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The Human Resources Institute of New Zealand

Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ) is the professional body for those involved in Human Resource Management and the development of people.

HRINZ represents the interests of 3,000+ individual members who make up around 45% of the known New Zealand HR market. Read More

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The History of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand

Institute History

As early as 1951, a small group of personnel officers in Auckland began to meet at the home of Arthur Churton, an industrial consultant, calling themselves the Institute of Personnel Management. However, the real foundations for today's Institute were probably laid on 11 June 1956 when 43 people attended a meeting in the cafeteria of the Standard Vacuum Oil Company's offices in Wellington and agreed to form the Wellington Personnel Group. But it was not until 1969 that a national organisation was established.

The Wellington Personnel Group was established under the umbrella of the Wellington Division of the New Zealand Institute of Management, an arrangement which developed and continued until 1985 when the Institute of Personnel Management New Zealand Incorporated was set up as an independent national organisation.

In 1961, the Wellington Personnel Group decided that the growing status of personnel work in New Zealand justified a more formal association, and thus the Personnel Management Association was inaugurated. It deliberately sought a wide membership - all persons who are professionally concerned or interested in the personnel function of management - and included national coverage in its long term goals. It hoped that interested people in other districts would follow the lead taken in Wellington and form groups under the name of the Personnel Management Association. In fact, a Personnel Group already existed in Auckland and there was a Personnel Management Panel in Christchurch, both under the umbrella of the Institute of Management. Contact soon grew between these three groups, and Personnel Management Associations were formed in Auckland and Canterbury. The first national conference of personnel managers was held in Levin in 1967.

As a result of this growing co-operation, but specifically occasioned by the National Development Conference in 1968, the New Zealand Institute of Personnel Management was formed in 1969. The Wellington Personnel Management Association had made submissions to the National Development Conference, but was concerned that the views it expressed were not national views. The then president of the Wellington association, Mr E R Jenkins (now an Auckland-based Life Fellow of IPM) gained support for the idea of a national association from Auckland and Canterbury and from the National Council of the Institute of Management.

The New Zealand Institute of Personnel Management was inaugurated in Auckland in August 1969 as a national specialist group within the New Zealand Institute of Management with Ted Jenkins as its first National President. Throughout the 1970s, the range and frequency of IPM activities steadily increased, focused mainly on branches in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and, to a lesser extent, Dunedin. Typically, a branch would hold a monthly meeting at which members would gather for a social period and then listen to a speaker. From time to time, a half-day or one-day seminar would be held, and the pattern of a biennial national conference emerged. In 1978, a major survey of personnel management in New Zealand was undertaken by the Wellington Branch, following on similar surveys by the Auckland Association in 1968 and the Wellington group in 1958.

During the early 1980s, there was considerable discussion of NZIPM's continuing links with the Institute of Management. Because NZIPM was a sub-group of NZIM, people were required to become members of NZIM in order to be members of NZIPM, and the personnel management organisation was not able to have its own funds and other resources. This debate was a sign of the growing strength of both the Institute and the personnel profession and led, in 1984, to the decision to establish the Institute of Personnel Management New Zealand as a separate incorporated body. That happened the following year.

The new Institute described itself as a non-political association of people with interests and expert knowledge, experience and skills in the areas of human resources management and development at all levels within industrial, commercial, government, education and service organisations. It listed these objectives:

  • To encourage and foster the development of professional knowledge and competence and high standards of performance amongst members so that they facilitate the achievement of their organisations' goals through the effective employment and development of their staff

  • To promote understanding of personnel management and its contribution to the performance of individuals and organisations

  • To advance recognition of the Institute as an authoritative organisation in all matters involving and affecting the employment of people

Significantly, the new organisation was established as a national organisation of individual members. Previously, it had been constituted in accordance with the NZIM structure as an organisation of branches and, again reflecting the NZIM systems, had included representatives of corporate members.

The inaugural National Council meeting of the new Institute was held in Wellington in December 1985. It elected Richard Rudman of Wellington as the first National President of the new body. Branches were formally recognised in Auckland, Waikato, Wellington and Canterbury. During 1986 a new branch was formed in the Manawatu, the Otago branch was relaunched, and a Personnel Interest Group began to meet in Taranaki.

Among the decisions made at that first Council meeting was that the membership database should not be used for any other purpose than that relevant to the operation of the Institute. This policy is still in force. The Institute began with funds of $19,000 and a similar amount in the Research and Publications Fund which had income from a number of personnel management books whose authors had generously directed their royalties to IPM, leading to the establishment of this special fund.

The Council anticipated that the main areas in which the institute would move immediately were a membership drive, conferences and the establishment of a national newsletter. The programme planned for 1986 included a Senior Practitioners Forum which became the forerunner of the highly successful seminars on Strategic Human Resource Management conducted by Professor Roger Collins.

The subscription for the inaugural year was set at $50 with a $ discount per function for up to five functions. The process of administering these vouchers proved unwieldy and the concept was subsequently abandoned.

Council was advised that 220 membership applications had been sent to the National Gradings panel for consideration. It was agreed that it was critical to establish standards and consistency in membership matters from the outset.

February 1986 saw the launch of IPM NEWS. Initially produced as the Institute's newsletter, its style and content would develop over the next ten years and 54 issues until being succeeded by HUMAN RESOURCES magazine in April 1996. During 1986 IPM sponsored a well-attended visit to NZ by the author of Megatrends, Richard Naisbitt.

At its second meeting the Council reaffirmed the principle of individual and national membership. While there had been discussion about the merits of corporate membership it was agreed that the Institute was a professional body of individual practitioners. Branches existed for the convenience of organising activities for members in a particular location. However, members were not members of a Branch, but members of the national organisation. The dichotomy between national membership and the branch structure has often been discussed, and the Council has consistently affirmed the advantages of a national structure.

In 1992, the aims of IPM New Zealand were refined and now read:

  • To encourage and support the development of professional knowledge and competence and high standards of performance among its members

  • To promote understanding of all aspects of human resources management and development and its contribution to the performance of individuals and organisations

  • To provide an authoritative and influential viewpoint on all matters affecting its members and the management and development of human resources

By the end of IPM New Zealand's first year, membership had reached around 500: just over ten years later it had more than trebled to over 1500, and the number of branches had grown to seven - Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago/Southland (Wild South). Similarly, the Institute's range of member services and activities has been greatly expanded.

1986 also saw the first of the major conferences, which have been an important part of IPM's profile. Conferences have also been financial annual contributors. Without the 1986 conference profits, the years result would have been a loss of $27,000. The 1986 conference was described as "the most significant personnel management occasion ever held in New Zealand".

In November 1987, Frances Tweedy (a partner in Human Resource Associates) became the Institute's second President. At the same meeting, the Institute engaged the services of a professional association management company to take over from the chartered accounting firm who had initially provided secretarial services. This management was to last for over a year until the Council appointed its first Executive Director in 1989.

By March 1988 membership had grown to 810 and the Institute has accumulated funds of $31,644. The subscription was $90. During 1988 and 1989 much of the effort of the national organisation was focused on developing an IPM qualification. Module design groups worked on the elements of a two year study programme leading to a certificate or diploma. It was planned to introduce this in 1991. However, after much work and debate, it was eventually decided that the Institute would not become a qualification grading organisation. Rather, it was decided to influence the courses provided in the tertiary sector.

In November 1989 Ruth Payne, HR Manager at New Zealand Post, was elected National President.

During 1989 the Institute suffered a blow with the collapse of Equiticorp, in which the Institute had invested $20,000. This led to the establishment of strict criteria for the investment of any surplus funds. These have to be placed with recognized trading banks.

In June 1990 the National Office was established in the building next to the present office, and in that same year a Management Committee was set up to oversee the financial management of the Institute. This Committee has had several name changes since then and is now the Executive Committee, with responsibility for finance and the operation of National Office.

During 1990 Warwick Harvey succeeded Ruth Payne as President.

The September 1990 meeting of National Council made several major decisions:

  • The special purpose fund was established with surplus funds accumulated by the branches

  • The draft Code of Professional Behaviour was endorsed (subsequently adopted in 1991)

  • The constitutional amendments were referred to the branches for commitments

The major changes in the constitution from the original were:

  • Changes to criteria for professional membership

  • An increase in the number of Council members

  • The provision for Branches to cover both geographic and occupational groupings

  • The formation of standing committees

These changes were fully adopted in 1992.

During 1992, the National Council identified the Institute's Critical Success Factors. These were:

  • Meeting members' expectations

  • Achieving good communication with members and influential sources

  • Providing competence criteria for professional (certificate) membership

  • Enhancing the image of the Institute

  • Adding value to the Institute members

A Strategic Business Plan was prepared which has at its core elements:

  • Membership growth

  • Providing information to members through IPM News, Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, Branch newsletters, publications

  • Branch activities

  • Providing professional development and continuing education for members

  • Funding or undertaking research

  • Building the Institute's profile

These strategies have been endorsed, with minor modifications, on a regular basis since then.

In 1992, Richard Rudman was appointed as the Institute's principal adviser in the areas of policy and professional development. He had, over the previous three years, been one of a small group of members who had prepared the IPM Framework for the Professional Development of Professional Practitioners. This experience persuaded the Institute of the need to have a resource that could be dedicated to these key areas of professional activity and member services.

The Director, Policy and Professional Development had a wide-ranging brief to provide the National Council and its committees with advice and assistance on matters of policy and professionalism. The outcomes of this role included the development and co-ordination of the Institute's professional development programme, the publication of a number of professional practice guides, and the preparation and presentation of submissions to Parliamentary select committees. In addition, the Director, Policy and Professional Development liaised on behalf of IPM with agencies like the Human Rights Commission and the Privacy Commissioner, and represented the Institute to organisations like the Qualifications Authority.

In 1993 Glenn Keen was elected President. At the February Council meeting, the criteria and procedures for assessing applications for professional membership were agreed. These criteria set out the seven areas of knowledge and skill required.

The professional development programme for 1993 included workshops and seminars on:

  • Strategic Human Resource Management

  • Personnel Management Today (an introductory course for new practitioners)

  • Innovation, Quality and Personnel Management

  • Structured Employment Interviewing

Until 1993, conferences had been organised by a committee based in the Branch where the conference was to be held. In 1993 the conference was organised by the Director, Policy and Professional Development, Executive Officer and immediate past President. While this was probably more efficient, it was felt that more local involvement was desirable, but with less previous meeting requirements. A pattern had been established where the Director, Policy & Professional Development created the programme, National Office handled registration and finance, and a local committee looked after the venue and social side of the conference.

In 1993 the Council established a financial policy. It stated that:

  • Expenditure should not exceed income

  • Subscription income should be approximately 50% of total proposed revenue for the year

  • Cash reserves should be created to allow for the development of special programmes to meet the objectives of the Institute

  • A National Capital Fund should be maintained as a safeguard against unforeseen financial future

In 1994 there was an addition to the financial policy:

  • Branches should aim to break even

  • Branch reserve funds should be used before calling on National funds

In 1993 the Taranaki branch was established. This was followed by the Wild South Branch in Dunedin the following year.

Branch activities have been maintained (primarily dinner meetings with speakers), annual conferences have continued to be professionally and financially successful, and the professional development programme remains an important aspect of the Institute's activities.

In 1996 IPM News was replaced by HumanResources. The magazine continues to win praise as a highly professional publication. Institute related communications are now conveyed through a national newsletter and branch newsletters. These are co-ordinated by National Office.

In 1997 Paul Toulson was elected National President, and during his term it was obvious that some major restructuring of the Institute was required. The financial situation had deteriorated for a number of reasons and it was clear that the Institute was living beyond its means and consequently the healthy reserves that had been built up over the years were in jeopardy. It was also clear that the operating organisation was no longer capable of meeting the demands placed on it by an increased membership and the lack of time that the volunteers now had to contribute to the Institute's activities.

At the December 1997 National Council Meeting some landmark decisions were made. Among these was the decision to move the National Office to Wellington, for strategic reasons and to recruit a full-time Chief Executive Officer whose role it would be to build an efficient and effective operating organisation. In 1998 these decisions were implemented and Beverley Main was appointed as Chief Executive in April 1998. During the year a major review of the constitution was also completed. The year also marked an increase in activities on the international front and a closer relationship with the Australian Human Resources Institute.

At the beginning of 1999 the new electoral system for the appointment of National Councillors and Branch Committees was introduced. A major rebranding exercise, as a result of the constitutional review, was also completed which saw the launch of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ) on 1 April 1999. On this day, Glenn Harris, was elected National President. The inaugural Meeting of the new National Council of HRINZ was held on 7 May 1999 in Wellington.

The turn around process commenced by Dr Toulson was a daring step for a troubled organisation. The fact that it was a bold departure from earlier practices probably helped make it the success that it was. Since the move to Wellington in 1999 the National Office has grown in numbers to provide wider services to members. The Institute employs an Office Manager to attend to the daily administration, a Programme Manager to develop and market development programmes and events, a Manager Research and Development to develop and promote the professional interest of members, all in addition to the Chief Executive Officer.

The National Council structure of committees was also changed following proposals by the National President. Two Vice-Presidents were elected, each holding the Chair of an advisory committee - Professional Services and Membership Services. The Professional Services Group has two other committees reporting to it, the Gradings Panel and the Research and Publications Committee.

By careful marketing and by delivering services that members wanted the Institute consolidated its position, retaining members and expanding services. By 2001 the Institute had implemented a multi-functional Internet site, on on-line academic journal, a new look national magazine and new professional development programmes, including revamped senior forums. The Institute was being increasingly involved by the government in deliberations and discussion on employment relations issues and it was taking a more active role in setting standards for human resource management education and training. The financial stability of the Institute had improved with reserves being increased to levels not seen since the early 1990's. The 2000 Conference held in Wellington delivered an up-market event that received critical acclaim, heralding the arrival of the Institute as the "voice of human resource management" in New Zealand. In 1999 the first HRINZ HR Awards were held and became an annual event in subsequent years.

Highlights from 2001-2014


  • Annemarie de Castro was elected National President


  • Significant changes made to the grading process for professional membership


  • Ross Pearce was elected National President
  • Mentoring Programme was offered nationally


  • HRINZ offered annual scholarships and student prizes
  • HRINZ adopted a web-based infrastructure to manage the membership and activities of the Institute, allowing a centralised accounting and event management model to be introduced


  • Geoff Summers was elected National President
  • Northland Branch was formed
  • The HRINZ competency model was reviewed and new competencies adopted


  • Nelson Branch was formed
  • The HRINZ constitution underwent a significant review
  • HRINZ had accumulated sufficient funds to purchase and fit-out a floor in a new office building in Chews Lane, central Wellington


  • Bill Shields was elected National President


  • HRINZ moved into its own new premises in Chews Lane
  • Bay of Plenty Branch was formed
  • Education Endorsement Programme (EEP) was launched


  • Kristin Cooper was elected National President
  • An Academic Branch was created, bringing the total number of branches to eleven
  • A new annual conference, Nine to 9, was held in Auckland
  • The HRINZ constitution underwent a significant review


  • Membership reached 3900 which was 52% of the known HR workforce in New Zealand
  • Staff at National Office had reached 12, including support staff in Auckland and Christchurch and Beverley Main continued as CEO
  • A Research Forum was created to bridge HR academia with HR practice.
  • Governance review commenced
  • An investigation into the introduction of Continuing Professional Development for HRINZ members


  • Hawkes Bay Branch was formed

  • Membership reaches over 4000 individual members

  • Catherine Taylor was elected National President

  • HRINZ employs its first full time Communications Manager to oversee social media, branding and to create communications strategies


  • Membership stays steady at over 4000 individual members; representing over 55% of the known HR workforce in New Zealand

  • Governance review completed and a new Board model introduced moving from a representative model to a pure governance model

  • Two new branches were created; Queenstown Southern Lakes Branch and Foveaux Branch

  • Nine to 9 becomes Nine to 5 and is held in Auckland and Christchurch


  • Another two new branches are created; Hutt Valley and Auckland South

  • Nine to 5 is held in Auckland, Christchurch and Palmerston North

  • Rachel Walker was elected National President


  • Chris Till appointed as Chief Executive of HRINZ

  • The HRINZ National Conference and Expo is re-launched as the NZ HR Conference and Expo and held in Auckland

Governance and Management: A Discussion Paper (IPMNZ 1997)


The Constitution of IPMNZ makes it quite clear that the governing body of the membership association of IPMNZ is the National Council, and to this extent, subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the management of the Institute is vested in the National Council which shall exercise all powers of the Institute. Constitutionally, the National Council is empowered to make appointments of officers, employees or agents as it considers necessary and appropriate for the proper conduct of the Institute’s activities and business, and shall, subject to law determine the conditions and remuneration, if any, of such appointments. In other words National Council has the overall resposibility for the governance and management of the membership association. However once the “organisation”, being the tool of the membership association grows and employed and contracted staff are hired as part of the organisation, as distinct from the membership association, the distinction between what is governance and what is management becomes important. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the implications of governance and management issues as they impact on the operation of IPM.

The Distinction between Governance and Management

In a membership association like IPM that relies a lot on the activities of its member volunteers the distinction between governance and management can become quite blurred and this has the potential to cause tension between the volunteers on the one hand and the paid staff on the other. So as we move our IPM organisation ( as distinct from the membership association) from volunteers to professionals, it is very important to make the distinction clear.

Succinctly put, governance is about “ends” and management is about “means”. The role of National council (which represents the membership association of IPM) is about governance. Governance is about acting in the following roles: a guardian on behalf of IPM’s members and clients; as a governor in the sense of setting strategy and policy to ensure that IPM’s objectives continue to be achieved; a steward ensuring the preservation of IPM’s assets; an ambassador as a link with the community and with sponsors; and , as an employer ensuring that IPM acts as a good employer to its professional staff.

Some of the tasks associated with governance in IPM would include the following:

  • Reviewing and amending the Constitution regularly
  • Establishing Council procedures and protocols
  • Establishing limitations and controls (especially identifying those things that cannot be achieved)
  • Establishing procedures and protocols for working with a Chief Executive
  • Establishing policy regarding investment and long-term financial plans
  • Developing long-term vision and medium-term plans, and considering their fiscal implications
  • Setting targets for annual planning, and reviewing the annual plan and monitoring its progress
  • Reviewing the annual budget and monitoring its progress
  • Ensuring adequate internal systems exist in key functional areas
  • Identifying new Council members who will bring professional expertise to IPM
  • Helping raise IPM’s profile in the wider business and public sector community
  • Promoting IPM among its membership
  • Setting the position description and performance plan for the Chief Executive
  • Evaluating the performance of the Chief Executive

The role of the Chief Executive (representing the IPM organisation) is about management, and management is about the “means”. The means include the following tasks: the day-to-day operation of IPM, the implementation of policy; the hiring, deployment , and termination of staff; the programme decisions; the maintenance of the internal culture; and all the details of running the organisation at both the national and local levels. The parameters within which the Chief Executive is to operate are set by the strategic decisions and planning documents set by National Council. Accountability is maintained through the Chief Executive’s regular reporting to National Council and the performance review.

So the main responsibilities for management through the Chief Executive are associated with directing and controlling the functioning of IPM to ensure its viability and to maximise its efficiency, and to provide leadership in its planning activities.

Governance or Management?

The governance and management roles can easily become mixed. The point is that if this happens it will either draw council away from its tasks and functions, or impede the operational ability of the staff. We have already experienced some prime examples of this in our organisation and unless we get a grip on things, this will continue.

Some useful questions that we as a Council should keep in mind when we are considering issues are:

  • Is it about “ends “ or “means”?
  • Is it about long term goals and directions, or is it about implementation?

  • What will be the impact on our objectives or our values as an Institute?

  • Will this effect the National Director’s role in day-to-day mangement?

  • Does this fit with agreed protocols:
    • for National Council operations?
    • for working with the National Director?
    • about contact with staff?

  • Is this an item for discussion or decison making?

The National Council and Management

The key to a positive relationship between the IPM member association (represented by its National Council) and the IPM organisation (represented by its employed and contracted staff) is in having both the following:

  • A clear understanding of the separate roles
  • Excellent communication

I do not believe that we have ever achieved this, and I suspect that many of the problems that we have had (and still have) with respect to the tension between National Council and Management boil down to our failure to achieve the above two factors.

While it is the duty of the National President and the National Director to provide leadership to the National Council and Management respectively, it is the duty of all members of National Council to ensure separate governance and management roles are maintained so that a successful partnership is achieved that will benefit IPM as a whole.


It is quite clear that issues relating to governance and management must be resolved before we make a permanent appointment of the National Director. I would welcome comments from members of National Council relating to the issues raised in this paper . Governance/ management problems are often contributory to many difficulties encountered in voluntary organisations such as ours. Our own history is pock-marked with these tensions, and we do need to address these as a matter of some priority.

Prepared by: Paul Toulson, MIPMNZ
National President
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