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Mediation Services

Sarah Cates,
LEADR Accredited Mediator, LLB, BA, DELE C1.

"Takawaenga" - mediator or go-between


A mediator is an independent third party that assists parties in dispute to explore and resolve their problems. A mediator doesn't take sides, give advice, or determine the outcome of disputes.

Under employment legislation, mediation is the primary problem-solving mechanism for employment relationship problems. Generally, parties must attempt mediation before having a dispute heard in the Employment Relations Authority or Human Rights Review Tribunal.


Sarah conducts mediation in a professional, respectful, fair and impartial manner. Her style is one of sensitively and actively assisting parties to explore and resolve their issues.

As well as a mediator, Sarah is also a specialist employment lawyer, negotiator and litigator. As such, she has a thorough understanding of the legal and practical context of employment relationship problems, as well as the needs and interests of parties.

Sarah is a learner of Te Reo Māori and has a keen interest in the intersection of employment law and tikanga Māori. She is confident to conduct mediation in a tikanga Māori context and can actively work with parties to appropriately include tikanga Māori in the mediation process.

Sarah commenced mediation training through the New Zealand Law Society and later completed the Resolution Institute's mediation training to become a LEADR Accredited Mediator. She is also on the Panel of Mediators for the New Zealand Law Society's Lawyers Complaint Service and is a facilitator for Wellington City Council and Reframe Aotearoa's 'Wellington Conversations' programme.

Sarah has a background in non-violent communication theory and has experience as a facilitator in human rights in Colombia in the context of the armed conflict.

Sarah continues to develop her skills and knowledge through ongoing professional development and support, including professional development courses, one-on-one supervision and coaching, monthly peer mentoring, self-directed study and self-reflection.

Sarah presents mediation seminars to senior managers, human resource advisers and lawyers.

For more information, contact: mediator@cullenlaw.co.nz

See our Mediation Services Terms of Engagement and Sample Mediation Agreement

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