Mauruuru koe Megan mo to takoha. Megan is simply amazing. I’ll always remember when she said to me in 2009 that she wanted to be part of strengthening community-led development in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and help breathe life into what became Inspiring Communities. This was a waka she wanted to be on and it was music to my ears.

Megan brings so much. Her energy and insight have been vital in the creation and operation of Inspiring Communities. She has been a key leader in growing the understanding of what community-led development means for us all.

She knows this world from every dimension. Her early, local work in West Auckland as part of the Massey Matters initiative was groundbreaking. I still remember the matched funding approach to support very local projects. Innovative at the time, it is now more commonplace, along with other approaches she encouraged people in Massey to ‘give a go’.

She took her active involvement and local knowledge into enhancing regional support for community-led development in wider Auckland. For the last few years, she has operated nationally with Inspiring Communities – connecting initiatives, facilitating people learning from each other, identifying ways in which local and central government can better enable community-led development, keeping the show on the road… and much more. She has led the way.

At the same time, she has grown multiple international networks with kindred initiatives – generously sharing the learning in Aotearoa and welcoming learning from other places. (She works twice as fast as most people 😊).

Megan brings a rare ability to envisage a big picture vision and do the everyday things that bring the vision to life.

She is a great thinker – with the self discipline to turn her thinking into writing. And she builds resources for others to use, then shares them generously through conversations, hui, presentations, blogs and papers, ect. She will have created most of the resources on the Inspiring Communities website.

While Megan has led, she always welcomes other people’s contribution. Her approach is to ‘lift as you climb’. She focuses on people not being left behind and embodies the saying:
“Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou ka ora ai te iwi – with your basket and my basket the people will thrive.”

Mary-Jane Rivers

Megan has been a part of the backbone for Inspiring Communities over many years. She was a part of the team that birthed Inspiring Communities and has picked up various roles since then. Much of Inspiring Communities’ impact and success has been directly related to the calibre and expertise of its core group. Megan was a key part of this core. Her passion and professionalism helped keep community-led development at the centre and ensured that how Inspiring Communities operated embodied the principles of CLD. This ain’t easy – especially when it can be easier to cut corners or chase the dollars. So, Megan is courageous. As a true CLD practitioner, she appreciates that this is more of a movement than an organisation – so I look forward to working with Megan in this movement through whatever emerges.

David Hanna

Rachel Roberts has made a significant contribution to Inspiring Communities. She will be the first to say that she isn’t an expert in community-led development, however this humble self-reflection belittles how she has shaped Inspiring Communities. Rachel’s honed communications and journalistic skills quickly jumped into gear when she arrived. Insightful and informative resources are of little value if they aren’t widely accessible. Rachel led the process of establishing a coherent communications approach, and this has been impactful. Anyone who has visited Inspiring Communities’ website or read an Inspiring Communities resource will have benefited from Rachel’s savvy eye. A specific example of her flair is the creation of Powerdigm. This bold initiative has been ably nurtured by Rachel. Her strategic nous realised the need to have a parallel vehicle to better influence the public policy process.

At Inspiring Communities, it isn’t just about hard skills – the glue is relationships. And Rachel has been a great team member to work alongside. Her humour, openness, and direct approach have been refreshing and will be missed.

Oh… and on her claim that she isn’t and ‘expert’ on CLD… I think that is challengeable. Her brokering of relationships, and connections is a critical thread woven through the CLD approach.

David Hanna

What a pleasure it has been working with Rachel over the past nine years!

Rachel is a force to be reckoned with – a combination of grit, enthusiasm, and fun all at once. She has fantastic instincts stemming from her communications and journalistic background, which means she is great at pulling a thread on some of our ‘woolly community-speak’ to unravel it to a clearer message and vision. She has always asked the hard questions, and that has helped us get to a better answer.

When Inspiring Communities set up Powerdigm as a consultancy arm in 2019, Rachel put up her hand to support its development. I don’t know if she realised then it would be a four-year journey – she may not have been so quick to take on the role! But her tenacity and relationship-building over this time has put a strong foundation in place – despite COVID and other changes to the consulting environment. The team of people putting their hand up now to be part of Powerdigm is no small measure to the great work and vision that Rachel has had for this work.

And let’s not forget Rachel’s generosity of spirit that extended to hosting planning sessions at her Kate Sheppard Place apartment – nothing short of a 5-star super-host rating!

Rachel, I so appreciate your contributions to Inspiring Communications and Powerdigm!

Donna Provoost

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