Press Release – New Zealand Government
30 JUNE, 2015
Inclusive NZ Our Place Conference
E aku rangatira, tēnā koutou katoa. Ka nui te honore ki te mihi ki a koutou.
Welcome everyone, it is a pleasure to be here. This conference is a fantastic opportunity for us to gather together and generate great new ideas and launch new initiatives that will lead to stronger communities.
As a group, you already have a track record – the 2012 conference resulted in the One Fish Solutions; which is up and running helping organisations figure out where they are going, what they are doing, and how they can grow.
The 2010 conference resulted in the Tuhana – Facilitating Inclusive Communities website – bringing service providers and communities together.
All of you here today are making important contributions to communities.
• Inclusive New Zealand.
• John Grant for the introduction (President of the Inclusive New Zealand Board of Trustees)
• Acknowledgements –
• Inclusive NZ, Inspiring Communities and Be.Institute, for giving community organisations, community members, government agencies, and the business sector the opportunity to gather and discuss the importance of accessibility for all New Zealanders.
• Overseas speakers Tien Ung, Assistant Professor and Director of the Urban Leadership Program for the Simmons University in Boston;
• Gilbert Rochecouste, Founder and Chair of Village Well, Melbourne, Australia;
• Michael Walker, Manager of Strategic Projects, Department of Planning and Community Development, Melbourne, Australia.
• Hon Nicky Wagner, Minister for Disability Issues.
We know that community and voluntary organisations can achieve effective and sustainable community development.
They are embedded in the community they serve, with already established relationships with local businesses, government and agencies. They are in an ideal position to work with their communities to identify local issues and develop local community members into leaders.
But their success isn’t one sided. The government too has a role to play. We want New Zealand communities to be strong and resilient, where everyone realises their full potential. This requires strong cross-sector collaboration.
The Kia Tūtahi Relationship Accord forms a strong foundation for community and government to engage effectively to achieve social, economic, cultural and environmental outcomes. We recognise that when something works for the community, the government also benefits.
For example the NZ Navigator website was developed by the Department of Internal Affairs’ Charities Services team as part of a community development initiative. NZ Navigator is a self-administrated development tool that helps community organisations identify their strengths and weaknesses, so they can identify areas for development within the organisation.
The reason NZ Navigator has been so successful is in many respects due to the partnership that developed it; a collaborative team made up of ANGOA, the Platform trust, Social Development Partners, Bishop’s Action Foundation and supported by the Department of Internal Affairs. From what I have heard it is a really useful tool.
Community-led development is currently a pilot programme is being run by the Department of Internal Affairs. It started in 2011 with five communities and four have progressed: Whirinaki; Mt Roskill; Mangakino; and North East Valley. The programme is a chance for the community to identify and address local issues through community leadership plans.
Down in North East Valley, Dunedin, the community has expanded its “cosy homes” project, as it works towards the goal of making the Valley a more desirable and warm place to live. Residents are volunteering to help fit insulation and plastic film glazing to the windows of rental properties. Several community members have attained qualifications to do home insulation assessments for the project.
The project combines practical measures with sound advice on how to heat and ventilate a home and take measures to prevent mould. All round a healthier option.
Another brilliant example of success is the Whirinaki community which once had debris-clogged waterways. Those waterways are now clear and the riverbank is planted, making the area attractive once again for the community.
Many of the ‘partnership’ examples within the community and voluntary portfolio rely heavily on the work of the incredible community advisors who work for the Department of Internal Affairs.
They are one of our most important links between government and communities as they work closely with the communities to provide support during projects, and provide us with valuable insights into how we can improve the programmes.
On another front that I believe will be increasingly important to the community sector is the emerging numbers of social enterprises. These enterprises provide innovative solutions to social and environmental problems, and contribute to employment and local economies.
Kilmarnock Enterprise is a wonderful example of social enterprise in New Zealand. It was established more than 55 years ago with a core purposes being the employment of New Zealanders with intellectual disabilities. They now employs more than 80 staff, who make quality wooden toys which are sold on their website.
The Department of Internal Affairs has also been working with the Hohepa Homes Trust Board to develop a funding strategy to support the Board’s new environmental initiative. They hope to grow a range of native plants which will be planted around local rivers, streams and wetlands.
The aim is that the project will receive income for the ongoing care and maintenance of the environment. It will also help people with intellectual disabilities to participate in paid and voluntary work, enabling them to gain skills, employment experience and job opportunities.
Community projects often grow into the most successful community organisations, all the while building stronger and more resilient communities.
They are our means of promoting social cohesion and local leadership, and turn ‘people’ into ‘neighbours’ and from there into ‘friends’. It is far more natural for us to remember to look out for one another when we share a sense of common purpose and identify with one another.
The investment of time, effort and energy into community groups by ordinary New Zealanders, volunteers, and public servants does lead to more collaborative communities.
Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.