Tēnā koutou NZRA community and colleagues,
Last month we made the difficult but inevitable decision to cancel our conference “Achieving Equity in Rehabilitation”, to be held in Rotorua on 1-3 April 2022. This decision was, of course, made in response to the rapidly changing situation in Aotearoa New Zealand arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since last month we have been gathering information to guide a decision about what steps to take next with this conference. Options we considered have included:
• rescheduling the conference for a second time;
• holding the conference as a virtual rather than in-person event; and
• cancellation of the conference altogether.
This week we have decided that the best course of action for the NZRA is to cancel this conference. We will, in the future, explore new options for our community to engage, connect, share ideas and learn about the latest thinking and advances in rehabilitation.
Financial considerations have been a major part of our decision making. The NZRA Executive has been faced with a situation where all possible options for this conference result in the organisation losing considerable money. This is because each time we reschedule an event, the overall cost of the conference continues to go up. Online conferences are, in fact, more expensive than in-person events because of the staffing and technology costs required to support such activities. An online event also would not have suited the kaupapa of our intended meeting. Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic impacted registration numbers and sponsorship. In cancelling our 2021/2022 conference, we will be minimising the financial loss to NZRA.
Another part of our decision making has been around the types of events that best suit the current world we live and work in. Like many of you, we had been very excited about the direction and content of the conference we had organised. This conference would have provided an important forum for our rehabilitation community to engage in conversations and action about contemporary, pressing issues. We wish to maintain the momentum for this discussion. Cancelling this large, complex event gives us the opportunity to utilise other ways to connect the rehabilitation community to explore and learn from these ideas.
As a result of the decision to permanently cancel the 2021/2022 conference, we will be reimbursing all conference registration fees, minus a $150+GST administration fee as per the registration terms and conditions: ‘If, for reasons beyond the control of the organisers or for reasons of delegate health and safety, the conference is cancelled, then the registration fee will be refunded after deduction of expenses already incurred’. This administration fee covers a part of the costs that the NZRA has already incurred in establishing and running this conference to date. We appreciate that some people may be in a position where a full refund of the whole amount is needed. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if this is the case for you. We do not want anyone to experience hardship as a result of this cancellation.
Finally, I wish to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all the keynote speakers, invited speakers, and all the people who submitted abstracts to present at this conference. The range of presentations on our programme spoke of a highly diverse, creative, and committed rehabilitation community. I hope to engage with you all again very soon. Also, a very big thank you to Rachelle Martin and Felicity Bright and the Conference Planning Committee (Tim Young, Leanne Parker, Sarah Lillas, Dawn Adair, Poornima Viswanathan) who did an amazing job of curating this conference, and who continued to work so hard to try to keep it afloat during two years of a global pandemic. Ngā mihi e hoa. Kāore i tua atu i a koutou!
Nāku iti noa, nā