ECO Conference 2017

ECO Annual Conference 2017

at Stoke Memorial Hall, 548 Main Road, Stoke, Saturday and Sunday.

Field Trips Friday afternoon (25th) and Monday all day (28th)

Our Annual General Meeting for ECO Member groups will be held starting at 8.30am on the morning of Sunday 27th August.  

Protecting democracy and the environment are intimately linked.  Both involve responsibilities to the future and to the present.  What happens when the focus shifts from rights to responsibilities?  Do we need a constitution for New Zealand and if we were to have one, what should it contain?  How do we restore democracy to resource management decision making and respect the Treaty of Waitangi and the relationships involved at the same time instead of sacrificing one for the other?

What should we ask of our selves and our politicians for today and for the future?  Where do the political parties stand on climate change, biodiversity, and water quality?

ECO’s  annual conference in Nelson this year  will explore these issues with some fantastic speakers.  We will explore the biophysical and political and other limits as we explore which pathways to take and the actions needed to get success in protecting water, biodiversity and the climate for now and the future.

Young and old will contribute to the discussion.

Keynote speakers include Sir Geoffrey Palmer who devised the Resource Management Act and is now proposing a constitution for New Zealand, Paul Young from Generation Zero on the Zero Carbon Bill, and others.  See below for more information on speakers and the programme, including field trips.

Note that the programme may still be subject to change.


Friday 25 August

Afternoon  Field trips:

Stoke Memorial Hall at 548 Main Road Stoke will be open from 1pm for people to drop bags and meet others.

Leaving from the Stoke Memorial Hall at 1.30pm to visit the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary and then to Paremata Flats at Cable Bay where restoration planting is taking place.  Cost of the trips is $10 for the two combined - we will provide transport will take you to both locations.  Please indicate if you wish to join these Field Trips on your registration and pay with the registration payment.

The second field trip, to Paremata Flats, will depart Stoke Hall at 3.15pm.

Locals will lead these trips and talk to us about what is happening at each location.

Friday evening:  6pm: Dinner at Stoke Hall; cost is $20.  Cash bar.

7.30pm-9pm: Gathering of conference participants and groups: short introduction of groups of themselves and explanation of their work: Stoke Memorial Hall.

Saturday 26 August

8.00am: Meet at Stoke Hall, coffee and tea.

8.30am: Mihi whakatau

9.00am: Welcome

9.10am: Cath Wallace from ECO: Theme and core issues in the Conference

9.20am-9.50am: Keynote speaker: Dr Betsan Martin, vice chair of ECO on responsible transitions in the cross currents of change - thinking ecologically.

9.50am-10.00am: Discussion.

10.00am-10.30am: Cath Wallace on pathways to restore democracy and responsible conservation

10.40-11.10: break

11.10: Rick Zwaan, Action Station

11.40am-11.50: Discussion

11.50-12.05: discussion: speakers and general

12.05: lunch (included in conference fee- vegetarian meal provided)

1pm: Keynote speaker; Sir Geoffrey Palmer on "The New Zealand Environment and the Constitution - has the time come for an environmental right?"

1.30pm: discussion

1.50pm: Climate change: limits, pathways and actions:

Sir Alan Mark, Climate Consensus Coalition Aotearoa - Wise Response

2.20: The Zero Carbon Bill: James Young-Drew, followed by discussion.

2.45: Dr. Kennedy Graham, GLOBE NZ and the Vivid Economic report: scenarios for decarbonisation in New Zealand, followed by questions and discussions.

3.40pm: Joanna Santa Barbara, Our Climate Declaration

3.50pm: Catherine Cheung on Fossil fuels and just transition

4pm: discussion

4.10pm: Environmentally responsible and democratic conservation and resource management for the future

Sally Gepp, Forest and Bird, on "a lawyer's perspective on latest environment and conservation legal and planning issues".

Peter Lawless: "Regional marine biosecurity in the top of the south".

Bill Gilbertson on "Harnessing forest stewardship standards and getting involved"

With time for discussion after each presentation.

6pm: Dinner with cash bar at Stoke Hall - included in conference fee

Independent Nelson bookseller  Volume Books will have a book stall at the Hall on Saturday - great opportunity to pick up books by some of our speakers, and on other topics of relevance to the conference content!

7pm: Saturday Evening: Election Debate with representatives of Political Parties

Given this is election year, what do the political parties see as the goals, funding, actions and pathways to recovery?  Politicians on the environmental spot is an evening session – a democratic process of parties stating where they stand and answering questions.  We are non-partisan but we all know that democracy is important at all levels. David Parker (Labour), Richard Prosser (NZ First), Nick Smith (National), Eugenie Sage (Greens), Geoff Simmons (TOP).  Open to the public.

Sunday 27 August

8.30am-10.30am: ECO AGM for ECO member groups.  

10.30am: morning tea for all Conference participants

11am: Conference resumes - environmental responsibility and democracy for the future: problems and pathways

Discussions on fresh water: Barney Thomas of Wakatu Corporation on "managing for centuries".

Navigating through the murk to clean and healthy fresh water - various speakers, to be confirmed


12.35pm: Lunch - included in conference fee

1.30pm: Panel of speakers on challenges, pathways and actions to protect and restore national biodiversity:

Devon McLean, Environmental Advisor with the NEXT Foundation

Martin Rodd, DOC Nelson on conservation of landscape 

Derek Shaw of Brook Waimarama Sanctuary 

Peter Lawless, facilitator of Nelson Biodiversity Forum: forum strategy

Susan Moore-Lavo from Nelson City Council on Nelson Nature project

Debs Martin from Forest and Bird on working with bats in Top of the South

4-4.45pm: Conference reflections and closing.

Monday 28 August:  Further field trip

We have a further field trip on Monday to Takaka to see the Waikoropupu Springs and other places of interest in Golden Bay.  Please email us at the ECO office to indicate your interest in this trip. Depending on numbers we may be hiring a car and leaving Nelson about 8.30am, returning by 5.30pm.

Please note the programme may be subject to change.

ECO regards good company, good coffee and tea,  and delicious food as essential elements of a good conference!    The conference is fully catered - included in the registration fee which we keep very modest.

Food and Special diets: ECO’s caterer will provide vegetarian,  vegan and gluten free food and will try to accommodate other dietary requirements if informed sufficiently in advance.  Make dietary requirements known when you register.

Registration Information

Registration Costs:  ECO aims to keep registration costs as low as we can. We have pricing for those who do not have wages or other sources of income beyond the basics.

Registration costs are as follows:

Registration up to 21 August:

Full conference including lunch and tea breaks and evening meal Saturday night: $95 for members of ECO member groups and ECO Friends.  

$125 for non-members and non-Friends

Full conference fee for students and unwaged (including meals as above): $60

After 21st August:

Full conference including lunch and tea breaks and evening meal Saturday night: $115 for members of ECO member groups and ECO Friends.  

Full conference fee for students and unwaged (including meals as above): $75

Full conference fee after 13th August for non-members and non-ECO Friends: $145

To register click here go to the registration page

Travel and accommodation

People are asked to make their own arrangements for travel and for where they stay.    

Those coming from south of Christchurch: there is a plan to organise cars from Christchurch to carpool to Nelson. So if you are from Christchurch south, you may like to plan to come to Christchurch and then organise to car share from there.  Please email us if you are keen on this option.

Here are details of local accommodation options:

Holiday parks, campground and motorcamp:

Backpackers :
Motel and lodge:
  • Saxton Lodge at at 103 Saxton Road East, Stoke, has a special rate for those attending the Conference: nightly rate for two people is $120 with an extra $20 for each additional person in the room.   Email and mention that you are attending the ECO Conference.   They offer a courtesy vehicle from the airport too - ring them on arrival and they will collect.

  • The Gates Accommodation, 20 minutes from the venue, is available for conference attendees. It is sustainability-focused and includes 3 bedroom Corru Gate, 4 bedroom Copper Gate (or 1 bedroom studio option) and Kissing Gate glamping - rated in the world's top 14 by TripAdvisor. The Gates is one of the most eco-savvy boutique accommodation providers in the Top of the South. See




The Turf hotel is located a few meters away from the venue and got three double rooms. Rooms are double but can be used as single. The price is $50/night for a single and $75/per night for a double room. For more information contact them: 03 5477791.

If you can't find any place to stay, a list of other suggestions of accommodations and their range of prices is available here.

How to get to the venue?

From the airport

  • Walking : this is a 42 minutes walk (3.3km).  Click here to see the map. 

From the Nelson i-Site:

  • Both Bus Route 1 and Route 2 can take you to Stoke Memorial Hall. In each case the direction is Richmond. The journey fare is $3.50.  

The Stoke Memorial Hall is at 548 Main Road Stoke.  A link to details about the venue and a locality map is at this link.

If you come from Picton you can take an Intercity bus (More information here) then to go to the venue.

Follow above information "from i-Site". 

Here are more details about local transportation

Local buses:

Find the Nelson Buses Route map here
More informations about fares can be found here

Other information 


ECO needs volunteers to help with and during the conference.  Help in the kitchen and elsewhere is appreciated.  Contact Michael Pringle at


Please, note there is NO WIFI AVAILABLE at the Stoke Memorial Hall. 

Next page: ECO AGM 2017