2020 is a year that will be forever etched into our collective consciousness. And I, like everyone else, hope that for New Zealand the worst may be coming to an end.
With several promising vaccines on the near horizon, there is fresh hope and optimism for the New Year. And after the year that has been, I sense a real change in the air, as we prepare for Christmas and a new beginning in 2021.
Many of our friends and families overseas have experienced tragic loss, and even here at home, the impact of lockdowns and social isolation have had on people will probably leave a lasting emotional legacy, that may take a long time to pass.
But, as I reflect on a year which no-one could have planned for, I take some real comfort from the resilience we have all shown in the face of adversity.
It has been overused - but the 'team' all came together in a way which I've not seen in my lifetime, and I do sincerely hope that as we face the inevitable challenges that still remain, we all remember what's got us through this. Community, family & friends.
That's especially important at this time of year - as we enjoy the freedoms in our little slice of paradise that many around the world can only dream of - and watch in envy. So, as we prepare for the festive season, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and an absolutely spectacular New Year. I know many of us are looking forward to the reset that this time of year usually brings.
Navigating the pandemic As President of the Property Institute of New Zealand I want to thank all of you who participated, supported, and got involved this year. Without our grassroots members and all of our devoted volunteers, this organisation could not survive. I particularly want to pay tribute to our Board & Council members, who have stepped up in times of crisis, and offered hundreds upon hundreds of hours of experience and thoughtfully wrestled with some very tough decisions.
There are times this year when it was incredibly hard to predict what was to happen next, but I am immensely proud of the way the Institute has responded and adapted to changing circumstances. A special thank-you to the National Support Team under the leadership of the Chief Executive Officer Viv Gurrey. Viv has been in the job a little more than a year, so the 'new normal' must look a lot like 'normal' to her. But, thanks to Viv and the team's relentless focus on delivery, the quality of service has kept improving.
I know from the personal feedback I have received from many members, there is strong support for the direction we are taking, and the professional execution of that strategy. The current environment has not held us back - rather, it has further focused our attention on the role PINZ plays in the life of a professional property expert.
Tech-savvy members One of the most significant changes PINZ has faced this year has been its quick adoption of new technology to keep us up-to-date. The Institute made a choice to deliver public interest content free, and act as a conduit for better member access to experts.
We've all become more familiar with digital formats, and the engagement statistics are showing that our modern membership is increasingly embracing the flexibility that online learning offers. The Property Institute has experienced exponential growth and engagement through its online activity this year as the graph here shows.
The uncertainty also meant most of our AGMs this year have been online - but they attracted big audiences and positive feedback. Behind the scenes we were also keen to make sure our Life Members like David Keys and Fellowship recipients received the recognition they deserve. We managed a balance of both - recently recognising David Keys in Auckland.
These kinds of activities in the current climate take hours of planning. That has been a hallmark of this year, as we now pivot to the future and chart our new course.
Charting a new course I have already thanked the Board for their immense contribution in 2020. But I particularly want to thank outgoing members Patrick O'Reilly (Immediate Past-President) and Roger Gordon (NZIV Immediate Past-President). The commitment and loyalty they have demonstrated over the years to both organisations is phenomenal.
I also wish to welcome some new colleagues who I know have a real drive to help make our organisation stronger.
Congratulations Adam Binns for his recent appointment to the PINZ Board as the NZIV's second representative, and I welcome Ben Gill, recently elected Vice-President of the PINZ Board.
As we turn the page on 2020, the plan for 2021 is already well-advanced. In these times of uncertainty, it's more important than ever for us to focus on high ethical and professional standards. They are our safe harbour in stormy seas. In November, the Board got together for a comprehensive session to examine our organisation and strategise our focus for 2021 and 2022. Some of you may remember contributing to our survey. More than 300 of you did. That session helped galvanise our thinking for the future and I look forward to advancing some of those ideas early next year as you join us on the journey
In the meantime, stay safe, stay well and stay strong.