27 July 2020

NZ update | July 2020

Kia ora

Some thoughts on freedom and what we do

A couple of days ago I was having a coffee with a friend who remarked how the COVID-19 lockdown had made him more appreciative of his freedom. This got me thinking about what freedom means to people and how we as dispute resolution practitioners are part of that.

We all know that not being allowed to go out except for food and other emergencies is freedom deprivation, as is being incarcerated or bedridden. That is pretty straightforward.

Then I started to think about the people we deal with each day and how, when trapped in conflict, this is also a form of denial of freedom. As we often see, being in conflict can stop a person doing their day-to-day activities. It is energy-draining. They cannot move forward with their life. Nothing else matters. They can even lose friends as they do not want to hear about their problems.   

This once again reminded me how fortunate and honoured we are to be invited into a person’s life at a stage when there seems to be no end to their problems. As skilled and professional dispute resolvers we have the ability to change people’s lives for the better and help them move on and get their life back on track. What we do is a wonderful thing and it has to be the most rewarding profession that I know of.

So, as we fight our way through these tough COVID-19 times, keep in mind that every problem has a solution. We just need to keep going. Working together, being kind to each other and staying strong will produce the resolution of the challenges we currently face.

NZ Activities

The Farm Debt Mediation Act came into force on 1 July. I am very pleased to say that between Resolution Institute and AMINZ, we have over 20 mediators accredited to provide mediation services under the Act. We also have our first tikanga accredited mediator which is great news. We have been advised that mediations are already underway and that the banking sector has embraced the new legislation. This is excellent news for our rural sector and a great result for the collaborative work done by us and AMINZ.

We are seeing more and more activity in our mediation rooms as our lives slowly return to normal.  Face to face mediations are underway again and our members are back helping people resolve conflict.

One area that is still a little quiet is registrations in our CPD and networking events planned for August in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. We have assembled some outstanding practitioners who will share with you their experiences during COVID-19 and what future effects it may have on our profession. These events are not only a great opportunity for professional development; they are also an excellent way to connect with fellow practitioners, have a drink and some kai and enjoy each other’s company. Something many of our overseas peers still can’t do.

The event details are on our website on the Learning and Events – NZ page. I hope to see you there!

Later in the year we will be running a two-day training event for mediators who would like to work in the family dispute resolution field. We will have a number of current FDR mediators discussing the current landscape, what you need to learn to do FDR work and the pathway to get there.

Resolution Institute’s Strategic Plan and associated business plans are almost complete as are the assigning of roles to suitably qualified staff.

This has created a number of new positions including Membership Manager and Corporate Affairs Manager, both of which will be based in Sydney. I have now been appointed to the role of Chief Operating Officer and among other tasks will have responsibility for the membership area.

Daylight hours are increasing and there are early signs of spring which is always uplifting. Stay safe, enjoy time with family and friends and have a great August.

Kind regards,