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Crane Association of New Zealand 2019 Conference overview

More than 200 delegates attended one of the Crane Association of New Zealand's most successful annual conference to date. Cranes and Lifting was there to catch the highlights.

More than 200 delegates attended one of the Crane Association of New Zealand’s most successful annual conference to date. Cranes and Lifting was there to catch the highlights.

Held at the Marlborough Convention Centre in Blenheim, it was the perfect location to celebrate the productive commitment of the industry.

People throughout the country, including delegates from Australia and as far away as Japan, descended on the Crane Association of New Zealand Conference – titled Keeping the Balance – from July 17-19.

Welcoming attendees in an evening reception were The Originals, the companies who first joined the Association in 1975.

And for new Crane Association of New Zealand Chief Executive, Sally Dunbar, it was a celebration of collaboration – as well as an opportunity to continue her understanding of one of the country’s principal industries.

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“This conference was one about networking and connecting, as such, the conference prided itself on the opportunity for delegates to come together in the one place, to meet new members and catch up with old ones.

“This industry wouldn’t be what is today without its continued partnership and participation from a range of stakeholders.

“So, for attendees to continue that relationship, not only with sponsors but wider business partners, other associations and our counterparts across the Tasman – Crane Industry Council of Australia – was hugely beneficial.”

This was evident by the number of exhibitors (24), Sally says, ranging from suppliers of crane machinery, and design engineering and training, to certification and associated crane supporters.

“We had so many people and businesses enquiring about hosting a booth that it speaks volumes – we could have had 50.  Next year the venue will accommodate anyone who wishes to be part of the Crane Association of New Zealand Conference,” she says.

Titan Equipment, Terex and Kato were voted Best Booth by conference attendees, while Marinetec Engineering & Construction Ltd Managing Director, Dwayne Pool, was awarded Exhibition Passport.

While Sally says attendees were impressed by the exhibitors’ calibre, they were “absolutely blown away” by the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre – which hosted the Gala Awards Night Dinner.

“The Heritage Centre was just so impressive with its collection of planes and its cinematography-like experiences. One of these highlights was the Dangerous Skies presentation, utilising CGI to immerse us in one of the most brutal battels of World War II – The Battle of Stalingrad.”

The award’s venue aside, Sally says the calibre of conference speakers were impressive, too.

Hosted by Master of Ceremonies, Greg Ward, attendees took particular pleasure in hearing keynote speaker, Mike Allsop.

An airline pilot, Everest mountaineer, adventurer and extreme marathon competitor, he spoke to the power of goal setting, emphasising that anybody can accomplish extraordinary things.

Other standout speakers included Civil Contractors New Zealand Chief Executive, Peter Silcock, who is renowned for his knowledge and experience in managing membership organisations, government advocacy, strategic planning and building strong partnerships.

Construction Health & Safety New Zealand General Manager, Jon Harper-Slade, and Heavy Haulage Association Chief Executive, Jonathan Bhana-Thomson, also had listeners enthralled.

“Their passion for their respected organisations shone through in their presentations.  But to be honest, every speaker spoke well and were passionate about the industry,” Sally says.

However, she says the three-day event wouldn’t have been possible without the sponsors, with special thanks to the Association’s top three – Perception Group/NZ Print, Skills, and (UANZ) Underwriting Agencies of NZ PTY Ltd.

“We’d also like to thank UDC Finance who have been with the Association from the start – they’ve been our longest servicing sponsor and business partner.  Thanks to them for their continued loyalty and ongoing support.”

Premiere sponsors were CablePrice and HSC Cranes.

With so much going on, attendees were especially looking forward to the Gala Awards Night Dinner. The Awards were presented by the Association President, Tony Gibson. The winners were:

Crane Trainee of the Year – Joshua McDougall of Ian Roebuck Crane Hire Ltd;

Crane Trainer of the Year – Allan Collins (Digital Training and Assessment Ltd);

PTE Trainer of the Year – Maurice Davis of Safety’n Action;

Training Company of the Year – Major Oak Safety Training Ltd;

UDC Project and Lift of the Year – Project of the Year was Titans Cranes Ltd; Lift of the Year was Titan Cranes Ltd;

Weighload Trophy – Scott McLeod of McLeod Cranes;

Life Membership – Grant Moffat (HEB Construction).

While there were no applicants for Lift of the Year, judges Tom Curran and Ron Brown, ONZM, deemed a lift installing curved segments using two cranes a world-first.

“Titans were told that this techspan precast concrete arch structure is the first arched concrete structure built in New Zealand in the last 13 years, and is the first time in the world that two cranes have been used to install curved segments,” the judges noted.

“This saved the client approximately $100,000 in earth works due to the fact that a stream would have to be diverted to install them in a conventional manner.”

For all the success of this year’s conference, one stands out for Dunbar.

During the Annual General Meeting, she submitted a remit to attract individual members to build diversity and inclusiveness within the Association.

“We’re now a more inclusive Association – so no matter who you are, there is a place here in the Association for you,” said Dunbar.

Additionally, the Election of Council saw Tony Gibson re-elected as President; Jan Coton confirmed as Vice President; and Immediate Past President continues to be Scott McLeod.

Councillors: Paul Berriman (Fletcher Construction Ltd); Stephen Broomfield (Ancon Building Products); Grant Moffat (HEB Construction); Karl Leonard-Rogers (Allcrane Sales and Services Ltd); Kirsten Davidson (Titan Construction Equipment Ltd) – Associate Representative; Tom Curran (Liebherr) – Associate Representative; and Carl Rankin (Skills) – ITO Representative.

Outgoing Crane Association of New Zealand Chief Executive, Rod Auton, who stepped down on July 26, says he isn’t worried about the Association’s future.

With Dunbar at the helm, he says the Association will be in capable hands as it looks to cement itself as a leader within New Zealand’s wider industries.

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