Resolution Institute conference

Spotlight on practice

16–17 October 2019, Wellington NZ

Getting to the heart of the matter

with David Hurley

Although mediators are usually presented with an exchange of letters or court papers, it is not uncommon to find that the presenting problem is only symptomatic of a deeper malaise. Parties ‘dig their toes in’ over a small amount of money and impasse appears to be illogical on an economic basis. This can be a signal that some need or interest remains undiscovered and, until it is disclosed and addressed, a satisfactory outcome cannot be achieved.

Creating a safe environment where parties can speak ‘from the heart’ to each other is an aspiration of good mediating.

This is an opportunity for participants to:

1. share experiences of good and bad communication and the impact of each in both contributing to the causes and resolution of conflict

2. gain further understanding about the theory of communication

3. consider risks such as using inappropriate metaphors

4. explore other techniques of positive interaction and engagement including use of humour


David Hurley has been mediating since 1991 and has been a regular coach and speaker for Resolution Institute and its predecessor over that time. He was the New Zealand Law Society Mediator of the Year in 2015.

David has been employed mainly in the employment and industrial relations field through the Department of Labour (now Resolution Services within MBIE.). He has been involved as mediator in a number of significant issues and is attuned to focussing on providing services which meet the needs of the parties in any particular dispute.

David's experience includes:

  • Employment dispute resolution at the highest level of management in both government structures and the private sector including cases of significant political sensitivity.
  • Collective bargaining in the private and public sectors including in the major areas of health and education.
  • Some experience in family and commercial cases and the Waitangi Tribunal.
  • A wide variety of work in employment has meant working both cross-culturally and also intra-culturally.

David has also presented papers at numerous conferences and has lectured on mediation issues throughout NZ, as well as Melbourne, Los Angeles and London.