New Zealanders with an interest in human factors/ergonomics have been represented by ergonomics societies for over 50 years. We are proud of this milestone - it represents the development of a considerable depth of knowledge, and the steady provision of human factors/ergonomics skills to the people and businesses of New Zealand.
In 1966, the Ergonomics Society of Australia and New Zealand (ESANZ) was established. This followed on from the interest initially generated in 1964 when 90 people from Australia and New Zealand met in Adelaide at the first Australasian ergonomics conference.
During 1985, local interest in setting up an independent society developed to the point that, in February 1986, the New Zealand Ergonomics Society (NZES) was formed. This change occurred in consultation with ESANZ which has now changed its name to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia (HFESA). In 1991, the New Zealand Ergonomics Society became a federated member of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA). In 2012, the New Zealand Ergonomics Society changed their name to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of New Zealand to align with worldwide understanding of the sector.
Recognition of the increasing need for professionalism of HFE practitioners in New Zealand saw efforts begin in 1996 to establish a certification scheme. The Board for Certification of New Zealand Ergonomists (BCNZE) was created in 1997 and began assessing applications in 1998. It operated as a sub-committee of the then New Zealand Ergonomics Society, linked to, but independent of, the main society.
The certification criteria and administration procedures are modelled on the Centre for Registration of European Ergonomists (CREE) scheme. The New Zealand and Australian Ergonomics Societies in 1998 jointly developed core competencies for ergonomists and these are taken into consideration in the certification criteria. An important milestone for BCNZE was the successful 2006 accreditation of the scheme by the International Ergonomics Association. This saw us standing alongside the far larger schemes of the UK, USA, Europe, Japan and Australia, and acts as a model for how smaller countries may be able to operate a professional certification programme. Despite relatively small numbers of Certified and Associate members, in proportion to the total New Zealand population this has been comparable to larger, more established societies. HFESNZ remains abreast of current IEA developments regarding HFE certification programmes.
Whilst the BCNZE was first administered by a separate elected Board, the October 2015 HFESNZ Rules revision saw the ‘certification arm’ of the society integrate with the HFESNZ committee’s core duties. The previously separate registration system for certified and associate ergonomists is now part of the core membership structure, and a new 'technical' Professional Member category has been added. The three Professional Membership categories - Certified, Associate and Technical - require adherence to a Professional Code of Conduct. The remaining members -'those with an interest in ergonomics and human factors’ - are Student or General Members, with some General Members also recognised as being 'Life Members' as they were founding members of the society.
The Society publishes the monthly 'HFE-News' distributed to members via email. These are in the process of being stored in the membership database system for member access. Additional member news may also be sent out.
An arrangement with UK's CIEHF also allows HFESNZ members to purchase a subscription to receive the bi-monthly 'The Ergonomist' for more news from the profession. Contact the administrator to arrange this. It will cost around NZ$120 per annum for 6 publications full of great human factors and ergonomics news and information. These will be delivered direct to your door - or wherever your postie leaves it. Always a good read.
Conferences are held annually, with a 2 day HFESNZ conference (with proceedings) alternating with a one day event alongside the biennial Health and Safety Association of New Zealand (HASANZ) conference. The society supports HASANZ Conferences, with HFESNZ members showcasing a broad range of human factors/ergonomics content relevant to the health and safety sector. We look forward to the next HASANZ Conference.
The Society hosts webinars approximately two monthly. Members are advised of these via the newsletter and attend (online) after registering. These are free to members and attendance adds to your Professional Development portfolio. Even if you can't attend on the date of the Webinar, register online and you can view the recorded session at a time that suits.
Special interest groups and Regional meetings
The Society has a healthcare human factors/ergonomics special interest group - if you wish to join the Healthcare Ergonomics Cluster (HEC), contact the co-ordinator.
Other special interest groups are being considered for Transport and Musculoskeletal areas.
Regional meetings will be advised through the HFE-Newsletter. Members are encouraged to get in touch with the Administrator if they have an idea for a local society get-together.
Member’s contact information and areas of professional skill and interest are shared. Members may have specific training in human factors/ergonomics, and/or find their way to the field from a broad range of backgrounds - including: academia, architecture, engineering, industrial design, medicine, occupational health nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology, rehabilitation, work study, computer science, safety engineering, social research/science, and management – etc. We are brought together by our shared interest in human performance and the understanding of the many aspects of systems that impact on this. Regular meetings and webinars are designed to provide members with the opportunity to network. As a member-driven organisation we invite all members to participate in and support/create these professional events – contact the administrator if you wish to host or arrange a meeting in your area.
HFESNZ works to promote human factors/ergonomics to industry, policy makers, regulators, educators and research funders via a range of activities. Actively working with HASANZ allows a vehicle for raising professional standards and professional excellence within our own profession and the other disciplines within the health and safety sector. HASANZ provides a forum for the promotion of human factors/ergonomics across government and educational agencies.
HFESNZ has awarded three members the 'President's Award' (selected by an outgoing Society President) - these were to Carol Slappendel in 1991, for her 'outstanding contribution to the advancement of ergonomics in New Zealand'; to Len Ring in 2001 for his 'contribution to the advancement of ergonomics in New Zealand', and to Marion Edwin in 2009, for her 'outstanding contributions to the advancement of ergonomics in New Zealand between 1991 and 2009'.
From 2017 the HFESNZ committee will confer a 'Society Award' recognising those who have provided value and service to HFESNZ and to the practice of HFE in New Zealand.
In 2018 Society Awards were made to Craig Smith and Peter Bateman. (Members see HFE-News October 2018).
Student Conference Attendance Assistance Grants
For HFESNZ Conferences the committee may make funds available to support students to attend and present. This will be notified for each conference and applications invited.