Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen. It is my great pleasure to be President of the Meteorological Society of New Zealand in the year that our Executive decided to hold the Conference and Annual General Meeting here in beautiful Hawkes Bay. This part of New Zealand is a great favourite of mine and judging by the enthusiasm expressed at committee meetings I suspect it is also a great favourite of many of our Executive. As well as being a meteorologist I am also a keen cactus collector and grower (you know those hideous prickly things). Now as everyone knows there are some very fine vineyards here in Hawkes Bay. However, perhaps what many of you don't realise is that Hawkes Bay is also the home to some of the finest private cactus collections in the country and a visit here always provides me with the opportunity to visit friends and admire their collections.