31 March 2021

Aotearoa New Zealand update | March 2021

Kia ora

It has been a very busy month at our New Zealand office with some exciting events happening.

Inaugural Pasifika Networking Day

The month started with our inaugural Pasifika Network Planning Day.

The event was organised by Pele Walker and attended by our Pasifika Network members and other interested parties.

The aim of the day was to discuss how to improve access to dispute resolution in the Pasifika community and to inform Resolution Institute how we can partner to meet these needs. Topics included: growing and supporting Pasifika mediators; Pasifika values and concepts in mediation; Challenges for Pasifika parties accessing mediation and towards Pasifika mediation competency.

The event has produced many excellent ideas that Resolution Institute and the Pasifika Network will start to develop over the coming months.

A big thank you to Pele for organising the event and to all those that attended and participated.

Family Dispute Resolution

On Tuesday 16 March, Sue Wells, Executive Director of AMINZ and I, along with joint member Chris LaHatte, appeared before the Select Committee to speak to our joint submission on the Family Court (Supporting Children in Court) Legislation Bill. 

A Resolution Institute and AMINZ joint working party had identified a number of sections of the proposed legislation that required comment. One particular proposed change is that the family mediator must decide if the children should be included in the family mediation.

Our joint stance was that this was inappropriate as it meant the mediator would be required to make a decision which was not necessarily agreed to by both parties, thus breaching one of the fundamental rules of mediation.  

Sue Wells and I spoke about each of the associations’ Code of Ethics and Chris addressed the Committee from an experienced family mediator’s perspective.

The Committee had a number of questions and clearly understood our concerns in relation to this proposed change.

Later this week, I attended the first joint meeting of all ADROs (Approved Dispute Resolution Organisation) for family dispute resolution.

The purpose of this meeting was to look at how each of us undertook training, accreditation, complaint handling and reporting to see what differences there are.  The long-term plan is to aim to have as many consistent processes as possible across all four ADROs to ensure we all provide mediation services fit for purpose.

Resolution Institute Training

We provided two five-day training workshops in March.

One was for our Restorative Justice accreditation programme. It was well attended, and all attendees have now passed their final academic stage of the Restorative Justice accreditation process. The next stage is for each to undertake practical work by facilitating a number of RJ sessions.

This is an outstanding workshop that is provided by the team of Anne, Jon and Everard from PACT and part of our partnership with the Ministry of Justice.

We also ran our flagship five-day mediation course which follows the mediation process as set out by the National Mediation Accreditation System (NMAS).  Attendees came from various areas ranging from Government organisations to private practitioners.  Each participant now has the opportunity to work towards Resolution Institute accreditation.

Like the Restorative Justice workshop, this is expertly run by our team of Ana, Jon and Moira with other expert practitioner members working as coaches. 

Organising this event is no easy task and we are fortunate that Laura Collins takes on that role and does so with great expertise and passion.

Have an excellent April, enjoy the Easter break and kia kaha.