The branch has four or five Technical meetings per year. Attempts are made to divide these evenly, between speakers and visits to manufacturing plants or places of interest. The Branch has been fortunate over the years to have had visitors from Britain and Europe willing to give talks on a variety of subjects including Marine, Commercial, Climatic and Historic topics. The nucleus of membership is centred in Christchurch, where meetings are mainly held. The branch also has members in other areas including Nelson, Timaru, and Dunedin. All visitors are always welcome and should any require assistance in respect of local knowledge, members are always willing to help.
About New Zealand - South Island
The Island, situated in the lower South Pacific, has an area of 151,215 sq. km., with various small islands off its coastline. The island is approximately 800 km long x 200 km wide at it’s widest point. Two thirds of the island is mountains, with 18 peaks over 3000 metres high. It has a population of just 1,017,300 giving a density of 6/7 persons per sq. km.
There are five main ports: Nelson, Picton (the terminal for inter island ferries), Lyttelton, Timaru, Port Chalmers/Dunedin and Bluff. All ports are concerned with imports/exports on ocean going vessels, also servicing a fairly large fishing fleet. Imports are mainly through the Lyttelton and Port Chalmers container terminals, covering a wide range of cargoes. Exports through all ports listed, being principally frozen and chilled meat products, dairy products, timber products, coal, aluminium and some manufactured goods. Marine and manufacturing industries, formerly quite predominant in the ports, have declined over the years. This has been due to increased machinery efficiency, machinery requirements, shorter port stay times and shipping company repair policies. The island is now serviced by smaller repair workshops in each port whose work is mainly on fishing vessels and smaller coastal vessels. Only Lyttelton now has a dry-dock facility and this is of limited capacity. On the manufacturing side, Hamilton Jet is probably the largest manufacturer remaining, whilst various smaller companies make boilers, agricultural machinery and implements, and wind turbines.
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