RMBA annual conference — Game On in Taupo!

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A great couple of days were had by all at the Wairakei Resort in Taupo at the Registered Master Builders Association (RMBA) annual conference — themed “Game On”.

Opened by RMBA president David Fabish, delegates then welcomed the new Minister for Building and Construction Dr Nick Smith to his first RMBA conference in this portfolio.

The Minister talked about his vision for affordable housing which takes in a number of different solutions as well as explaining the reasons for his approach. His attendance at such short notice to address our membership was very much appreciated.

For the next session we were fortunate to fit into Sir John Kirwan’s busy rugby schedule and have him tell us about his journey to where he is today. It was a fascinating insight to a man who, like all celebrities, most people think they know — it’s fair to say that not very many of us did!

His honest and up front approach to the highs and lows of his life in the spotlight was refreshing, with a good balance on not dwelling on either. His ability to get a room full of builders up dancing and (dare we say it) hugging each other might have some folk yelling “awkward”, but it wasn’t — it was just good fun!

There were a number of workshops and business sessions throughout the two days of conference, including:

Using Solution Messages to Manage Stress, by Ross Gilmour: An excellent session on training yourself to convey the right messages when dealing with people from all walks of life to ensure you get what you want from them — including yourself!

Variations — Getting them Paid, by Raine Selles: Good practical advice on how to get payment when it’s due, something a lot of builders struggle with through the construction process.

Employing the Right People and Keeping them, by Dr Ian Brooks: This session turned customer service on its head and had delegates looking at the way they interact with their teams and giving them tools to ensure continuity of good staff.

Getting a Grip on Time, by Robyn Pearce: A session on the dos and don’ts of using technology to avoid clutter and pressure of daily work.

The Successful Builder, by Greg Joynt: Great advice on running a business, using topics such as goal setting and team building to drive success.

Another highlight of the programme was an address by Olympic Gold Medallist and Team New Zealand crew member Rob Waddell.

A multi-talented individual on and off the water, Rob took the delegates through his own personal radical transition from the single-mindedness of sculling to the overtly team-oriented America’s Cup environment (with a little bit of rugby in the middle just for good measure).

He explained the scary reality of being on board those multi-hulled monsters, and it’s fair to say most of us probably wouldn’t fare terribly well. We’re pretty sure attendees came away with a definite keenness for little old NZ to have another crack at the auld mug!

For something a little bit different, the formal sessions closed with an expert in European Architecture — James Millburn.

James regaled the delegates with the latest in construction techniques and trends on the other side of the world, some of which had delegates scratching their heads, looking sideways at each other and ultimately rolling around laughing.

Once the attendees realised what was going on — basically it was all make believe — they had a great time and took it all in their stride. It was great to end a full-on day of business sessions with a bit of a giggle.

As per usual, the social side of the RMBA conference was one to remember, kicking off with the ITM Welcome Function — A Night at the Races. With the many millions of dollars being thrown around on the gee-gees you could have been forgiven for forgetting about any global recessions for a while. With a best hat competition for the ladies and an auction to raise money for Taupo’s Greenlea Rescue Helicopter, a fun night was had by all.

The following night was the Carters Gala Dinner — A Winter Wonderland at the Great Lake Centre in Taupo.

Beautifully decked out like a winter landscape without the cold, attendees experienced great food, wine and a band that all came together for a fabulous conference finale.

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