National Emergency Management Conference

The 2018 National Emergency Management Conference hit Wellington again this past May. Held at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa over two days, this year’s conference was hosted in conjunction with the Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference.

The theme of the conference was ‘Partners for Resilience’ and aimed to look at how those in this space can better work together – through partnerships, co-creation approaches, and collective effort, across a broad range of organisations, sectors, and communities – to support improved outcomes for individuals and communities.

Bringing together a range of experienced and knowledgeable speakers including Holly Ransom, Mark Crosweller, Mark McCrindle, and Mei Chen, the 2018 conference focused on providing insight, advice and discussions around emergency management that many audience members found both relevant and engaging.

There were also a number of concurrent sessions that occured over the course of the two days including:

  • Partnering with the private sector
  • Partnering with rural communities
  • Partnering with those disproportionately affected by disasters
  • Partnering for science
  • Partnering with tangata whenua
  • Partnering with children and youth
  • Partnering with local government
  • Partnering with health services

The Joint Centre of Disaster Research was privileged this year to host the ‘Partnering for science’ concurrent session which explored how we can optimise our investment in science and ensure it is also transferred into policy and practice. While we are fortunate enough to have numerous scientific entities focussed on hazards, risk, and resilience, it is important to examine how well these entities (e.g. scientific organisations) are coordinating, collaborating and sharing information with each other. Additionally, are they providing knowledge and support to improve outcomes for communities?

Chaired by our very own director, David Johnston, the session included a wealth of knowledgeable speakers including Richard Thornton (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC), Caroline Orchiston (Centre of Sustainability, University of Otago), Kate Boersen (East Coast LAB), and Sam Ripley (Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office). In addition to David, the Centre was also represented on two additional sessions throughout the course of the conference by Denise Blake, Christine Kenney and Wendy Saunders.

At the end on day one, MCDEM hosted their annual conference Awards Dinner. This year’s venue was none than the Banquet Hall within the Beehive itself. The 2018 Ministerial and Directors awards are presented as a way of celebrating achievements across the emergency management sector and was a fantastic avenue for acknowledge the successes of colleagues from across the sector.

The conference itself proved to be a great success reaching capacity with 320 total attendees. Those within the organising team will be meeting up in the coming weeks to construct a debrief of the conference. They will explore both things that proved successful during the event and perhaps also some items to iron out in preparation for next year.