Blog Archives

Archive for the ‘What Ken thinks’ Category

Winner! Outstanding Performance in Carbon Management

At HMA we tend to get around a bit. Given the large amount of work that we do throughout New Zealand and Australia, this is not surprising, but it comes at a cost. That cost being a lot of travel. While our commitment to sustainable growth is a principle that sits behind our company’s aim […]

How technology will disrupt behaviour change interventions

I spend a lot of my time thinking about the best way to help with behaviour change. Don’t get me wrong, I am one of those people trained in face-to-face group work which involves sitting with a collection of people to make sense of behaviour that is problematic to both them and others. Over the […]

Being careful how we see others

‘Me against my brother; my brother and I against my cousin; myself, my brother and my cousin against others’, so goes this old Arab Bedouin saying. It is however problematic and underpins sameness, rather than diversity. Now more than ever, we are seeing a hardening towards those who are different than ourselves, which in turn […]

17 years six months

I was looking at my LinkedIn profile and was surprised to discover that 17 years and six months was the length of time since Suzanne and I formed Hall McMaster and Associates Limited (HMA). Our vision has always been ‘Working with passion and integrity to bring out the best in people’. This emerged from our […]

17 year anniversary – a time of reflection

Over the past couple of weeks I have been getting a number of congratulations on LinkedIn acknowledging my work anniversary of leading the HMA team. It is amazing to think that 17 years ago I left the security of a salaried position in the Social Work Department at Canterbury University to pursue my passion of […]

Aviva and Pillars do our sector proud

Big heads up to Nicola and team at Aviva being named the region’s top charity in the medium-to-large category at the annual business awards in Christchurch last night. Aviva (formerly Christchurch Women’s Refuge) was the first Refuge in the city and have a proud tradition of supporting women and children since 1973. Latterly they have ventured […]

Thanks for doing what you do

I am often asked why I keep the pace on doing what I do. My response is: “It is all about you.”  What sits behind this for me are the following ideas: It is people like you who work in often challenging conditions with people who others have often given up on and written off. […]

Best practice for family violence intervention

Sit around with a group of family violence practitioners (not those perpetrating violence) and ask them to describe what best practice looks like and you will get a range of responses. Best practice is often from our own experience and therefore is inherently biased. I learnt this early on in my career when I worked […]

The things dads give us

My dad died on Boxing Day eight years ago. The day we buried him next to my mother, was the day I stopped smoking for good. Every Xmas I take time to remember and appreciate all of the gifts that this man, who struggled with bipolar disorder most of his life, gave his family. That is despite […]

Men and boys do have a place in violence prevention

“Engaging boys and men to prevent violence against women has been identified internationally as one of the top 20 ‘practice innovations’ in violence and injury prevention during the last 20 years. Violence prevention efforts among men and boys can make a difference. Done well, they can shift the attitudes that lead to physical and sexual violence, and […]

‘He just gets me’ – The layering of psychological abuse

“He makes me laugh. He makes me cry. He makes me feel beautiful. I love him like I have never loved anyone before. If he doesn’t get out do I just shrug my shoulders and say, ‘oh well’”. She later texted: “He’s the best kisser I’ve ever kissed” and he was “seriously the best – […]

What kills more women aged …

What kills more women aged 15 – 44 each year than malaria, HIV, cancer, accidents and war combined? You guessed it – violence. I was therefore incensed when I read an article in The Press Christchurch today (6th March) which described the opposition by the Holy See (Pope), Iran and Russia to the notion that religion, culture […]

Back to school – not quite

Next week will see me back in the classroom working alongside third year social work students at CPIT (Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology) exploring the issue of how social policy impacts upon our everyday choices. I am teaching this one course this semester. It’s been a while since I have been in a direct teaching […]

International Award for NZ Probation – well done

I picked up this story in the latest Corrections News. You will see our connection with it at the end. Late last year New Zealand Corrections received the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) Community Corrections Award for their Community Probation Change Programme. Chief Probation Officer Astrid Kalders, whose name appears on the award, was […]

A personal message from Ken

I wanted you, who have been our loyal supporters, to be aware of what has been happening at HMA over the past 18 months. Why? Because you are important to us and have an interest in what we do and how we do it. I know this from the feedback I receive from people who […]

Supporting cutting edge child protection – Practice First NSW

Practice First, is a new model for child protection service delivery in New South Wales. Since March 2012, the Practice First model has been operating in Bathurst-Mudgee Community Service’s Centres and the results so far have been positive: • Fewer children removed from their families • Caseworkers are spending significantly more time undertaking home visits […]

Way out West – reflections from WA

When you have the privilege of working with the same team of people over a period of several years, you see practice shifts and change in exciting ways.  This has been our experience in working for the past five years with Department of Corrective Services facilitation staff from throughout Western Australia.  Each time we come […]

Christchurch CBD – the destruction before the rebuild

1,300 buildings down in the CBD, 300 more to go. This is the story of the CBD in the garden city. As the photo (taken on Friday 7 September) attests, there is a lot of bare ground within the CBD (lots of empty spaces for carparking, although that will not be required for some time). […]

Show us the money

Many of you will be acutely aware of the frustrations that we have experienced over the past 18 months trying to settle with our insurers regarding Westpark Towers. Two things happened this week – we finally got agreement around the payout, and secondly the building is now gone. We find ourselves in the interesting position […]

Accountability based practice – What does it look like?

Last week I had the honour of being asked to present at the Violence Against Women Conference: An Inconvenient Reality, in Brisbane. I told the audience that we can be enormously proud of the success we have had in bringing men’s violence against women out from behind closed doors during the past 30 years. Significant […]

CarboNZero – our story

We have been members of the CarboNZero programme for the past five years. Last Thursday we were pleased to host Richard Gordon (Acting CEO Landcare), Landcare CarboNZero team, along with representative from other organisations who had signed up for the programme (fellow believers). I had to give a speech about our journey to carboNZero, what […]

What are we teaching our sons (and daughters) about being good men?

If I ask a group of men, “Where did you guys learn about how to act as an adult?”, they are likely to answer, “The family.”  They are absolutely correct. What the men don’t often appreciate is how grounded in these earlier experiences their beliefs about men, women, children are. Of course these gendered beliefs […]

Battered man syndrome cuts jail sentence

My eye caught an article by Victoria Robinson in the Sunday Star Times (17 June 2012) about Toa Tuau, 31, who was sentenced to five years and six months in prison for wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in October 2010. His victim was his dad who, from reading the article, had physically abused him, his […]

10 helpful qualities for rebuilding futures

I look out my window (from our temporary Ferrymead office) as a four story apartment block next door is demolished. My office actually looks onto the back of the building in the photo so I am within 10 metres of the remaining two towers. Don’t worry we have to move out when they do the […]

9 things a trusted friend won’t tell you

I have been thinking recently about a dear friend of mine who died a while back. It was the anniversary of his death recently and at this time of the year I take time to really appreciate the type of friend he was and how lucky I was to have him in my life. He […]

From Ken’s Desk April 2012

It is amazing that we are now at the end of the first quarter of 2012. Since we came back from the Christmas holidays and summer break our HMA training team has: delivered 102 days of in-room training taken 75 flights to destinations as far away as Singapore and Perth, from Auckland to Invercargill sponsored […]

Integrated Practice Framework – NZ Department of Corrections

Just under three years ago a consortium of HMA and Able Training began work on training design for the rollout of the integrated practice framework. This has been one of the biggest changes to practice for the New Zealand community probation service for 10 years. It brings to life is the core purpose of the […]

The six cornerstones of motivation

Last week HMA hosted the International Symposium on Motivational Interviewing: Beyond an Effect Size: Innovations in Thinking & Practice in Auckland, New Zealand. Besides being a rich opportunity to share contemporary practice around motivational interviewing, it was a timely reminder of the very essence of what motivation is. Without motivation we generally do not embark […]

Motivational interviewing – the tension points

Attending the International Symposium on Motivational Interviewing: Beyond an Effect Size: Innovations in Thinking & Practice, was such a stimulating experience that it got me thinking about where MI sits in relation to other approaches. Is MI an approach out there all by itself? Is MI the precursor to others things? Is there a right […]

Making the most of the time we have

Remember Robin Williams in the film ‘Dead Poets Society’. Robin Williams plays a teacher with a great thirst for life who encourages his student through the rallying cry “carpe diem” or “seize the day”.  He invites his students to question, find their own truths, and live as if each moment counts. I don’t know about […]

Can men who use abusive practices really change?

Don has been struggling with abusive behaviour all of his life. He was adopted at birth into a family who treated him badly.In this family he saw and experienced it all. His biological parent went onto to have other children. These they kept. You can imagine the narrative about his life that Don has carried. Rejection […]

5 reasons to mandate guys to DV programs

I worry about some of the debates that are occurring at the moment in the family violence arena. Unless we are very careful we can roll back  the hard earned gains that have been achieved over the last 30 years. I also deliberately use the word ‘guy’ because most of those referred to family violence […]

Western Australia always a wonderful experience

Recently we took our team back to Perth to support the program work undertaken by WA Department of Corrective Services. During this trip we were able to trial a number of new training packages to enhance practice. The ten days was a busy time working with a wide range of groups who both support and […]

From Ken’s desk September 2011

A friend to our work will be sorely missed    On July 24th 2011 Chief District Court Judge Russell Johnson died (aged 64 years) after a short illness. Judge Johnson was known for his commitment to the concept of therapeutic jurisprudence – the study of the effects of law and the legal system on the […]

From Ken’s desk July 2011

The challenges just keep on coming. Recently, Suzanne Hall and myself as directors of HMA, met with the other floor owners of Westpark Tower to discuss the fate of our lovely new offices. Built in 1986 (and as you can see from the photograph) it is a relatively modern building. The word at this stage […]

From Ken’s Desk December 2010

A week ago another tragedy hit the South Island of New Zealand. This is of course on top of the 7.1 earthquake that shook Christchurch on 4 September. I am referring to the Pike River coal mine explosion that was responsible for the death of 29 miners on the West Coast. Pike River is located […]

From Ken’s Desk November 2010

Whenever I meet people, and talk about the work that I do in designing intervention programmes and training people in programme delivery for those who offend, the question is, “What makes people stop?” The sub-text is, “Can they stop?”. The question is never straight forward, but there is a growing body of knowledge that if […]

Family Violence increasing in the aftermath of the earthquake

How people cope with stress in the face of adversity is one of the questions that has vexed human service workers over time. In the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake the rates of call-outs to the Police for family violence incidents rose by 53% (Christchurch Press, Sept 8, 2010: A3). If we accept that around […]

From Ken’s Desk August 2010

Imagine this. It is 4 April 2010 and you are having a party. As things happen someone at another party said that you had stolen a car (a mistaken belief) so a 17 year old bourbon-fuelled young man arrives with his mates to sort things out. You refuse to let him on to the property […]

Strength Based Batterer Intervention: A New Paradigm in Ending Family Violence

The field of family violence has always had people who hold strong positions in relation to the lens (frame) that they bring to understanding the issue. As a consequence this also frames intervention. Despite these differences all of us working in the area have the same fundamental purpose in mind: to protect people by stopping […]

Doing parole differently

When you are involved in a field of practice for as long as I have (nearly 30 years – I know I am showing my age), you have the advantage of seeing things come and go. New ideas are tried. Some work. Some don’t. What always sits behind new ideas is trying to get things […]

Thanks for the publicity

I generally keep away from commenting on issues in the media. I am more comfortable with behind the scenes work of creating effective interventions to intervene with family violence and general offending behaviour. However we need to thank Tony Veitch for bringing to the forefront of our awareness that family violence is not just something […]

Do boot camps work? Actually they don’t.

There is little doubt that youth crime is a costly problem for our society. I applaud the debate that is emerging to find workable solutions to what are complex issues. It is easy in the rhetoric of the debates (it is an election year after all) to make strong claims about getting tough on youth […]

We have come a long way

This year the big hand on my life clock moves to one of those auspicious times. I am not saying which one – you will have to guess for yourself. This has got me thinking about a number of issues related to our field of practice, the work we undertake, where we are and where […]