Dear AGHS member,

As some of you may be aware, at the National Management Committee meeting on Sunday 12 February a variety of issues regarding the New Zealand Conference was discussed. Primarily these included the continued difficulties experienced with the NZ based organisers, but most importantly a potential budget blowout and reduced confidence in our ability to deliver a conference at a satisfactory standard for the Society.

At this meeting an Executive Committee was formed to see if the budget could be addressed via a variety of avenues, such as obtaining alternative quotes and consulting with two other event organisers, to check if they could assist the Society in achieving a better outcome. A deadline of 10 days was approved to try and rectify the budgetary and management issues.

Unfortunately, after considerable research the Executive Committee agreed on Monday 27 February that there was no other option other than to cancel the New Zealand based Conference in 2017. The National Management Committee was informed of this decision the following day.

As a result the majority of the Committee has agreed to run an alternative conference event to be in Melbourne in late October/November 2017. The dates of this are currently being finalised, as too is the venue. This event will be organised with the assistance of the Victorian Branch Committee. The format will consist of a Friday evening Keynote presentation, Saturday All Day Lectures, Sunday tour and the Branch will be organising a Monday Optional Day Tour. As part of the conversation with the alternative organisers it was agreed that the tour of the New Zealand South Island with Lynne Walker was still achievable, so that will be an additional offering to members this year (dates to be confirmed).

There is still the possibility of New Zealand in 2019, and discussions with the alternative events managers indicate that with more time the planned program is achievable and could occur and include Stuart Read’s Pre and Post Conference Tours.

On behalf of the National Management Committee I ask for your understanding about the situation faced by the Society and the fact that this decision has not been made without considerable effort to bring it about.  I would like to thank all of you that have, over the last two years, endeavoured to make this conference in New Zealand a success.  Unfortunately, as I am sure you would all agree, to allow the event to go ahead in New Zealand and incur such a loss would be detrimental to the future of the Society.


Richard Heathcote
National Chairman