About the Rotary Forum

The Faultline forum. Aro villa, Wellington. Photo Robyn MooreThe forum topic is Organisational Effectiveness in Times of Seismic Risk – Lessons for Wellington.

The venue for this inaugural forum – Victoria University’s Rutherford House in Wellington.

On September 4, 2010 at 4:35 am, Canterbury was rocked by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, causing injury, but no fatalities. Damage to land and structures was widespread. At 12:51 pm on February 22, 2011, Christchurch city was struck by a more devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake, with 185 people losing their lives and more than 11,000 injured. 1200 buildings were destroyed, and thousands more suffered extensive damage. Aftershocks continue to rattle the region.

Lessons for Wellington from the Canterbury earthquakes

Scientists believe that a major event on the Wellington fault will recur perhaps every 750 years, with the most recent rupture 300 years ago. So maybe we’ve got a bit of time, maybe we haven’t. Let’s hope we do.  – Fran Wilde, GWRC Chair  

Would your business survive a major event? The Canterbury earthquake of 22nd February, 2011 and Japan’s tsunami in March of the same year, destroyed lives and seriously impacted livelihoods. While the main focus of the media is on stories at a personal level, there are also serious consequences at business and organisation level when these events occur. For organisations to survive major interruption to their activities, it is essential for business and community leaders to assess the key potential risks to their business, possible impacts, and options for ensuring that the organisation is sustainable.

On October 18, 2011 the Rotary Club of Wellington, in partnership with Victoria University of Wellington co-hosted a major one-day forum on the topic of Building Organisational Effectiveness and Resilience. 

Rotary Forum, Rutherford House, Victoria University 18 October 2011. Image Robyn Moore

Insightful speakers gathered from around the country for a highly engaging and thought-provoking forum. A host of ideas, analyses, up-to-date information and critical insights were presented. See the photo gallery.

Wellington Harbour - Boatsheds. Image Robyn MooreWe know that Wellington, New Zealand’s harbour-capital, is vulnerable to earthquake and tsunami. The good news is that there are steps we can take and policies we can develop to build resilience and effectiveness. There are valuable lessons to be learned – to reduce our vulnerability to an acceptable level that will enable us to minimise or prevent losses, to respond to events fast and effectively, to recover and renew with relative confidence.

Wellington has made positive changes to its buildings and landscape in the face of earlier seismic events over the past two centuries, with 1855 and 1942 key dates in Wellington’s post-colonial seismic history. In 2011, there is a growing sense that more definitive actions and policies are called for, particularly in light of Christchurch’s experiences. While there is no crystal ball that can pinpoint the timing of Wellington’s Big One, we are certain that a sizable earthquake is on the cards. It could be a hundred years away, it could be today.

Disasters throw up winners as well as losers. It is those organisations that have better planning and adaptive capacity balance that win out over their competitors.

 Dave Middleton 

With broad agreement that actions and policies for Wellington must be practical and affordable, October’s Rotary Forum offered up a room-full of experience to explore the possibilities around developing a more resilient Wellington region.

Words from a delegate – Submitted 20/12/2011

…this was one of the most important forums that I have attended. The speakers were excellent, passionate and knowledgeable. I would like to see the format repeated, simply so others could attend – it was truly that good. A learning and sometimes touching experience of what others in Christchurch had been through. I travelled through Christchurch yesterday for the first time in a few years and the devastation to people’s lives, homes, environments and work places was beyond words. Well done with the forum and I hope to have the benefit of attending more in the future. Well done to the organisers and the people who brought all of the speakers together, it was truly an experience. Thank you – Sue Hewitt

Ian Athfield on 'Rebuilding Our Future' Rotary forum 2011

On this site you can read what the speakers had to say and view their PowerPoint presentations, read the Forum Summary, and take part in ensuing conversations via the discussion forum.

The themes: Building resilience before the event; Restoring confidence and effectiveness immediately after; Leading people after the event; and Rebuilding our future – is an earthquake required?

The speakers – 17 experts and leaders: Dr Alan BollardAllan FreethDr Helen AndersonMargaret JeffriesDave MiddletonPeter Townsend,Jacki JohnsonSteve Brazier (not present on the day), Bill ButzbachGeoff BascandCharles WaldegraveRichard BallantyneProfessor Bruce GlavovicColin JamesIan AthfieldRoger Sutton and Fran Wilde. Click on a speaker’s name to view their presentation.

Forum host: Hewitt Humphrey – Radio New Zealand Broadcaster and President-elect, Rotary Club of Wellington.

Hear the Radio New Zealand news bulletin from 22 February, 2011.

Read the keynote: Alan Bollard, Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Rotary Forum Speeches – Remarks from our diverse speakers have been transcribed, analysed, and organised (in abridged form) into the four coherent themes of the forum – set out below.

Summary of Presentations – Themes 1, 2, 3, 4

A roundup of the combined presentations for each of the four forum themes: 

Theme 1: 

Building resilience before the event

Chair: Glen Hughes- Southern Regional Manager, OPUS International Consultants

Theme 2:

Restoring confidence and effectiveness immediately after an event

Chair: Donald Bell-Territorial Commander, Salvation Army

Theme 3:

Leading people after the event

Chair: Mayor Celia Wade-Brown – Mayor of Wellington City

Theme 4:

Rebuilding our future: Is an earthquake required?

Chair: Pat Walsh – Vice Chancellor, Victoria University of Wellington

 Summary of the Rotary Forum – by Fran Wilde:

Forum summary and lessons for Wellington

Fran Wilde    – Chair, Greater Wellington Regional Council

You’re warmly invited to join the Rotary Forum database to contribute your expertise, share ideas and to receive updates from us.

You can also stay in touch on our Facebook page and with LinkedIn.

Links of interest

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5 thoughts on “About the Rotary Forum

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