AGM 2021

Biochar Network New Zealand Chair’s report for the June 24th 2021 AGM

I would like to welcome everybody to Biochar Network New Zealand’s 2nd AGM. Great to have you join us via Zoom from around the country and further afield.

BNNZ began this last year by developing a Strategic Plan under the guidance and experience of Jon Brough. This plan has focused our efforts through the year and has recently been reviewed by the committee, who consider that with a few minor edits it remains fit for purpose.

Our marketing group headed by Warrick Isaachsen undertook a membership review in Nov/Dec that provided valuable insight into what members would like from BNNZ. We appreciate and need members feedback and input.

There has been considerable discussion within the BNNZ committee about developing projects and making applications for funding. Generally, I see our role as providing information, connections and support for stakeholders. However in some cases partnerships may be appropriate and in September BNNZ collaborated with Professor Scrimgeour of Waikato University in submitting an application to Agmardt titled “Economic Evaluation of Biochar Potential.” However, it was unsuccessful.

Our committee members as individuals have promoted biochar via demonstrations and workshops around our regions throughout the year and in August BNNZ had the opportunity to promote biochar on the TVNZ 7Sharp program. It was a video clip just 4 minutes long but well produced and very successful in raising biochar awareness based on comments that continue to be made.

We also were recently given the opportunity to speak at the launch in Wellington of the literature review undertaken by Massey University staff; “A Review of evidence for the Potential Role of Biochar to reduce net GHG emissions from NZ Agricultiure,” hosted by Gillian Mangin of MPI. This document commissioned by MPI to provide the Climate Change Commission with researched evidence, concluded biochar does have a role to play in NZ agriculture. The Commission however barely mentioned it in their draft document. Submissions were taken on the draft and BNNZ committee members with support from other members produced a very good submission outlining the many areas where biochar can play a role. The Commission however chose to ignore this submission and many other submissions about biochar, and made minimal reference to biochar in the final document delivered to government. This appears to be a deliberate effort to ignore biochar, despite IPCC recognition, despite the mountain of published research and despite increasing interest and funding support by various Governments around the world.

Key to our communication is our website which until recently hasn’t been that effective. We have had difficulties with our ‘member sign up’ process and with presentation and content. To remedy that situation we contracted Slow Farm Ltd to upgrade it, and now have a new look and a new domain name at The new domain name will help to make us more easily found and also highlight the fact that we are a network of people. I’m very pleased with the outcome and I look forward to seeing the site progressively populated with information and connections that our members need and subsequently increasing membership.

We value partnerships and connections with key stakeholders from industry, research and government which I see as essential, and I’m pleased to say that we do have good relationships with a range of very supportive and influential people that I value highly. This includes collaboration with other biochar organisations around the world, particularly the Australia New Zealand Biochar Industry Group, essential to providing consistent and accurate messages about biochar.

I would like to thank the committee and our members for their support and commitment. BNNZ is very fortunate to have the experience and knowledge that you have provided, the depth of which is highlighted in the quality of the CCC submission and other projects we have undertaken this year.

As chair I have experienced both highlights and frustrations, but enjoyed the first two years of Biochar Network New Zealand and believe that we are gaining confidence and understanding of the role we need to play. I will not be standing for chair this year but will remain on the committee, committed
to implementing our strategy.

Dennis Enright

Committee members elected or re-elected: 

Dennis Enright, Miles Pope, Trevor Richards, Ben Elms, Phil Stevens, Simon Day, James McNally, Warrick Isaachsen

Positions elected:

Chairperson: Warrick Isaachsen         
Secretary: Trevor Richards
Treasurer: Ben Elms 

Before the formalities at the Society's Annual General Meeting, Tom Miles from the USA presented to the AGM:

© 2024 Biochar Network NZ

BNNZ acknowledges the generous support of Soil Conditioner Products Ltd, NZ Biochar Ltd, Black Moa Biochar, and Slow Farm Ltd