Presidents welcome
Welcomed Neil Dickson as the Chair and Speaker – a man who can multitask! Also welcomed was Roy.
An update on Regionalisation was provided, and a vote was taken. All members voted in favour of the motion to support the Regionalisation project.
3-minute speaker
Grant Davidson spoke of his travels around Timaru as part of keeping healthy and seeing all the wonderful work volunteers do. From work at Caroline Bay to walks and tracks, all developed and, in many cases, maintained by volunteers. Sadly, volunteering is a dying activity, and more are needed to continue our town's development. Grant concluded with a heartful thanks to everyone who volunteered.
The Robbery
Robby and Harley did their best and ensured everyone had some guilt that needed to be paid for.
The Giving
Colin Shore took home a very nice bottle of red wine.
Guest Speaker
Neil spoke of his time overseas working in tanning and, in particular, Madana, Fel and Morroco. The continent was the area in the world where tanning was popular. It was these places where colours in tanning were intense and sold to tourists. Colours in tanning are unusual as there are usually two primary colours.
Neil spoke in depth about the chemicals needed to ensure dyeing, particularly in the areas of Switzerland and Germany as key players. From there, Neil talked about and showed photos of the leading players in the chemical industry associated with developing dyes for tanning, etc.
BASF, with over $44 billion of assets, was one of the significant and most advanced players and had more research laboratories than New Zealand. They and one other were part of the breakthrough scientist who discovered how to create the 'purple' dye in 1901. Until then, purple dye was only achievable by crushing a particular snail, which is why only royalty had cloths of this colour (pre-1901). However, this company was responsible for a major explosion from their chemicals, killing over 500 people. The explosion site is now a mix of roads, restaurants, etc. This company was responsible for developing the chemical that makes aspirin and had to hand over this IP as part of the Treaty of Versailles.
HUR1 was another prominent company in Germany. A significant company led by a Jewish group until taken over by the Nazis in 1933. This company was known as a slave organisation, mainly Jews, as part of the war. One of the chemicals they developed was used in gas chambers. Many of the later directors of the company were charged with war crimes. During the war, the allies never bombed the chemical factory as they wanted to know more about it and the IP of the chemicals.
Discharge of chemicals was never an issue in the early days… it just went into rivers. However, recently, much of the land under chemical factories needs to be removed due to its contamination.
In the early days, all the above companies worked as a cartel until later years.
Neil enjoyed his time learning how to make the chemicals but, at the time, was unaware of their history.
On a lighter note, Neil spoke about suffering 2.5-hour lunches and shared with us a lesson/reason for not wanting to shorten the lunch breaks!
Neil concluded that, at times, behind great success, there can be a dark past.