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Family Law Conference - Te Hononga 2023

Family Law Conference - Te Hononga 2023
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From the chair

He mihi nui ki a koutou and welcome everyone to this year’s conference. The earthquakes put paid to the 2011 conference being held in Christchurch, so we are thrilled to be hosting in Ōtautahi for the first time in 18 years. The theme of this year’s conference is Hononga – Connection. It is aptly conveyed in the whakataukī: he hono tangata e kore e motu; ka pa he taura waka e motu: unlike a canoe rope, a human bond cannot be severed. This theme is about us connecting with each other after recent challenging and testing times with the pandemic, natural disasters, the ever-increasing demands of practice and the very real risks to our personal safety when carrying out our mahi. We hope at this year’s conference you will enjoy the absence of pandemic restrictions and well and truly connect with your colleagues from around the country, rekindling old friendships and making new ones. We hope the programme will stimulate, inspire and sustain you. Take time to enjoy our rebuilt city and we look forward to seeing you with your glitz and glam on for the conference dinner.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

Chair: Siobhan McNulty, Atticus Chambers, Christchurch

Programme outline

Pre-conference mihi whakatau and welcome drinks – Tuesday 31 October, 5.30pm – 7.00pm FLS logo

The Family Law Section | Ngā Rōia Ture Whānau is proud to sponsor this function to welcome you to Christchurch for the Family Law Conference. We warmly invite all delegates to come and join in the mihi whakatau at Te Pae Christchurch
Convention Centre, followed by drinks and canapes. This is a great chance to catch up with your colleagues from all around the country, meet new people, and get into the conference frame of mind. There will also Our Family Wizard logobe young musicians from Sole Music Academy, sponsored by Our Family Wizard. We look forward to seeing you there!

Pre-conference workshop: Tuesday 31 October – 1.00pm – 5.00pm
additional charge applies

Oranga Tamariki Act inspired legislation or something else? A practical workshop in navigating, advising, and advocating in the care and protection space in Aotearoa

Download the conference brochure for a full outline 

Many practitioners and those on the lawyer for child lists find Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 (OT Act) cases complex, time-consuming and at times confusing. This workshop will clarify your understanding and allow plenty of time to ask and discuss questions, and will include practical application in the form of case scenarios.

Topics covered will include:

  • The dynamics of the OT Act in the context of recent developments in policy and law
  • Understanding and advising on the care and protection process in New Zealand, both in and out of court
  • Advocating for stakeholders who are engaged in the care and protection space, whether as children, whānau or parents
  • Specific sections of the legislation and their implementation – ie frequently filed and considered applications, limitations and reviews
  • How the OT Act promotes culturally appropriate intervention(s) consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi
  • Dealing better with Oranga Tamariki, including social workers, supervisors, and family group conference (FGC) coordinators.
Workshop materials: You will receive some preparation documents by email in advance, and hard copy materials on the day.

Conference sessions Wednesday 1 & Thursday 2 November

Download the conference brochure for a full outline of each session

* Please note: only the most popular breakout sessions will be web streamed
Day 1
  • Keynote – Opening Address – Principal Family Court Judge Moran
  • Keynote – Through the Eyes of the Child: The impact of high conflict divorce on children – Dr Philip Stahl
  • Family Law Section Update
  • Breakout Session 1:*
    – A – Living as a Legal Fiction: Law reform and social justice for adoptees
    – B – Practical Advocacy - getting the best out of witnesses
    – C – The jurisdiction of the Family Court under the Trusts Act 2019
  • Managing and Identifying Risk
  • Breakout Session 2:*
    – A – Drug Testing: Detection and Interpretation of Drugs of Forensic Importance
    – B – Legal Aid Mission: Possible - a practical guide to making legal aid work for your clients and your career
    – C – Collaborative Law: How to engage your client and the other party in the collaborative process
  • A Perspective on Current Issues: Dean of Law – AUT Law School
Followed by pre-dinner drinks, conference dinner and dance
Day 2
  • Keynote – Kai Mua i te Kanohi Kitea, he Takata kē: Beyond the face that is seen, another person stands – Dr Hana O'Regan
  • Keynote – From Empathy to Exhaustion: Science-informed tools to prevention compassion fatigue in family law practice -– Dr Sarah Anticich
  • When in Doubt, Contract Out - section 44 of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 and Sutton v Bell
  • Progressing Relationship Property Claims: Time for a civil approach?
  • Breakout Session 3:*
    – A – PPPR Act Under Review: Decision-making and undue influence
    – B – Children who Refuse Relationships with One Parent after Separation: The most difficult family law cases with too few effective solutions
    – C – Farming, Relationship Property, and Succession Planning
  • Parental Mental Health Including Attachment and Parenting Capacity in the Context of Reports for the Family Court

Learning objectives

In this conference you will be:

  • Updated on the topical issues, legislation and case law.
  • Able to apply this knowledge in your practice.


Pre-Conference workshop Tuesday 31 October
  • 1.00pm – 5.00pm
Conference Day 1 Wednesday 1 November
  • 8.00am Registration
  • 8.30am Sessions begin
  • 4.30pm Sessions end
  • 6.30pm – 12.00am pre-dinner drinks, conference dinner and dance
Conference Day 2 Thursday 2 November
  • 9.00am Sessions begin
  • 4.30pm Sessions end 

Conference dinner and dance

Conf dinnerDinner is at Te Pae with the dress up theme glitz and glam! A great chance to relax, connect and celebrate. Wear your usual dinner outfit or go “full costume” – it’s over to you! The evening promises fun, frivolity and friends, with entertainment provided by the fabulous FUNK CITY band.

Wednesday 1 November, 7.00-11.30pm, Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre

Bring a guest

The conference registration fee includes your own attendance at the dinner. If you wish to bring a guest to the dinner the cost is $165 per person. Please register your guest/s below.


Accommodation is likely to be very busy in Christchurch at the time of the conference. We recommend you book early.

Conference book

Please indicate your selection upon registration:
  • Hard Copy – Your book will be given to you when you register on the day* – no extra charge 
  • PDF – You will be emailed a PDF copy of the book 3 working days before the event – no extra charge 
  • Both Hard Copy & PDF – You will be emailed a PDF copy of the book 3 working days before the event, and you can collect the hard copy book when you register on the day*  – additional $30 charge

*Live web stream attendees if you select hard copy or both your book will be couriered to you.

Pre-conference workshop materials: You will receive some preparation documents by email in advance, and hard copy materials on the day.

Fee (incl GST)

Pre-Conference Workshop – (in-person only)

  • $245

Conference in-person

Earlybird – by 4 October 2023
  • $1,380 – NZLS members and Associate members
  • $1,440 – Non-members

Registration – after 4 October 2023

  • $1,430 – NZLS members and Associate members
  • $1,490 – Non-members

Additional Dinner Guests

  • $165 per extra guest

Live Web Stream

Earlybird – by 4 October 2023
  • $1,320
  • 2+1 registrations - more info (must be arranged at time of booking)
Registration – after 4 October 2023
  • $1,370
  • 2+1 registrations - more info (must be arranged at time of booking)
Download PDF Brochure & registration form
Pre-conference workshop – Christchurch 31 October
Conference – Christchurch  1 – 2 November
Conference – Live Web Stream  1 – 2 November
I can't attend, but please let me know when the book is available to purchase.

Sponsored by

FLS logo

Cancellation and Refund Policy

You may cancel your registration eight working days in advance of an event, and you will receive a refund less a 25% administration fee. If you cancel less than eight working days in advance of the event, no refund is payable. If you are unable to attend, you may transfer your registration to another person. If you wish to do so you must advise CLE in writing of the change. NZLS CLE Ltd reserves the right to close registrations, and, cancel or reschedule an event as necessary. Where an event is cancelled by CLE, a full refund is payable.
freephone (within NZ)
0800 333 111

[email protected]

04 472 7837
Level 4, 17-21 Whitmore Street
Wellington 6011

DX SP 20202
PO Box 5041
Wellington 6140
New Zealand