President's Update 7/7/2020

By NZISM Secretary


Kia ora koutou members and supporters of NZISM. Over the last 6 weeks or so the NZISM branch network has held its AGMs where we have had some long-standing branch managers step down from their role and new faces take the opportunity to be involved in a leadership role within our great organisation. As many of you will know, in September this year I too will be stepping down from the role of President, a role I have held for 4 years, and passing the role onto someone else. For those unable to attend these recent AGMs the following are some of my reflections about key developments of NZISM since 2016. I want to comment on three broad areas of our structure and systems, membership and stakeholders, and education.

By way of an introduction, when I wrote my first blog in September 2016 I referenced a quote from a membership organisation similar to ours and indicated I would like to be able to say similar things about NZISM at the end of my time in this role. The quote was, “I am excited about the institute now. It’s offering a tremendous service, a tremendous product, a tremendous pathway and wonderful resources to members.” If I reflect on where the organisation was in 2016, I can certainly agree that this is how I feel about NZISM four years later. Maybe there is a bit more to do around creating a pathway for members but I know the wheels are in motion for that pathway to be enhanced.

Structure and systems

There has been significant development in the area of structure and systems which have resulted in a robust framework to direct all of our activities. Probably the most debated issue we have dealt with in the last four years was the centralisation of our accounts. After a focus group of volunteer members developed the proposal on how this centralisation would work, this change was unanimously accepted by members at the 2017 AGM. It remains our intent to fund the organisation in a way that enables the best of member benefits. Events such as the annual roadshow which has featured presenters from the Art of Work in 2017; Chris Peace presenting on Risk to all branches in 2018 (some of which had multiple sessions); the Todd Conklin event in 2019; and this year’s masterclass by Nippin Anand simply would not have happened under our previous structure.

Our strategy and associated business plans have developed over the last four years and I am really supportive of the strategic direction we have set for the future. Under the headings of: demonstrating leadership; known as trusted and influential; delivering an exceptional member experience; ensuring organisational sustainability; and delivering professional capability, we are really aiming to lead the way for the health and safety profession as we head into this new decade.

The introduction of a CEO role to the organisation was a massive achievement which we announced in May 2017 and in August of that year, Selena was appointed to the role. This has been one of the most significant developments for the organisation. I can tell without any doubt had we not taken this step the organisation would look very different today. I want to take this time to acknowledge and thank Selena and her team, both past and current, for the huge effort they have all put in over the last few years to get the systems and structures in place that we see today. The work that goes on in the background is significant.

Along with the CEO role, at the end of 2019 we saw the development of the senior leadership team with the introduction of roles responsible for Risk and Assurance; Government and Stakeholders; Tertiary Education and two roles acting as branch representatives on the senior leadership team (SLT). We also saw change with the advisory board forming into a full Governance Board and the President role having a seat at that table as the member representative. Both of these changes, along with appointment of the CEO, reflect the significant transformations the organisation has had to deal with as it became larger and needed more infrastructure to support it. Finally, during my time we have seen new branches set up in Whangarei, Southland and Rotorua.

Membership and stakeholders

In 2017 we saw the launch of the HASANZ register which was a milestone achievement for the wider industry and a key deliverable from the taskforce report. One thing to come out of HASANZ is the wider visibility and appreciation of the other professions that operate in the Health and Safety sector; there is still much to do to create a system where all groups are understood by others in terms of the services they offer. NZISM is really passionate about the wheel and spoke medical model where the general practitioner is the first port of call for business needing health and safety guidance. In doing this we, the health and safety generalist, need to understand the extent of our own knowledge and have the ethical fortitude to refer business on to a specialist when the work needed is beyond our own professional capabilities.

It’s been awesome to have reinitiated our involvement with INSHPO after we dropped out of that group of stakeholders for a short period. Probably one of my proudest moments was to represent NZISM and in fact New Zealand on the world stage when the Singapore Accord was launched at the World Congress for Health and Safety in 2017. Our ongoing involvement with INSHPO and the increased visibility of the framework through organisations such as Victoria University and the Government Health and Safety Lead is fantastic for the industry in NZ.

Worksafe is obviously an important stakeholder and through our new Government & Stakeholder Lead role we aim to ensure this relationship remains strong and productive. I also want to mention Safeguard and specifically the Workplace Health and Safety Awards which provide another real privilege for me in presenting the Health and Safety Practitioner of the Year Award to a deserving recipient who has been nominated by their peers and employer for the fantastic work they have done.

Our support of the WISE and ESL Networks has been a great development in the way we interact with the wider industry. Both networks are becoming more and more active in their webinar programme and social media presence which is great to see. We are also looking forward to our continued involvement and support of Te Rōpu Marutau o Aotearoa (the Maori Health and Safety Association). You will recently have seen that we hit the 2000-member mark, this is a fabulous achievement. I recall when I first joined NZISM in about 2001, our membership was around 300 and when I took over the Presidency in 2016 it was approximately 1300 so the growth over years has been significant.


Briefly, in terms of our contribution to tertiary education, I highlight the influence we have had in the development of the educational pathways in New Zealand, including our contribution to the creation of the Graduate Diploma in Professional Practice out of Otago Polytech, delivered through Capable NZ. I know many members have been through this product over the last 3 years or so and found it extremely beneficial. And the creation of the Victoria University Post Graduate suite of products, the first University Qualification in NZ which is directly aligned to the INSHPO Framework. It’s also great to see NZISM members being part of the teaching group at Victoria with Chris Peace and Andy White joining Dr Joanne Crawford to deliver the programme.

Finally I want to mention member contributions and specifically the many members who give their time freely to the various groups set up within the organisation, from the SLT to branch managers and their committees and the subject specific committees such as Accreditation, Mentoring and CPD to the Peer Support Group, HASANZ register committee and to the individuals that represent us on various forums such as Standards NZ. We simply can’t operate without you.

E hara taku toa i te toa takitahi, he toa takitini
(My strength is not as an individual but as a collective)

Ngā mihi mahana

Greg Dearsly
If you wish to contact me, please do so by email at