AGM 2022

Biochar Network New Zealand Chair’s report for the August 25th 2022 AGM

I would like to welcome everybody to Biochar Network New Zealand’s 3rd AGM. Great to have you join us via Zoom from around the country and further afield.

Not far into the year NZ was plunged into another set of lockdowns, so much of the work was initially focused on people’s ability to engage with biochar and the network digitally. We are now seeing more engagement in person which is fantastic, and some of that has resulted in a slowly but steadily growing BNNZ membership.

BNNZ this last year has put a lot of focus on developing and building on Key Relationships that will set biochar, the Society and our collaborators up for success. This focus lead to a need to better define the place of biochar and BNNZ in the ecosystem, which is an ongoing topic of discussion as we explore what this should best look like.

With sage advice from the Committee and background work with Dennis Enright we have invested a significant chunk of time developing a new constitution that will be compliant with the recent changes to 1908 Incorporated Societies Act, and set us up well for the future. The constitution will be proposed for Society consideration over the next few months, and will need your support to set up a motion to replace the old constitution which required 25% of the society to sign in agreement for its replacement. Thank you in advance for your help there.

Committee members served well by leading work that will have the effect of allowing us to grow and connect more sustainably and efficiently:
● Trevor Richards as able newsletter editor and Secretary often being the first point of contact and drumming up enthusiasm with newcomers
● Phil Stevens holding relationships with academia whilst also providing a platform for content via our new website
● Ben Elms, alongside Trevor Richards and Phil Stevens have been refining the membership onboarding process and records
● James McNally, Phil Stevens, Simon Day and Miles Pope have been working alongside Landcare Trust, NZ Farm Forestry Association and Hibiscus Coast Zero Waste to connect with and educate landholders and their suppliers
● Dennis Enright lead discussions which helped BNNZ define its relationship with our ANZBIG, which resulted in a memorandum of understanding to enable us to better collaborate
● I have also been staying in contact and providing feedback to the International Biochar Initiative on their new strategy following their significant funding
injection, and the IBI New Zealand page has been updated to better reflect the state of biochar organisations here.

Trevor Richards lead the BNNZ side for the development of a joint “Biochar Explained” whitepaper with the Bioenergy Association of New Zealand. I am
encouraged by this as members of BNNZ are clearly leaders in various topics related to biochar, and I look forward to us being able to demonstrate that leadership through different media, including whitepapers.

With our new website, facebook page, Youtube channel and LinkedIn page we now have digital platforms to showcase the good that is physically happening across our network.

Our committee and members have hosted a number of biochar-related workshops, and with warmer weather and safer socialising, we look forward to supporting much more of this enabling work.

We also thank Joany Grima who, alongside friends and volunteers commissioned and led the development of an excellent introductory biochar promo video.
The June 2021 biochar presentations hosted by Gillian Mangin of MPI in Wellington were followed up by a subsequent excellent presentation by Professor Mike Hedley which challenged some of the “too costly” arguments by informing the economics conversations on the benefits of biochar by providing informed discussion on other means of deriving value from biochar other than its fertiliser value.

BNNZ members have since maintained contact and helped maintain open communication between biochar related businesses and Wellington based public sector officials.

I am confident that the recent announcement of significant funding in support of Hot Lime Labs’ biochar related work will be one of many instances of biochar being recognised and supported at scale, both privately and publicly.

I am hopeful that a recent application by Phil Stevens for funding to support a platform to present data for mapping biochar use on land across the country will become a basis for land application of biochar becoming recognised in public carbon markets in NZ.

From where I sit, I have the privilege of seeing many of our members doing some awesome things, and enjoying the journey as they support each other and biochar in New Zealand. I would like to thank the committee and all our committed members who generously invest their time and resources in supporting biochar and our network as a community. It is that same connectedness and commitment that will allow BNNZ to thrive into the future on the strong foundations we have been building.

I look forward to being able to connect with you all, whether via upcoming zoom network catch ups, or in person after my son arrives near the end of September.

Warrick Isaachsen

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

After the formalities at the Society's Annual General Meeting, we had a full lineup of speakers. Nick Gerritsen briefed members on developments in next-generation battery technology using biochar, and Donata Chiari gave us an overview of the European biochar industry along with projections for the next 8-10 years, with support from Thomas Hämmerle (EBI).

Youtube video of speakers at 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