Annual President’s Report AGM 7th June 2023

Welcome to the AGM for 2023, What a difference a year makes.   This time last year I was reporting after nearly a year of lockdowns but this year, April 2022 to March 2023 has been  a return to a more normal situation.

Firstly, a massive thankyou to our committee for their huge input this year.  Paulette for all the accounting and bookshop management, Janine in her multiple roles. Janine was secretary for nearly 3 years until September 2022, she is editor of eHomœopathica, Janine also manages our membership  and on top of that is our website manager and techy expert. Quite a portfolio. Annette helps source material for eHomœopathica and is a wise person to turn to for her considered opinions. Crystal Clark, our social media person, does posts week in and week out. Sonia for her input in her first year on the committee on the Therapeutics bill and Emma who took over from Janine as Secretary last September. An extra thank you to Janine and Paulette who recently visited Naturo Pharm to reorganise our bookshelves and get our second-hand books sorted out.  Also thank you to Jess Colman for stepping forward and volunteering to upload these books onto our system.

I would also like to acknowledge the huge role Naturo Pharm play in helping us with the bookshop and reference library.  Their team is amazing. Truly a great contribution to the Society and our community.

This year we also lose some committee members, Madeleine resigned from the committee after 3 years in March  and Julie Baldwin  and Tiffany Rogers resigned last year.  Annette Kampen will no longer sit on the committee, so we bid her farewell too. She will continue as a volunteer, helping with eHomœopathica material and research.

As you know we are a Charitable Trust and it’s important to remember who we serve. The public of New Zealand need us more than ever to preserve freedom of choice in health care, as recent events such as the Therapeutics Products Bill has demonstrated.

We reaffirmed our vision for homeopathy in New Zealand – a desire to provide high quality information, great education to the public, and to encourage a thriving home prescriber base who also use professional homeopaths for more complex health issues.

You, our members, are vital to this vision. With your financial and moral support, we can move forward as an organisation. One surprising statistic is that only about 40 registered homeopaths are also members the Society.  We would love this to change!   We really need all homeopaths to join and contribute as well as students. And we also need committed members of the public, as we really do want to represent a consumer voice.  Another 60 or 70 members would be terrific and also emphasises the message that there is ‘Strength in Unity’.

One of the highlights of this year have been our Strategic Planning meeting in February. We all came together in person for a day and evening of ideas.  The consolidation of our financial position and organisational strength and a renewal of collaboration within our homeopathic community is also another highlight.   With the bookshop running so well and smoothly, we really have really freed up more volunteer time for the bigger picture goals.

Our funding of grassroots teaching and education in the community has really stepped up now that the lockdowns are over and many homeopaths have taken advantage of our funding. Library scholarships have also come into their own with people visiting our reference library.  You may have seen some of their articles in our Ehomœopathica.

So, to our newer longer-term goals.  We have 3 new concepts that I will explain in a bit more detail.

The Tomorrow Fund and the Give Back to the Future program establish our giving programs.   The third is the creation of our new umbrella organisation Homeopathy New Zealand.  More of this later.

One of our goals is to grow our Giving or Legacy programs. We really want to encourage intergenerational giving to ensure the future of homeopathy for the next 100 years!  Many of us have been passionate about homeopathy for 30 or 40 years and we want this to continue for new and younger homeopaths.  The concept is that over the next 10-20 years people feel inspired and confident to leave a legacy in their will for the future of homeopathy, especially education. This Tomorrow Fund will enable the Society to invest money for the future of homeopathy, in a similar way that previous generations of homeopaths donated funds.  This legacy of giving and investment is how the Society purchased our Mt Eden building back in the 1980’s.

Giving can also be in the here and now to this fund, there is no need to wait!

  • The aim of the Tomorrow fund is to build capital for investment. This capital can be invested but not spent. The income from the Tomorrow Fund is used in perpetuity to fulfil the NZHS purpose and promote homeopathy in NZ.
  • For example, $200,000 of Gifts in Wills generates approximately $15,000 per annum in perpetuity.
  • This fund will support the Back to the Future Education Fund. We would like to increase the size of this program.

Education of the public is the key to increase the uptake and acceptability of homeopathy.  We would really like to increase the education and funding for grassroots teaching of homeopathy to the public by homeopaths. We have been doing this for the last two years and several homeopaths have taken up our funding. We envisage a network of homœopaths teaching 100’s of people a year about homœopathy.  Those 100’s of people introduce their family and friends to homeopathy. Imagine in 5 years’ time how we can expand the uptake of homeopathy!

Research is also an important aspect of demonstrating to the New Zealand public the validity of homeopathy. We wish to support research projects that are specific to New Zealand.

Initially though, we need more information about our homeopaths, who they are, how they operate, the type of clients and numbers of clients, any specialities, where they qualified and what their attitudes and connections are to our homeopathic organisations. Barbara Roberts has initiated a very useful research project to identify and interview all homeopaths in NZ.  This research will be invaluable in the coming years as we seek to increase the number of people using homeopathy as their preferred health care choice.

We also aim to develop Scholarships for students and internship opportunities.

In summary, legacy giving and new investment over the next 10-20 years ensures the expansion of our funding budgets. This means homeopathy can flourish and expand!  This is a long term vision!

As part of our goal to become the public voice of homeopathy, we need to have better communication with the public.  For this reason  we have been reorientating  Ehomœopathica  as a  more  outward facing publication suitable for the public. We are changing its ‘look’ and ‘voice’ and it needs to morph further. It is now fully available to the public and we want to increase its readership. We are building our database for this purpose, partly through our free eBook which people sign our for and now through a pop up on our website to become a subscriber.  Enews, as many of you know,  is produced by the NZCH and is aimed at homeopaths while the Society eHomœopathica will be for the public.

The Society’s other main focus has been to increase collaboration in our community. We have had numerous examples over this year of new and expanding initiatives which is very heartening to see.  Collaboration is occurring at many levels from the Therapeutics Products Bill team led by Sonia Pechner, who is a final year student  and a member of our committee to Kate’s Fitness’s initiative which started back in 2020- Cakes and Cases- as part of the Society’s effort to bring people together to discuss homeopathy. This continues to  go from strength to strength.  The NZCH PODS are another great example, and the recent retreat on the Kapiti coast was truly inspiring. We also have a charitable clinic working group and a history group. I really feel we are coming together as a community!

Which segues nicely into our new organisation. Homeopathy New Zealand.   The Council, College and Society  have come together to form a new umbrella organisation.  It has  some lofty goals-  to  provide promotion, advocacy, education, information and services to  the general public, students, practitioners, industry stakeholders and government agencies.

The legal entity of Homeopathy New Zealand is also a Charitable Trust and is currently being approved by the Charities Commission. It has one board member from each organisation. We would love a member of the public to join at some stage.

While many of Homeopathy NZ goals overlap with the Society, the new organisation has some broader goals too. One of which is Charitable or koha clinics.  This really does make homeopathy more accessible for more people.   There will be opportunities for students to gain clinical experience under the guidance of experienced homeopaths.  We aim to start small, perfect our model and grow the concept.

To help us in creating Homeopathy NZ as a voice for homeopathy in NZ we have employed a branding/strategy person. We need to establish our tone of voice and the right look/approach to the convey complex ideas of homeopathy to the public.  We want to do our best and an outside perspective is essential! Our stable financial position enables us to benefit from expertise in this area.   The second workshop was held this morning with the team, and I feel very excited about the future for homeopathy in NZ.

In summary, the Society is very much looking forward to working with the Council, College and other industry stakeholders such as Naturo Pharm and Simillimum and our whole community with our new umbrella organisation Homeopathy New Zealand.

Creative and innovative ideas, together with our legacy programs, help us to future proof homeopathy in NZ. Homeopathy is alive and well in New Zealand.

Thank you

Rebecca Stirrup
President NZHS