Chairperson’s Report: 2012/2013

The Executive Committee is pleased to make this report of the Foundation’s activities over the past year. Five meetings have been held since the last AGM. Membership has declined slightly, but we manage to keep up our income from the donations that members generously add to their subscriptions. We particularly regretted the passing of Pat Cotter, Jim Gardner and Naylor Hilary during the year, all long-standing members and supporters. Condolences were sent to their families. The Executive unanimously decided to rename the annual Jim Gardner Lecture the Jim Gardner Memorial Lecture. A memoir of Jim written by Geoffrey Rice and drawing on information from family and colleagues was made available to members and any others interested.

Our President, Alan Hayward, regrettably resigned in December as he and his wife were moving to Auckland for family reasons. Binney Lock, our first and only secretary, also resigned because of ill-health. John Cookson as vice-president, and Geoffrey Rice filled these two vacancies. Professor Philippa Mein Smith and Dr Myra Kunowski resigned from the committee, one to take up an appointment at the University of Tasmania, Hobart, the other to live in retirement in Wellington. Dr John Wood and Dr Bernadette Devonport were co-opted to the committee.

No Community Historian was appointed for 2013 in view of the committee’s decision not to seek funding from the Canterbury Community Trust. However, we have renewed our application for the coming year and await the result. Paul and Sally Rhodes continue to support the award of the Rhodes Medal with exceptional generosity. The recipient for 2012 was Paul O’Connor of Burnside High School who has given exemplary service as a History teacher over many years. The 2012 Gardner Lecture was given by Jenny May on the topic of heritage buildings in Christchurch following the earthquakes.

The Business History and Archives sub-committee, after much consultation with archivists around the city, made a submission to the City Council proposing that a permanent Community Archive be established to provide for collections dispersed by the earthquakes. The idea has been well received but the next step can only be taken when the city’s next Long-Term Plan comes into discussion in three years’ time. A representation to the Minister of Culture and Heritage was prepared concerning the disposal of Fairfax New Zealand’s photographic archives. Little public notice was given of the company’s plans and, unfortunately, our views on the issue were never heard because in the meantime Fairfax and the MCH had come to an agreement.

The Foundation supported the University’s History Awards Ceremony on 6 December 2012 when the History Department presented its prize-winning students before a good attendance of family and friends. The opportunity was also taken to recognise Binney Lock and Gerald Hunt as Distinguished Honorary Life Members of the Foundation. The Foundation, in association with the History Department and the University’s external Relations Office, has initiated plans for an appeal for funds to assist thesis writers in History meet their research expenses.

The Acting-President wishes to acknowledge the ongoing support and helpful contributions in many different ways of his colleagues on the Executive. Special thanks are due to our Secretary who carries ‘the heat and burden of the day’.

John Cookson, Vice-President, Chair of the Executive Committee