Me Mahi Tahi Tātou – Working Together

This workbook was written after two Auckland CLD initiatives partnered with Inspiring Communities to trial a Leaderful Communities Workshop process. Called Me Mahi Tahi Tātou – Working Together, it explored community leadership as well as how to build collaborative leadership skills and capacity.
A number of insights were identified over the four sessions which have formed the workbook  Me Mahi Tahi Tātou:

  • It is important to be invited to a workshop by someone who is known and trusted
  • Diverse backgrounds and experiences brought diverse expectations
  • Common aspirations include learning new skills, gaining a better understanding about leadership and meeting others from their communities in similar situations.
  • Using lots of local examples helps make it real for people

Inspiring Communities Publication, Learning by Doing has a chapter dedicated to Leading in and leaderful communiites

learning by doing

Purchase Learning by Doing

Our Top Ten Tips

Here are our Top tips for getting started in community-led development.

How to bring the community together to plan

Learn how to plan a successful Community Hui – use our event planning guide to attract your people, develop your event’s purpose and integrate the right processes for success.

How to organise and facilitate a successful community visioning hui.

From service delivery to being of service in place

Article prepared by Inspiring Communities’ Barbara MacLennan, February 2016.

Primary health, social and education services are the focus for Tipu Ora in Rotorua. With its home base in the beautiful village of Ohinemutu, the reach and credibility of the organisation has grown each year since being founded around three decades ago.

 Kia Puawai Whānau Planting Day
Kia Puawai Whānau Planting Day

In a conversation with Tipu Ora Executive Manager Raewyn Bourne and Clinical Co-ordinator Evalyn Berryman, Inspiring Communites’s Barbara MacLennan learned about Kia Puawai, a new place based approach which the Trust began two years ago.

“While our funding streams all still come in silos, we’ve been working hard to integrate all the services and supports we can offer in ways that serve our community much more effectively” said Raewyn.

When statistical analysis was used to identify the best ‘fit’ for targetting new funding contracts to support populations with high birth rates and vulnerable children, Rotorua’s Western suburbs showed up as an area for attention. “We decided that instead of expecting people to come to us, or us to go to families one by one, we should actually locate ourselves in that community, and see what we could learn from working in that way.”

Three months of conversations with local community leaders created goodwill and the opportunity to locate in a building adjacent to the community health centre and other community services. Evalyn explains it was important to create an environment where whanau feel comfortable and safe, this is their home away from home.  “Māori values guide this, our whare (house) kuia (nanny) role is to manaaki and awhi clients and their significant others.  We build trust with whanau by listening, being consistent and transparent.”  This approach appears to be working as the majority of self-referrals to the service are recommendations from friends and or whānau who have shared their own experiences accessing this service.

Raewyn describes the preparation of the new facility for opening as taking “a country mile of goodwill” from local organisations and people. She acknowledges it wasn’t all rosy at the start. A few organisations and services who are funded to work with the same populations were a bit resistant, and it took a while for both they and Kia Puawai to figure out how to ‘fit’ together well with community interests at heart. “Relationships are much better now” says Raewyn. “It’s about focussing on goals and aspirations we share, and creating systems and ways of working together that really help us keep connected, specially with the people and community we serve. In retrospect we would do some things differently in that phase of getting started, but we just had to give it a go and be brave!”

 Kia Puawai Whānau Planting Day

Raewyn and Evalyn talk about the enormous benefits of being located in a neighbourhood, and having a whole wealth of expertise across Tipu Ora which could be called on as needed. “Only a few of our Team are based in Western Heights every day, but our whole organisation is effectively available, and is learning from the experience.”

A lot of the work focuses on young and first time parents and includes mothercraft and homecraft programmes.  “It’s great to see a young māmā whose own confidence has grown come back to the whare to help teach pregnant and other first time mums how to bathe their pēpe or share her experience of breastfeeding,” Evalyn shares. “Our Kia Puawai whare makes that possible”.

Being community-based, and well networked with other agencies serving the Western Suburbs enhances the possibility of being able to find and connect with vulnerable people and families. “It’s hard work. There’s no doubt that some just don’t want to be connected because of their own past experiences, or who they are associating with. But our chances are so much higher when we are actually there, and part of the local community fabric too. These babies and children are all of our responsibility, and the sooner we can awhi them and their whānau, and wrap the right guidance, information and support around them, the better.”

More information on Tipu Ora.

Tips for organising a street BBQ

Getting together with your neighbours is one of the many things you might do to help build a sense of community in your street. You might start by inviting a couple of neighbours over for morning tea or a pot luck lunch. For residents keen on putting together something a little larger in scale, Massey Matters has produced this handy ‘how to’ guide to help make your job a little easier.

A community BBQ, with balloons and face-painting.

Looking back to move forward

Tangible CLD Learnings & Insight Report

These pages harvest the learnings from the four communities who worked with the Department of Internal Affairs as part of the Community-led development Pilot projects between 2011 and 2016. Over the course of the project, teams learnt what works, what doesn’t and how outcomes can vary. In this spirit of this, they offer reflections, stories and tools to support and help other community-led initiatives to thrive.

The following pages have been broken into digestible sections so you can download those pages of interest and relevance to you. If you would like to receive a full copy of this report, please contact us directly at

CLD Planning and Evaluation Framework

Tightly defined, traditional planning approaches don’t easily suit the very emergent, adaptive work of CLD. Developing a Theory of Change framework will enable you to collectively work to identify your goals, review your progress and adapt your thinking and actions accordingly. It helps us all be more adaptive, nimble-footed and effective in the way we act.

A screen shot of the framework document

Making the most of community conversation feedback

Learn how to make the most of your community feedback. Even though your community conversations might be informal, people want to know something is going to happen as a result.

A wall covered with Post It notes.

How to measure and monitor CLD

To be effective in locally-led change, what you do and how you do it are equally important. So we need to keep noticing what is emerging, and what lies behind the results and changes observed.

We need to pay attention to who is involved and in what roles, what is going on and how well we are living the CLD principles, not just our results.

We need to keep noticing what’s emerging, and what lies behind the results and changes observed.  We need to intentionally notice and assess the broader factors that impact on and are impacted by locally-led action processes.

A screen shot of the Measuring and Monitoring CLD document.

Facilitating Effective Teamwork and Learning

Team members putting their hands in to the centre of the circle.

CLD needs good facilitation skills and teamwork. It’s essential to grow a high trust culture from the beginning; where learning from failure and success is the norm.

Community-led development needs good facilitation skills and teamwork. It’s essential to grow a high trust culture from the beginning; where learning from failure and success is the norm. We may come to the party with fears and disappointments from past failures, so it’s important to spend time on whakawhanaungatanga/getting to know each other; sharing our stories, hopes, fears, vulnerabilities and strengths; and achieving some small wins together. This all helps to create a foundation of trust and commitment. We can then build on that foundation to harvest learning from our doing.

Here are a few strategies for overcoming common challenges in growing a high trust culture. Click the image to access the resource.