work, and to do more planning, projecting and less reflecting. The council will continue to communicate on these questions as they evolve, so that they remain active and open questions.

There is a special moment at the opening of the AGM when the names of those members who died during the last year are spoken: Alex Stevenson, Noreen Jacobs, Helen Snowden, John Frost Evans, Ron Cashin, Peter Proctor and Joy Whelan. This is a poignant moment of remembrance and supports an awareness of all members on both side of the threshold.

In the business itself, Silke Carter gave a comprehensive overview of the finances and clarified all questions posed either before or at the meeting.       

As we are now required to report to the Charities Commission with the new Tier 3 accounting format, the Society’s accounts are more complicated. There was a request for a written narration or a pictorial representation to aid members’ understanding and to explain any anomalies or timing of income and expenditure.

The accounts show a sizeable deficit. The bulk of it is due to the transfer of the library books to the Hawke’s Bay Anthroposophical Society at a book value of 41.000; which is recorded in the deficit.

The 2016 financials appear stronger than those of 2017, that is due to a legacy that was given in 2016, and in fact 2017’s finances were slightly better.

Contributions remain a challenge as only about one third of members respond to the contribution form. Another third leave payments as they were in the previous year but do not inform the Society of what amount that comes to. It is time consuming to work through bank statements and clarify who pays what and when. Approximately one third do not make contact in any form. It would be wonderful to have everyone respond by sending back their form, this cost nothing more than an awareness, consideration and gratitude.

When it came to the budget it was noted that a budget is ideally expressing working for the future while this budget is based on the past.  It was requested that potential needs and tasks be reflected in future budgets, that membership and council provide suggestions for working to the future.

Santiago De Marco was re-elected to the council, with full support from members.

Two points were raised under general business

  1. Diederic Ruarus requested a discussion regarding electronic voting.

Discussion moved around the challenges in setting up a worldwide electronic voting of a meeting and the varying ways it could happen: proxy voting, pre-voting, streaming and listening to the meeting discussion and voting afterwards. In principle members agreed to a democratic vote, the ‘how’ is the challenge. 

Hans von Florenstein Mulder suggested the world movement/countries align their meetings prior to the Easter AGM meeting in Dornach for the motions to be discussed and members to be informed.  Then each Special General meeting could vote, and that vote be taken to the Dornach AGM meeting – this gives the world society a voice.  Could we adopt this model in New Zealand? A request was made for a discussion to take place on this alongside the possibility of a Proxy vote.  This also provides the possibility to present a motion from the periphery.  It was suggested that these points to be taken up and discussed and the outcomes to be circulated widely. This relies on members throughout New Zealand having the interest to consider and respond to this request.

  1. Janet Molloy queried who is the employer of the General Secretary.

It was clarified that the General Secretary is not employed. The role of the General Secretary is similar to that of a Chairperson on a Trust, they may receive remuneration for work done in their governance role.

As the meeting closed many provided a positive response to the day, the interaction and engagement. A warm thanks to all!