David Allan, Chairman
2013 will be remembered as a milestone year for the Trust. Major investment was committed prudently to upgrading and developing assets in preparation for opening the arboretum to the public on a regular basis. This was achieved by November when George (our Curator) and Kirsty’s daughter Susanna Christison cut the ribbon to commemorate the initial opening.
The Arboretum now opens every Sunday from October until the end of May annually. In conjunction with this milestone, a function for our Benefactors and Friends was held at the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre. This featured an excellent and very popular address by Associate Professor Alex Calder, Head of English, Drama and Writing Studies at the University of Auckland, who explained why Herbert Guthrie-Smith and the vision of his book Tutira is so worthy of celebration. Alex Calder presentation talk. Chris Ryan, a trustee, also gave a power point presentation covering arboretum and educational developments.
The Trust decided to cease leasing out the operation of the Education Centre, following the evaluation reported and instigated late last year, while still retaining Ryan Campbell as our preferred instructor. In line with this change, a wholly owned charitable company, Guthrie-Smith Tutira Limited, was also registered to manage all the day to day operating activities of the Trust. In essence, these changes ensure all activities, whether they be related to the Education Centre or the Arboretum, are coordinated and managed by the Curator. These changes are already proving to be successful with many more students and visitors coming to Guthrie-Smith Tutira.
Major investment throughout the year was associated with upgrading the Education Centre; increasing our water supply and storage; upgrading the High Ropes course and safety equipment; educational and directional signage throughout the arboretum; provision of picnic tables through the Arboretum; establishment of environmental education support for school teachers in conjunction with our Resource Kit for teachers; construction of an information shelter for visitors; development of a comprehensive health and safety plan and purchase of a utility vehicle. Some of these investments were assisted by benefactors to whom we are most grateful.
The Tutira School opened by Guthrie-Smith in 1913 held its centennial and the plaque the Trust organised is now affixed to a large limestone rock on the original site on the property. The Gary Christison Redwoods have been attractively identified in the same manner.
The Trust has, of course, continued with further planting in the Arboretum and the more established planting together with some of the investments previously mentioned, are now much appreciated by our Friends and the public. The Trust wishes to expand its Friends support group and is currently evaluating further ways to do so.
Our website to promote and encourage support of our activities together with Facebook updates is now fully operational. Whenever possible all communications and newsletters for our supporters are by email.
Dialogue with ECOED, HBRC and DOC is ongoing and focusing on the need to avoid potential duplication of efforts and ensure coordination of investment in the district.
Financially the Trust is extremely reliant on the contributions from benefactors and again we record our most sincere thanks to all who support us and the many that do so on an ongoing basis. While the Trust has invested heavily this year the trustees are ever mindful of preserving our capital base and are now focused on the need to generate income from these improvements in line with our objectives.
The physical input, total commitment and dedication of our Curator, George Christison, and his wife Kirsty, has again been outstanding. The support of Teressa Burton of BWR for her experienced and sound administrative support, is also gratefully acknowledged.
The Trust reported last year that 2013 promised to be a major step forward for the Trust on many fronts thanks to the foresight and planning of previous years and so it has proved to be. It has only been possible though through a good team of trustees who have given considerable time to achieve the outcome.
Once again on behalf of the Trust I record appreciation to my fellow trustees for all they have individually contributed to its ongoing success and for their personal support.