As part of Ergoweb’s continued commitment to showcasing ergonomics efforts around the world, we have begun a news
series called ‘Spotlight On!’ This series will focus on
ergonomics in a particular area such as a national
ergonomics society, or university research and design.
New Zealand is a small country, similar in size to Japan or the UK, but with only a fraction of their population, at almost 4 million people. There are two main islands, one very mountainous, the other very volcanic. The economy is based around the export of agricultural, horticultural and forest products and the influx of tourists. New Zealand sits at the bottom of the Pacific, a 3 hour flight from its nearest neighbour Australia.
New Zealanders who are interested in ergonomics have been represented by ergonomics societies for more than 25 years. In 1966, the joint Ergonomics Society of Australia and New Zealand (ESANZ) was established. During 1985, domestic interest in setting up an independent society developed to the point that, in February 1986, the New Zealand Ergonomics Society (NZES) was formed. In 1991, the New Zealand Ergonomics Society became a federated member of the IEA.
General membership of the Society is open to anyone who has an interest in ergonomics and further the objects of the Society. There are three general membership categories:
- Student Member (currently enrolled in a full-time educational programme).
- Library Member.
The Board for the Certification of New Zealand Ergonomists (BCNZE) was established in 1997 and functions as an independent subcommittee of the NZES assessing and certifying professional practitioners of ergonomics. This certification scheme closely resembles the Centre for Registration of European Ergonomists (CREE) scheme, on which the certification criteria and administration procedures are based. There are 12 Certified New Zealand Ergonomists at present, all of whom are also members of the NZES.
The NZES is administered by an elected committee of eight people. The BCNZE is administered by an elected Board of three people. Newsletter editor and other miscellaneous posts (e.g. IEA rep.) are committee appointments. All posts are unpaid.
The main ergonomics issues for New Zealand remain:
- Incorporation of ergonomics principles in the development of relevant legislation, government publications, and national standards.
- Educating and informing decision makers in industry of the merits of ergonomics
- Providing members with a clear framework for learning about ergonomics (relevant to their respective professions) and how they might apply what they learn.
The NZES holds conferences every eighteen months, organised through the voluntary assistance of NZES members. The 10th Society conference was also held in Rotorua in July 2001, and the next conference is taking place in Wellington on November 14th & 15th 2002. Brian Peacock and Lynne McAtamney are attending as keynote speakers. NZ now enjoys a reputation for high quality, low cost ergonomics conferences in attractive settings.
The general aims of the Society for the forthcoming year are to continue providing good service to members through: further development of the NZES website, providing informative regular newsletters, applying for IEA accreditation of the BCNZE certification scheme, and organising the conference in Wellington.
The NZES committee has informal contact with allied Societies in NZ (occupational health and management societies) and some overseas ergonomics societies (ESA, and through the IEA representatives attendance of IEA council meetings). There are also numerous personal contacts between NZES members and overseas ergonomists. These continue to increase through such forums as studying overseas, peer reviewing, teaching exchanges, and attending/presenting at overseas conferences.
More information on the NZES and the current committee can be found on the website: http://www.ergonomics.org.nz.