Nomination for Don McKenzie award, awarded annually to a member who has made a ‘significant contribution to Tree Crops.’
Nominating Branch: Waikato

Bob and Ann have been long time members, and invested time, effort and love into local Nelson Branch and at a national level.

The current membership system only goes back to 1988, so finding a date that Bob and Ann joined was difficult. The best we can tell is that they joined in 1986, when there was a three day visit to Marlborough by Nelson branch. And even from that date they were enthusiastic, helpful and generous members, with a branch field day being held at their place on September 12th 1987, with the following blurb:

We shall learn how to turn old trees into valuable turning wood instead of firewood from the moment we start the chainsaw. The mysteries of cutting up logs, drying wood, characteristics of wood varieties for wood turning and finishing will be revealed. After an instructive demo of wood turning, we can each have a go ourselves. Make a rolling pin to keep the other half in order…. try your luck in the wood recognition competition, with a valuable turned salad bowl prize.

This generous, helpful, educational and service ethic has woven itself through their nearly 40 years with Tree Crops. It is difficult to encapsulate all that they have done. So in appropriate chronological order:

  • 1991 Article with photographs in Growing Today (precursor to The Tree Cropper) about their trials with small scale timber drying to economically season wood without problems.
  • Late 90’s book writing. Writing a total of three books, Make Money from Woodturning (1995), Understanding woodturning (1997)
  • 1998 Speakers at Nelson Conference, with bio noting that their work in wood turning has been ‘hugely successful nationally and internationally…. both are committed to responsible use of wood from sustainable sources.”
  • 2003, Bob and Ann have trialed macadamia and almond cultivars, to see what works – and what doesn’t – in Nelson’s climate. Their findings have been passed on to local nurseries.
  • Bob was Chair of the Nelson branch for 11 years (2004 – 2014)
  • Ann was Research Officer (she has a PhD in science) over a similar timeframe. Championed local research for locals. Almonds, macadamias, figs, heritage broad beans, pomegranates. Started the revolution across the branches that local research could be done that benefits local members.
  • 2008 New article in the Tree Cropper about wood seasoning.
  • 2012 lead the conference organisation for Nelson conference.
  • 2015 Bob visited first conference as South Island VP – as always had to work weekends as this was the busiest day in the shop.
  • 2019 Nelson Conference.
  • Held president office for two years, and now still on national committee in 2023 and has stepped up to take on the chair of the research committee.

While on the national committee Bob has championed innovation based upon  his own experiences such as winter talks, displays at fairs, apple event, incorporating Malborough tree growers so they are invited to field days.