So, how did it start?

Paul Hanton (from Facebook Solution Focused in New Zealand page), back on 5 January 2014:

“Great to meet a couple of you over the holidays, it got me wondering how many SF folk there are in NZ.  I know a few in Christchurch, a couple in Hamilton and Auckland …. maybe a NZ gathering, cheap, with some workshops on a Saturday???”

In June 2015 a bunch of us then met up in Napier at Napier Boys’ High School; Wanda Douglas, Brent Gardiner, Rob Silver and Paul Hanton, with Nick Drury ‘virtually’ in the room on Skype. We took the decision to be brave and run a one-day, not for profit, low-cost SF Practice conference in Napier in March of 2016.  Rob Silver was the key person for Napier Boys School which hosted the event.

This day was a huge success and we resolved to have another conference in 2017 in Christchurch; the wonderful Cate Walton became our main contact and ‘doer’ there. Another great success and this time a three and a half day set of events: SF 101 on the Tuesday afternoon, the conference proper on the Wednesday and then two days’ training delivered by Elliott Connie on the Thursday and Friday.

The 2018 conference again had international speakers, creating a definite SF buzz around the ‘Tron’ (Hamilton).  Paul Hanton was the main contact and doer for this event.  Frank Thomas and Kirsten Dierolf came for overseas as main presenters.  David Steare from England and Jody Merelle from Finland also supported us with much appreciated workshops.  With this event, like the previous two, home grown support for other workshops was essential.

2019 was back in Napier.  Another exciting three and a half days.  For personal reasons we were unable to host our original key-noter and were very grateful to have Elliott Connie back with us.  Again there were excellent workshops, with outstanding local and organising group support in leading these.  It was also great to have Judy Miller back from Canterbury University to lead a workshop.  Bob Manthei and Harry Averill joined us with very different but equally significant introductory presentations for conference.

2020 saw us in the capital city, Wellington. Chris Iveson and Paul Hanton were keynote speakers.  A huge success and a clear maturity from some home grown kiwi SF’ers coming through. Suzana Katarina Sagadin joined the organising group as our Wellington contact and organised fantastic food ata great venue, as well as presenting a thought-provoking workshop on the day.

Then came Covid – eek!  And since then, our best hopes have not come to fruition as we have been thwarted by a number of different factors which have unfortunately held us back from running a conference since.

This is some of the feedback we received from our 2020 Conference:
  • Apologies for having to miss the last day of the keynote speaker. He was excellent and I have since used some of the skills he shared with one of my tangata whai ora this week that produced good results for her. Thanks again for another splendid conference full of learnings.
  • Really appreciate the organising, welcome and collegiality right form the onset. Thank you very much.
  • I really could have given everything 10s. Was thoroughly impressed and learnt a lot. Thank you.
  • A big giant thanks to the planning committee!
  • Awesome work. Highlight of my year. Thanks to all of you. It ran smoothly and was enriching. Awesome!
  • Thanks again, an outstanding three days. Very much appreciated. Definitely the best value for money SFBT PD around.
  • Thanks a lot for organising this great conference!
  • Great work on the part of the organisers. Very cost effective. Well done. Thank you.
  • On arrival back home I commented to my husband that this was the best conference I have ever been to… and I have been to quite a few over the decades.
  • Always a wonderful time being part of an SF community! Looking forward to next year!