Solution Focus in Aotearoa/New Zealand

There had been some considerable interest in SF in NZ before 2011 (and this is not a comprehensive history, so feel free to contact me to add more), Judi Miller and Bob Manthei running a Masters course with an SF focus in Christchurch, Brent Gardiner running courses at Massey as well as making significant contributions to supervision and community groups, an SF group in Invercargill, and others in Napier and Christchurch. Nick Drury has been pivotal in the more cerebral discussions surrounding SF and has contributed much to supervision and client work, and many others who I may not be aware of. A little history about any movement is always of interest to some, and this is my humble contribution.

When I came to NZ in late 2011, I was aware of Judi, having emailed her when in UK. Within a couple of months of being here I had a few requests to carry out some training and was aware that there was already training happening regularly here from Michael Durrant. I have been training and supervising on request, SF in NZ since 2012, and for 18 years before that in UK.

Having been here a couple of years, and had a brief meeting with the Napier SF group, it seemed like a good time to find out more, so, in January 2014 I posted a call of interest to see if people would fancy a meet up, see below:

Paul Hanton (from Facebook Solution Focused in New Zealand page)

5 January 2014

Great to meet a couple of you over the holidays, got me wondering how many SF folk there are in NZ, I know a few in Christchurch, a couple in Hamilton and Auckland….maybe a NZ gathering, cheap, some workshops on a Saturday???

In June 2015 a bunch of us met up in Napier at Napier Boys’ High School; Wanda Douglas, Brent Gardiner, Rob Silver and myself, with Nick Drury on Skype, being ‘virtually’ in the room. We took the decision to be brave and run a one day, not for profit, low cost SF Practice conference in Napier in March of 2016. Rob Silver was the key person for Napier Boys School which hosted the event.

This day was a huge success and we resolved to have another conference in 2017, in Christchurch and the wonderful Cate Walton became our main contact and ‘doer’ there. I write this blog on the eve of a three and a half day set of events: SF 101 on the Tuesday PM, the conference proper on the Wednesday and then two days training from Elliott Connie on the Thursday and Friday. There is already talk of a similar event in 2018. We will remain, an independent, not for profit, practice based conference.

I want to be clear that there are Associations and other groups that are doing good things with SF, and I am proposing and driving something a little different. A loose collective of people living and working in NZ who practice SF in all it’s forms. There will be no subscription, no fees, no committee, just like minded folk in an ‘Aotearoa/New Zealand Collective of Solution Focused Practice – ACSFP’; see link below:

So, there you have it….lot’s of interest in SF here, if you want to be part of a loose collective that promotes the use of SF and learn from each other without cost……..who knows what the future brings; A website, a NZ Association, networking and training opportunities…or simply a place to talk 🙂


The 2nd conference has just finished in Christchurch, it was a blast. Elliott Connie was inspiring. We are already talking about a 2018 conference. In the meantime, NZ SF practitioners can join our collective for free, no fees, no committee’s just people who want to be SF: