“Those that have used the service have shared that it’s been helpful, and have often returned for other coaching or recommended us to their colleagues—it’s very gratifying and a real mark of success for the team.”

EARS—Te Rauawa offers confidential, independent advice for workplace issues in the University, putting problems in perspective and giving you tools to resolve conflict. Christina
says its spirit can be expressed in this whakataukī (proverb), in keeping with the core te ao Māori principle of kaitiakitanga (protection).

“He moana pukepuke ka ekengia e te waka—a rough sea can be navigated.”

Christina says that throughout our careers, at some point, we are likely to face all kinds of issues and misunderstandings with colleagues, or find ourselves in environments that have become tense or uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. She wants people to know they’re not alone in facing these challenges.

“In these situations, people might not know how to approach their colleagues or managers to resolve whatever is weighing heavily on their minds. That’s what EARS is here to help with.”

EARS—Te Rauawa offers impartial, informal, and independent advice and resolution services to University staff. Any and all conversations with the service advisers are entirely confidential, and don’t affect your ability to pursue any options under our formal policies and procedures.

“Simply having the opportunity to speak to someone who is trained and experienced in workplace conflict resolution is a way to start making sense of your feelings and learn what options are available or what approaches you could take.”

Christina says that in offering this service, she hopes to improve the dynamics of our working environment—giving people the confidence to resolve issues with empathy to increase staff satisfaction and improve our relationships with each other.

Some examples of the workplace issues that staff could seek advice and guidance for include:

  • working relationships or environments staff find difficult
  • conflict
  • performance concerns
  • issues relating to appointment or promotion processes
  • experienced or observed instances of bullying, harassment or discrimination.

Any University staff member, whether academic or professional, permanent, fixed term or casual, can use EARS—Te Rauawa. The Service sits within Te Ngāpara Centre for Restorative Practice, with their main offices in the Old Government Building on the Pipitea campus.

Accessing the Service is easy. You can access a referral form from the online portal on the University website, email EARS directly, or visit the service in person and leave a note. You
don’t have to include the reason why you’re making contact and can talk through that with one of the advisers during your conversation. Users of the EARS service can also specifically
request an adviser with a particular skillset—EARS.

After you make an initial query, someone from the Service will be in touch based on the contact choice you requested and set up a time to meet. This meeting can be in person, via Teams, or through a phone call.

Below is an example of how your query might be dealt with:

  • An introduction to the Service and your adviser
  • An impartial discussion of the issue you’re experiencing—remember, EARS is here to listen
  • A review of the issue, including any needed clarification
  • A discussion about the advisory or resolution option/s—this might include coaching or a chat about what formal processes you could utilise

  • Re-visit the issue any time! There is no limit to the number of times you can access the service, for the same or a new issue.

Sometimes, your issue might involve another team member and you might feel that a facilitated conversation is necessary. This is possible when and if the other person involved is also willing to engage in the conflict resolution process to promote an outcome for change.

Christina says the goal of EARS—Te Rauawa is simple: that the people who use it find it helpful.

“I want people to feel comfortable with who they’re speaking with firstly, and that through utilising the Service they’re able to resolve whatever their issue is in a meaningful and productive way.”

Written by Christina Tay for University of Wellington


Get our blogs delivered to your inbox...