Not a Bad Start to the Millennium

I’m pleased to welcome you officially to the 21st century, which I suspect will need Skeptics every bit as much as the last century, judging by the general level of activity over the past year.

Last November, I was delighted to be able to attend the World Convention of card-carrying Skeptics held in Sydney. I came away thinking we could produce just as illuminating and charming a bunch of speakers, so don’t be surprised if a couple of years from now you hear recommendations that we bid for a World Con in New Zealand.

Early in January we got a week’s notice to submit nominations for the Minister of Health’s Advisory Committee on Complementary and Alternative Medicines. Six months later we heard that yours truly hadn’t made it, and neither had nominations from a whole host of medical bodies of one form or another. The Committee is very strongly biased in favour of CAM practitioners and we await their first pronouncements with interest and — perhaps justifiably — a certain degree of apprehension. However, we do look forward to working with the group established by Dr Graham Sharpe which is to focus on the role of such therapies.

The website development approved in principle by last year’s AGM progressed with a hiss and a roar, and we now have a home at It’s proven very useful for me, as I can immediately access the vast bulk of material we’ve produced in the past decade or so, so I can have everything at my fingertips when I get rung up by journalists looking for information on the Kaimanawa Wall or whatever.

The website has also proven its utility with the conference in providing access to the registration form and programme for those electronically inclined. It also means you are now only a click away from a membership form when you’re talking to someone who really should join… I have some ideas for increasing the site’s usefulness still further which we’ll discuss later, such as information on the video library, dead tree library and a possible news alert service.

Contacts with the media have continued throughout the year, with the New Zealand Herald going so far as to track me down in Timaru Hospital for a comment on aromatherapy. We’ve worked with other organisations – providing the Royal Astronomical Society with ammunition showing the Moon landing wasn’t a hoax (they suspected as much), finding anthropological experts able to counter the notion of visiting Numidians in ancient Aotearoa, setting the legal wolves of Warner Brothers and some other large corporations onto a scam infringing their trademarks, and sharing information and ideas with the skeptical community overseas.

As always, your committee has been active in their ideas, suggestions and help, and I thank them and all those involved in the conference organisation for helping make our candle shine in the dark.

Best regards,

Vicki Hyde

Chair-entity, NZCSICOP Inc. 2001 Chair

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