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Message from the Chair 2020

Winter Edition

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”The best laid plans………………”

The last few months remind me of a work by the great Scottish poet Robert Burns, called “To a Mouse”. Although written in 1785 this poem seems as relevant today as ever. Burns reflects on the broken social union between humans and “other earth born fellow mortals”, on wealth inequality and, perhaps the most recognisable part, how the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.

Family Business New Zealand’s very well laid plans for 2020 certainly went awry in March, as they will have done so for everyone. Burns’ poem talks about the fear of not being able to see and predict the future as a consequence of a sudden interruption to plans and I think that’s probably an accurate description of what many businesses, families and individuals are experiencing right now.

Burns also reflects on how adaptability is key to survival and that will come as no surprise to those of you who are having to find new ways to work and live.

I want to thank all our members for your patience and understanding as Family Business New Zealand has had to cancel and reschedule our planned events this year. I know many of you were looking forward to our governance course, networking events, June Insights Conference and of course seeing Seth Godin.

FBNZ's Country Manager Nicole, with support from Family Business Australia, has worked tirelessly to keep members informed and find new ways to provide value to you. Our first Forum Group is ready to go live in October, online seminars were arranged (I hope you have signed up for the most recent one with Michelle King, Director of Inclusion at Netflix ) and we have a new schedule of great events planned for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.

Family businesses will have a big influence on how New Zealand is to prosper in the years to come. Adaptability, flexibility and long-term planning are hallmarks of successful family businesses and will be key to New Zealand’s future success.

Covid-19 and government responses to it, have created intergenerational issues we wouldn’t have imagined 12 months ago.

Now more than ever we need to be engaging with and learning from each other. I encourage you to come along to our events over the next few months and make the most of the opportunities the Family Business New Zealand team have arranged for you.


My very best wishes to you all.
Iain Blakeley

Chairman, Family Business New Zealand

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