River 4

Fiery Lessons in Crisis Comms

  • 19/07/2017
  • 05:00 pm - 06:30 pm
  • Waimakariri Room, Ground Floor, Environment Canterbury, 200 Tuam Street, Christchurch,
  • RIVER CPD: 4.00
  • $20.00+GST (member), $40.00+GST (non member), $10.00+GST (student-member)
  • Save to Calendar

Online registrations have now closed. Please email PJ on membership@prinz.org.nz if you would still like to attend.

The Port Hills Fires of February-March 2017 was one of the most significant fire events in recent New Zealand history. The fire burned for 66 days, largely destroying an area of 1,645 hectares right on Christchurch’s back doorstep. Nine homes were destroyed, hundreds more evacuated, and one firefighter’s life was lost during the event.

The response saw significant communications resources mobilised across several different organisations. In this session, you’ll hear from two agencies with quite different perspectives on the incident – but facing very similar comms challenges, from crisis communication to media liaison to internal and stakeholder comms.

Anne Newman is the Communications Director for the Christchurch Adventure Park – a just-opened public facility which suffered massive damage in the fire. Stephen Hill led the comms team at Selwyn District Council, which coordinated the firefighting efforts under the Civil Defence umbrella.

Some of the challenges they will look at include:

  • Crisis planning … is it of any value?
  • Be flexible … disasters don’t go according to plan
  • Staying on top of a rapidly-moving event
  • Who’s in charge? The challenges of working with and across multiple agencies
  • Managing various stakeholders and what they each require
  • PR and politics
  • Where did that news crew come from? Dealing with media
  • Social media in a disaster … blessing or curse?
  • Setting up and scaling up for the long haul
  • After the crisis has ended

Tea/coffee and light refreshments will be provided and there will be time for questions and contributions from those attending. Please arrive from 5 pm for a 5:30 pm start.


Anne Newman - Ignite PR, Communications Director for Christchurch Adventure Park

Anne Newman has been in the industry for over 20 years, working both internationally and here in New Zealand. She has dealt with numerous crises including the Christchurch Earthquakes, Port Hills Fires, Kaikoura earthquakes, Gas explosions, Financial Crises and crises of a slightly different nature from her time at the Crusaders and Canterbury Rugby.

Stephen Hill - Business Relationship Manager, Selwyn District Council

Stephen Hill has worked in local government comms and PR for most of the past 20 years, and also held senior comms roles at Plunket, NZ Cricket, and Police. Disasters seem to have been following him around recently, including Pike River, the Canterbury earthquakes and the Port Hills fires.

Please note: Visitor parking is available off St Asaph Street.
Registered attendees will be pre-signed in and can collect a visitor name tag from reception on arrival.