Steve Jones-Poole

Steve has had a career in the police for 22 years based in Christchurch. Previously, he was Sergeant in charge of the Riccarton Neighbourhood Policing Team. The Prevention First approach to policing was used to successfully reduce crime and to build community ownership and cohesion in the area. This approach changed how Steve saw policing and helped to fuel a passion for the prevention first approach. He has received accolades for the work he did in this area – receiving a Police commendation and most recently a Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship.

Steve is passionate about community-led development and has seen first hand how such initiatives can lead to stronger communities. In 2022, he has been engaged as a Coordinator for the Waitaha CLD Network,  contact him for more information by email:

Rachel Roberts

Strategy and Communications Lead

Rachel has established a strong track record working with organisations on strategy, advocacy, relationship management, project development and implementation as well as all forms of communications. She has worked in not for profit organisations, business and government agencies as diverse as philanthropy and Search and Rescue. Rachel has supported, driven and consulted on a wide range of activities. She has worked on a number of cross-sector projects and forums aimed at creating collaborative responses to the issues at hand. Rachel is most interested in delivering strategic leadership that supports those that are authentically working towards change to achieve practical outcomes that are fit for purpose and sustainable.

Rachel’s passion for effective communication and thought-leadership continues to inform the way she has approaches her work. Her focused belief that achievable outcomes are made possible through clarity and collective wisdom speak to her strength as a collaborator; her ability to hear the stories, experience and motivations of people, organisations and communities, and her drive to help them translate these into positive action for true community-led development.

In a previous life, she was a journalist and radio producer working with, amongst others, Kim Hill and Linda Clark, on the National Radio’s Nine to Noon programme.

Rachel is married to Chris; their two boys have flown the nest …mostly… they live a great life in Wellington.

Mobile 027 415 1896

Megan Courtney

While hailing from small town New Zealand, Megan spent 15 years working in local government in Auckland.  Her former Waitakere City Council roles focused on facilitating and brokering sector, place-based and citywide partnerships to improve community outcomes.  She also worked with the Department of Internal Affairs to produce practical partnering tools and resources for those working at the collaboration coalface.

When it comes to community-led development Megan describes herself as a doer, thinker, writer, planner, teacher and learner – with being part of the Inspiring Communities team enabling her to combine all six skills and passions! She’s a firm believer in the power of local people and places to do amazing things and loves working alongside communities to help make locally-led action happen.

Nelson based Megan is a founding member of the Inspiring Communities core team, and (amongst many things!) leads coordination of IC Team activities.

Mobile: 027 678 8622

Kindra Douglas

Kindra’s first foray into community development was successfully advocating to Council in the early 1980’s for land for the local netball club to establish courts and a clubhouse. Kindra’s direct experience has been in initiating and developing projects over 40 years within the sport, environment, housing, and the community sector. These projects have been awarded for their depth of innovation, collaboration and expanding relationships to include other sectors to enhance possibilities.

Kindra comes from eclectic work contexts – primary teaching, publishing and bookselling, arts and crafts, business administration, counselling, and group work, contributing now to her own enterprise of Enrich. She actively uses maps and models that support understanding of where we are now, and the wider system dynamics we are amongst, to inform how to develop achievable milestones for success. She always has an eye for the wider context of projects, seeking other connections to support the mission; to be generative and creative.

Kindra has a deep commitment to personal empowerment within the context of the community. This extends to her facilitation and mentoring work with Inspiring Communities – bringing that depth of experience and skill to finding ways to enrich what already exists in communities – knowing that what gets developed from the flaxroots by those who care is more likely to endure and make the most difference.


Cissy Rock

Cissy Rock is committed to working with people to uncover what already exists and work in ways that value those impacted. She is not afraid to give her opinion and roll up her sleeves to help make things happen.

Cissy works with the dynamics of systems addressing symptoms of patronisation, inclusion /exclusion and how to build cohesion. With over 15 years experience working with communities and Local Government, she has found that integrity is at the heart of her work and at the heart of her trouble making.

Cissy set up Community Think Ltd in 2015, to stand in her belief that together we do make a difference, she is continuing to collaborate across Aotearoa undertaking campaigns, project development, change management, coaching, supervision workshops and facilitation.

Margy-Jean Malcolm

Margy-Jean Malcolm’s life has been informed by a community development lens since she began local neighbourhood work in the 1970s in Wellington. Her current teaching, research, voluntary and consultancy work builds on her experience in leadership, management and governance in a wide variety of not for profit sector organisations and central government policy work.

Her involvement with Inspiring Communities has included collaborative inquiry research, contributing to our “Learning by Doing” publication and subsequently developing the “leadership as learning” framework.

Margy-Jean facilitates learning for people working in or with communities and community organisations. She is a mentor to individuals, organisations and students seeking practice-based learning qualifications through Otago Polytechnic’s Capable NZ. She is a grandmother, mother, aunty, daughter, neighbour, volunteer, pracademic, lifelong learner and active citizen, seeking a more just, caring and sustainable world.

Barbara MacLennan

Based in the bountiful Bay of Plenty for over three decades, Barbara focuses on practical collaboration around complex local issues and supporting community-led development practice.

She has lived and worked in many places across Aotearoa, and has worked in local and central government settings, as well as the community and business sectors. Along with many others, she helped establish Inspiring Communities in 2009. “If we want sustainable change to the huge challenges we face, we need focused and determined cross-sector effort which actively engages the wisdom of local communities.”

Barbara’s roles include project and event leadership and management, contributing to national publications, and CLD advisory and consultancy work to help generate income for the organisation.

Mobile: 027 425 2277

Denise Bijoux

Denise is a visionary community activator with extensive experience in locally-led transformation and community building. She has worked in community development since the early 1990s in roles focused on successfully activating local change, including in her own neighbourhood. Denise runs Catalyse Network, is a senior member of the Inspiring Communities team, is a Board Member for the International Association of Community Development (IACD), a founder of Placemaking Aotearoa, a Regional Network Leader for PlacemakingX, founding Chair of Gribblehirst Community Hub and current Chair of Grow Space. She was a recipient of a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 2012 and travelled through the US and Canada exploring the influence of CLD approaches on wider systems change.

Denise holds a Masters degree in Human Geography from the University of Auckland. She believes passionately in community-driven change and development and in a society where everyone and every place has the capacity to thrive by working with and from our strengths together. Because we are on one planet. Because we have everything to lose if we don’t. And because, together, 1+1=3.

Mobile: 021 245 6898

David Hanna

David is a fourth generation Pākehā, a partner in a civil union, a father of four children, a Director of a Social Change/Service Organisation (Wesley Community Action) and CLD Influencer and Practice Lead for Inspiring Communities.

He has worked as a national NGO youth director, a policy manager in Central Government, a consultant on youth development, a trainer in policy analysis and now a director.

Key themes across his activities are bicultural/Treaty of Waitangi perspectives, systems/holistic action/thinking, positive child and youth development and grounding what we do in an authentic spirituality.

David is currently working in Inspiring Communities as CLD Influencer and Practice Lead.


Gwyn John

Gwyn is passionate about people and social justice, and thrives to design a better future for people and the planet through her mahi.
With a background in Community Development and Social Work, Gwyn has been actively involved in the Community and Social Service Sector for nearly 30 years in a wide variety of roles, working with local government, community organisations, tertiary education, and the volunteer sector.
Gwyn has a passion for learning and finding solutions for, and opportunities in, the complexities of our world. In her pursuit of understanding, she’s not afraid to challenge injustices and structures that no longer serve the community.

Born and raised in Ahuriri, Gwyn calls Te Matau-a-Maui home, where she lives with her 17-years old son.