30 March 2022

Aotearoa New Zealand update | March 2022



Kia ora

Over the last two years I have regularly spoken about the challenges of providing dispute resolution services in a COVID-19 world. I have seen some very innovative practices provided by our members.  The great team at Resolution Institute Aotearoa New Zealand have also been agile and provided excellent services to members.

The recent announcement by our Government of the removal of vaccine passes and mandates give me hope that we are nearing the end of this very challenging situation. 

We are clearly being encouraged to return to our offices by these changes and by the subsidising of public transport fares. However, that decision, as was the case with vaccinations, remains a personal one and I think it will take some time for all of us to be comfortable with returning to normal work conditions. I am pleased to say that the Wellington office will open in a staged manner with some staff members in the office and some working from home for a while longer.  

Regardless of how the office is opened, I know that the service provided will remain as good as it always is.

Sue Wells and AMINZ
As many of you may be aware, Sue Wells, AMINZ CEO, has resigned to take up a senior position at the Royal Commission of Enquiry into Abuse in Care. Sue will be looking after the survivors’ stories area.

I have very much enjoyed working with Sue and we have jointly made many changes to bring the two associations closer together for the benefit of all members. The work we did on the Farm Debt Mediation training and accreditation programme is a good example.

I am very pleased that Rachael Douglas has been appointed General Manager and I am looking forward to working with Rachael and continuing the great partnership we have established.

Domain Name Commission Limited – online dispute resolution
Keri Morris, who is known to many for her outstanding work in family dispute resolution is now the Legal Officer for the Domain Name Commission (DNCL)

Recently the DNCL commenced a pilot online dispute resolution programme for disputes relating to domain names.  Using the Immediation platform, DNCL has developed a bespoke service allowing parties to use e-negotiation or online mediation to find resolution.  This fully funded service will be piloted for six months. 

Keri has written an excellent article about the development of this service.  It can be found here

Restorative Practice and Conflict Coaching
Over the last 12 months or so work has been happening to create a pathway to accreditation in Restorative Practice. This has been in partnership with Te Ngāpara Centre for Restorative Practice (formerly known as the Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice).

I am pleased to say that great progress has been made thanks to some excellent work by Anne Evans-Scott from PACT and I am hopeful accreditation in Restorative Practice will be available in the second half of this year.

Also well advanced is the development of a conflict coaching course specifically designed for Aotearoa New Zealand. Jon Everest and his team have been working hard on this and we should see this available also in the second half of this year.

Stay safe
Trevor Slater