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2002 Conference

Conference Summary

With a record number of delegates, perfect weather and months of meticulous planning the HRINZ Conference 2001 far exceeded expectations.

Starting with a fringe day of workshops, site visits and special lunches for those with burning questions or a desire to gain professional recognition, most of the conference attendees were deeply engrossed in all the current (and future) HR issues keeping practitioners awake at night while a group of forty senior practitioners from all over New Zealand was deeply engrossed in the South Wairarapa countryside learning about global HR issues and local business activities and practices.

An opening cocktail function in the early Wednesday evening gave both groups a chance to mix with each other and to meet with exhibitors and speakers, and to network in readiness for the days ahead. Some went off for dinner together while the rest headed back to their hotels for an early night.

The conference formerly opened the following morning to a toned-down launch from the one that was planned, as a mark of respect to the American tragedy which had unfolded on the previous day. Speakers excelled, delegates participated with questions and comments and the expo buzzed with interest. Our resident story-teller, Mary Alice Arthur, resplendent in a ring master's costume, facilitated absolutely seamless proceedings in her very professional manner we've all grown to love.

A special session, enshrouded in secrecy for months, unfolded when Dr Paul Toulson's contribution to HR and the Institute was acknowledged in a special 'This is your life' presentation and he was awarded the highest Institute honour, Life Fellowship.

At the end of the afternoon sessions delegates were invited to join the Wellington business community for drinks and nibbles while two teams of human resources celebrities battled their way through an HR Trivial Pursuit style Talent Quiz. Jafas versus the Rest of the World (made up of Wellingtonians actually) put up a gallant effort to show their superiority but were dealt some cruel blows from the biased crowd of on-lookers and the Rest of the World won the quiz. A challenge from the Jafas has been mounted for next year's conference.

As happy delegates in all their finery walked through the doors of the Te Papa function room later that evening and into a night at the Oscars, they were snapped by paparazzi eager to get them while they were looking their best - and a few certainly deteriorated later in the evening. With Marilyn Monroe, Nicole Kidman, Richard Gere, Elton John and some less famous wannabes taking the limelight, the real star performer, Frankie Stevens, managed to get back into the spotlight with a rich voice made in heaven and songs from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tom Jones and other crowd teasers. The crowd was just spell-bound. Later in the evening we were entertained with a rendition of 'Oscars' trivia that astounded those with even the best memories.

The final day of the conference started earlier for some than others with a panel discussion on Paid Parental Leave over a breakfast of V and Berocca and the usual bacon and eggs. Another day of great speakers and leading edge presentations followed, with a well-attended members forum in the middle discussing the value of professional membership.

The Talent Search prize winners were awarded an array of goodies after lunch while the previous evening's party animals consumed vast amounts of real coffee in the JavaChat café under the guise of checking their emails - yeah, right.

The conference closed to the tune of Absolutely Everybody and photos were displayed on the big screen of the real stars of the show - the delegates! We managed to learn lots, share much and grow stronger and had some much needed fun.

But don't take our word for it. Here's what the delegates said…

During the conference, this was emailed to a delegate's friend: "The conference is fantastic. A lot of thought and a huge amount of effort has gone into it - and I've always thought that the mark of a good conference is that you don't even know where the evaluation sheet is, never mind reach for it half way through to start filling it in. That's the case with this one. The expo is also a cracker - there's a coffee shop with real coffee. YES!" - Greg Lynas, Caltex New Zealand Limited

Post conference:

"Just a quick note to say thank-you for a fantastic conference last week. The whole event, from beginning to end, was truly world class, and very, very worthwhile." - Greg Lynas, Caltex New Zealand Limited

"Thanks for all your efforts in making the 'big day out' last Wednesday such a great success. We need to do it more often!!" - Noel Davie, Mainland Products

"I had a great time, I was very impressed with the conference and the high calibre of speakers, I especially enjoyed Kevin Wheeler as I read his articles. It was extremely well organised and I think a credit to the HRINZ team who worked so hard to put it together. I had a great opportunity to network and got to meet many 'like minded' people…Anyway, overall it was a great experience and I would recommend attending to everyone." - Catherine Spiller, Adcorp New Zealand

"Thanks to everyone at HRINZ for the recent Wellington conference. I thoroughly enjoyed each of the sessions I attended (in particular found Kevin Wheeler extremely entertaining and interesting). Also, it was very useful to chat with a number of the exhibitors to find out what else is going on in the world on NZ HR. Looking forward to next year!" - Colin Hamilton, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

"Thank you for putting together an excellent conference and I enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the various sessions as well as the networking. Appreciate all the effort that went in." - Chris Wright, Mercy Hospital and Health Services

"The conference was excellent and I particularly enjoyed Kevin's presentation." Glynis Powell, ACC



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