23 Mar 2018

Royal NZ Ballet correctly handled bullying complaints - chair

4:54 pm on 23 March 2018
Royal New Zealand Ballet boosted project

RNZB Dancers in Neil Ieremia's Passchendaele. Photo / Ellie Richards. Photo: Ellie Richards

The company commissioned an independent review after facing criticism over how it has handled employment complaints and over the high turnover of dancers last year, with 10 of the 36 in the company leaving.

Among its recommendations was conflict training for managers.

Chair Steven Fyfe told Nine to Noon it also called for a human resources manager, with a person being employed in this role last year.

"We probably erred on the formal side. We took a complaint, we took it seriously and lapsed into the formal interview. Whereas he's [writer of independent report] recommending that in a well functioning organisation, you actually have certain people within the organisation who are empowered to have conversations."

Mr Fyfe said more work needed to be done to increase the number of locals dancing for the national company, with two-thirds coming from overseas.

The ballet has an agreement with the New Zealand School of Dance which is supposed to act as a feeder school for it, however last year it did not hire a single graduate to work for it.

Mr Fyfe noted many of the students at the school were from overseas and many chose to take up positions abroad rather than remain in New Zealand.

But he agreed the ballet needed to do more to help foster local talent.

"We absolutely need to hold our relationship with the School of Dance and enhance it but the reality is there are more New Zealanders training with other schools and we've neglected them. We need to make the RNZB attractive to all New Zealand kids and that's one of the things we haven't done well up until now."

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