Views and Visions: Posts from our People

Laurie Hammond
Independent Chairman
Sep
11

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AFAC14 Research Day - Dr Laurie Hammond
AFAC14 Research Day - Dr Laurie Hammond

It's all about the people

[An edited transcript from the opening session of the AFAC14 annual conference in Wellington, NZ, 2 September 2014]

He aha te mea nui o te ao?

He tangata. He tangata. He tangata.

What is the most important thing in the world?

It is people. It is people. It is people.

The emergency services management is a people business and delivering what is required of our role and our obligations depends on the quality of our people. 

Historically, the guarantee of the quality of our planners and our frontline people was given by the rigour of their training.

We have always developed deeply committed and highly competent people.  But the measure of the quality of our people and our organisations increasingly has another dimension; the quality of the information, the knowledge, the technology and the solutions to which they have access to. This supports planning and operational decision making.

Therefore, the logic of having this conference as a joint event with AFAC and the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is obvious. Our interdependence is now somewhat preordained.

This is the first conference for the new Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC. We take on the tradition built up by the Bushfire CRC over 10 years of bringing research to the fore and making it accessible to our broader industry. The fire and all hazards focus of this CRC is well suited to the everyday issues faced by the host country New Zealand, and indeed to all our partners. This is reflected in the conference program with a balance of attention given to fire and a range of natural hazards.

Research is evident over the whole week in Wellington. The Research Forum, yesterday was an outstanding success before it even began – selling out a month in advance with almost 400 registrations.

Research, science, new knowledge – this is now at the core of our sector. And utilisation of this research is imperative to what we do: delivering real outcomes for our end users and the industry. 

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC has spent its first year bedding down its research program of around 40 separate projects grouped around 12 major clusters. Each project has a group of cross-disciplinary researchers teamed with a group of end user agency staff to ensure that the research is on track and able to deliver real outcomes.

Interest in the CRC has been high from all states and New Zealand, and from many related industries including insurance, local government and health.

With the new science and the all hazards focus at the CRC comes new faces – around 80 new researchers and postgraduate students; many who have had little or no involvement with the organisations in this sector. Please take the opportunity to get to know them.  Listen to their talks. Read their posters. Catch up with them over coffee.

In developing this new program at the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC we have been conscious that the quality of our research team is as significant to our delivery as any other factor. Clearly, there is no benefit in delivering less than the best possible research. We have assiduously sought out world class people and designed world class research programs.

So, as I said:

He tangata. He tangata. He tangata.

It is people. It is people. It is people.

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