Civil Defence head, John Hamilton plus two Government Ministers braved Christchurch’s June winter cold to find out what volunteer groups learnt while helping out post the February earthquake. The Ministers were Civil Defence Minister, Hon Chris Tremain and Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Hon Jo Goodhew.
Christian World Service was well represented both as participants and with CWS board convenor, Graeme Nicholas serving as facilitator for the intense five hour session.
Speakers included both Ministers who both went “off message” enough to talk about their volunteering efforts after the February earthquake plus local speakers from churches, the Farmy Army and Student Volunteer Army.
After a short meal break volunteer representatives were put into four groups to feed back specific lessons, good and bad they had experienced in the post quake recovery efforts.
Themes for the group discussions focussed on:
CWS representative, Greg Jackson said that he had added comments from the NDRF experience that a future aid to effective NGO help would be if they were accorded more rapid recognition as “plug and play” entities able to tap into global networks of expertise.
The NDRF participants in the quake support process were a “hybrid” in that although volunteers were a component they also offered rigorous standards of professionalism and skill sets that were of high value to emergency response situations.
Both Ministers Tremain and Goodhew won “brownie points” on the night by both taking part in the groups and also actively seeking out people for individual feedback during the forum.
The results will find a variety of destinations including Government reports from the Ministers on the Christchurch quake experience and as a contributing stream to the rewrite of Civil Defence procedures and protocols CDEM Director John Hamilton is conducting.