Nicola Hartfield



When misunderstandings arise  and are left unmanaged, there is a high risk of them quickly becoming too complex, too scary, and too difficult to know how to fix them. The longer they are left unmanaged, the more damage is done, to relationships, to our workplace to our productivity, creativity, and to our feeling of well-being. Conflict is contagious and can spread quickly . The best chance of resolution is when the conflict or dispute is caught early.


As a dispute resolution and workplace consultant, I am an independent impartial person to the conflict and the dispute that exists for you. I help you to understand the dispute, your reactions and responses to it.  I provide you and your organisation with skills, tools and strategies to resolve conflict and to avoid it occurring again.


I began my professional life as a health based social worker, specialising in child health  and palliative care. This  drew me into the world of family, community and workplace relationships, dispute resolution, reconciliation, and to the effectiveness of facilitated discussions and the use of mediation, as a way to resolve conflict and disputes arising.


After completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Dispute Resolution, I completed my Fellowship exams in mediation, for both Resolution Institute and of the Arbitrators’ & Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand and was awarded by AMINZ, the Anne Edge Memorial prize for excellence in Mediation Fellowship exams. In 2020 I gained my Australian National Accreditation in mediation, through the Resolution Institute, and in 2022, was acknowledged by AMINZ with a Distinguished Service Award.


I have over 30 years of experience working with people in distress and difficulty, either in their personal or professional lives. I am known for being creative, hard- working and achieving solutions for people who are entrenched in conflict and disputes. I create a solution-focused approach to shift the obstacles that get in the way of agreements being reached.


I am based in Whanganui NZ, however I travel nationally and using online, I can connect internationally with you. Although I am mainly known for my work in the family dispute area, I mediate and consult in workplace, governance, management, community, elder, neighbourhood and faith arenas.


In addition to my dispute resolution and workplace consultation, I provide bespoke workplace coaching and training focusing on communication, how to have those difficult conversations, high conflict personality, negotiation, how to give and receive feedback, change and resistance and the interpersonal issues that cause conflict and toxicity. I bring research findings, insights, skills and tools, fun and practical exercises to these trainings and conference presentations.

Memberships​, Affiliations and Acknowledgements

Fellow of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand (FAMINZ (Med) Current)

Fellow of the Resolution Institute (Current)

AMINZ Panel of Mediators:  Family Dispute Resolution, Elder Issues, Independent Police Conduct Authority List of mediators

ACCORD 3 member (2016 - Current )

Winner of the 2014 Ann Edge Memorial Award for Excellence in Fellowship Mediation

Rated by NZ National Business Review (July 2014) as being in the top 10 family mediators in NZ

AMINZ Council Vice President 2018 / 2019 / 2020

Contract teacher for Massey University Dispute Resolution Centre (2014 - 2017)

Member of the American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section (2014 - 2019 )

Member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (2015 - 2018)

Registered social worker with the Social Work Registration Board (1986 -2018)

Member of United Nations Women New Zealand (2014 - 2020 )

Hawkes’ Bay Restorative Justice Te Puna Wai Ora Inc (2010-2017)



Bachelor Social Work: Massey University Palmerston North New Zealand (1986)

Post Graduate Diploma in Business (Dispute Resolution): Massey University Palmerston North New Zealand (2010)​​

Te Reo Maori Level Two (Te Wananga o Aotearoa) 2013

Fellowship (Mediation) of the Arbitrators’ & Mediators’ Institute of NZ

Fellowship (Mediation ) of Resolution Institute NZ


Ministry of Justice: Mediator Family Court (2014 - current)
Crown Law: Professional Workplace Supervisor (2019 -current)
Accident Compensation Corporation: Professional Workplace Supervisor (2001 -current)
Kainga Ora: Professional Workplace Supervisor (2019 -current)
Ministry of Social Development: Professional Workplace Supervisor (2019 -current)
Healthcare NZ: Professional Workplace Supervisor (2019 -current)
Independent Police Conduct Authority: Mediator (2016 -current)
Retirement Commission : Mediator (2011 -current)
EQC Panel of Mediators : Mediator (2011 - 2016)
Internal Affairs: Confidential Listening Service (2012)
Health and Disability Commission: Expert Advisor (2007 - 2018)
Ministry of Social Development: Review & Client Representative Adjudicator (2004 - 2017)