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Creating the Social Organisation - Kiwi Conference highlights critical relationships during crisis management

May 22, 2012

 

After a year coping with disasters and emergencies, New Zealand practitioners were challenged with reshaping communities at the ‘Our Space, Our Place’ conference in Auckland during May.

 

Over 12 months, practitioners have dealt with several major earthquakes and the resulting loss of life, intense community recovery efforts as well as other disasters such as the Rena grounding, making crisis communication a daily activity for many.

 

Communicators from the Canterbury region, Christchurch City and the Bay of Plenty shared their insights and experiences into disaster and emergency communications, with the overwhelming message being build your critical relationships ‘during peace time’.

 

Thanks to good relationships and clear communication channels created before emergencies occurred, practitioners were able to respond quickly to the many other challenges - some completely unpredictable - faced during disaster. Good relationship building should span all stakeholder groups, said presenters, not just focus on one or two, and practitioners must understand all the channels available with social media a boon in emergency situations.

 

Moving forward, delegates were challenged by Professor Jim Macnamara, global expert on public relations measurement and evaluation, to do their utmost to create the ‘listening organisation’, which should, in time, evolve into the social organisation of the future.

 

The two-day conference concluded with the Annual PRINZ Awards. The Supreme Award saw joint winners this year, Alexandra Speedy & Bill Rundle, from Porter Novelli and Daniel O’Regan of Convergence with Louis Brown of Social Innovation for the Student Volunteer Army. 

Global Alliance Secretary, Catherine Arrow, received the President’s Award for contribution to the profession.