The Team and Board – Te Kapa me Te Poari
The Inspiring Communities team is a virtual organisation consisting of people from all over the country who have skills, expertise and experience in CLD approaches.
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
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
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: WaitahaCLD@inspiringcommunities.org.nz
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 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.
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 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.
Supporting the growth of strong and resilient communities is at the heart of Anna’s mahi. Anna has diverse experience of grassroots community development – having worked on peace building efforts with indigenous women leaders in Bougainville (PNG) to activating the community-led vision for the Valley Project in North Dunedin.
Youth development is a particular passion – often Anna is called in to build processes with young people from the ground up – and to enhance the ways groups and organisations work with young people.
Anna is a reflective practitioner and a systems thinker committed to social justice. Anna thrives when working cross-culturally and enjoys supporting communities to navigate their journey with Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Currently Anna is director of Mātāwai Consultancy and supports a number of Otago based organisations to think strategically and grow their impact. Mātāwai offers facilitation, mentoring, strategic advice, research, Te Tiriti o Waitangi education, event and project management.
Originally from Ōtautahi/Christchurch, Anna has called Ōtepoti/Dunedin her family home for more than 10 years.
Tess is a natural storyteller and experienced communications practioner. Inspired by all things community, she has been working across engagement, education, events and management for community-led and not-for-profit organisations for the last ten years. She is currently a member of the Community Builders kaitaki group based in Otago, the chairperson of the board of trustees at her local school and previously sat on the board for the Otago Farmers Market Trust.
Deep relationships, meaningful communications and supporting others are at the heart of her mahi. Her passion for amplifying community voices means she is flexible, solutions focused and eager to connect!
At home in Ōtepoti/Dunedin, Tess lives with her whānau, a flock of boisterous chickens and way too many houseplants plants.
You can reach Tess on firstname.lastname@example.org
Natalie lives in Whakatū Nelson with her partner Drew, their two young daughters and their senior pup. Natalie is a specialist in people management, leadership, community organisations, facilitation, and fundraising.
She has a strong commitment to social and environmental justice and has worked in the community sector for over 18 years in organisations as varied as Wellington Rape Crisis, the Wilderness Canoe Trust, Nelson Arts Festival, Victory Community Centre, Nelson Women’s and Children’s Refuge and many more.
Natalie has a BA in Psychology and Gender Studies and a Diploma for Graduates in Management from University of Otago, a Certificate in Professional Supervision from Weltec, a Graduate Diploma in Not-for-Profit Management from Unitec and a Certificate in Te Ara Reo Māori from Te Wananga o Aotearoa. While CLD is new to Natalie in many ways it is also a natural fit for her experience and background.
In her spare time Natalie loves learning Te Reo, singing, climbing, skiing, swimming, mountain biking and sharing the outdoors of beautiful Te Tau Ihu with her family.
Mobile: 0274 126 280
Kerry has an extensive background in education, underpinned by her desire to see greater inclusion, more voices given credibility, and greater equality, all leading to changes that make learning accessible for all. She is especially interested in supporting adults to engage in further learning.
Her work is values based, from a strong social justice agenda. Within education, Kerry’s work spans leadership across the compulsory sector education, and includes professional development for adults. She has a strong interest in conflict resolution, and the development of customised restorative practice.
Kerry is also a narratively-based, registered counsellor, committed to working with people to access their own stories of strength. This philosophical position is similarly applied to her group work and facilitation. Facilitation skills and evaluation skills are connected to develop potential with the teams and communities in which she is engaged.
She enjoys moving from big picture strategy, to detailed analysis and critique in order to support others to reach their goals.
You can contact Kerry at email@example.com
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 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
Donna is a values-driven leader providing strategic and thought leadership to social and economic issues. She is an economist with over twenty years of experience as a researcher, policy analyst and manager working across quantitative data and qualitative evidence. Donna has extensive knowledge of the machinery of government, as well as a solid understanding the community sector, and the factors that contribute good outcomes for New Zealanders. Much of her professional work has centred on working for better outcomes for disadvantaged groups.
Donna came to New Zealand from Canada 18 years ago, and she has worked in Ministries of Education, Justice and Science and Innovation and the Children’s Commissioner. She currently leads the Generational Investment Unit at the Ministry of Transport. She brings her background in strategic policy, community social and economic development, human-centred design and collaboration to all she does.
Donna lives with her husband and teenager in Johnsonville. She joined the Inspiring Communities Board in 2016 and has been Chair since 2017.
Amy Irvine is a passionate social justice advocate who is committed to seeing communities thrive. Born in Gqeberha, South Africa and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau, she has participated in her local and wider community ever since High School when first joining the Upper Harbour Youth Council. She is a strong proponent for community-led change and making use of the wealth of knowledge within community groups.
Currently a Bachelor of Law (Honours) and Global Studies student at the University of Auckland, Amy is eager to apply her learning for the benefit of others. Amy has represented rangatahi at Auckland Council on their Youth Advisory Panel and Climate Change Working Group. She is actively involved with several community organisations focusing on upholding Te Tiriti, sustainability, and creating equitable outcomes across Aotearoa.
Di (Te Uri o Ngai Tara ki Mua Ūpoko o Te Ika me Ngati Raukawa ) commutes to her hometown of Taitoko (Levin) to undertake the role of Chief Executive at Muaūpoko Tribal Authority, after having a corporate career in banking and finance with some SOE time in the mix. A Leadership NZ and Harvard Leadership Programme alumni, Di believes she’s exceptionally lucky that being Māori and working for her iwi in a kaupapa Māori environment automatically sets her up to be in a mindful leadership kaupapa. ”I believe strongly in social justice and servant leadership. Always have. To be an authentic leader requires being open to possibility no matter the challenges and barriers – and always putting people first. I hold dear the whakatauki, He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata.”
On top of her job, Di serves on a number of Alliance, governance and community forums.
Yun joins the IC board with incredible energy and a diversity of skills. An innovative and strategic director with a demonstrated history of working in the import/export industry as well as the non-profit sector, she currently runs her own business. Yun has worked in government roles and served on DHBs for a variety of community-led projects, as well as a counsellor for Lifeline, and with Te Ahi Kaa, a kaupapa Māori social enterprise servicing the South Auckland Māori community.
With a real passion for community change, Yun is keen to connect Inspiring Communities into different groups and sectors. Yun is of Chinese descent and lives in Auckland.
Min grew up among both her mother’s people Ngā Paerangi of Kaiwhaiki marae Whanganui and her father’s people Ngāti Konohi of Whāngārā marae Gisborne. Her understanding of the world has been shaped by her early and lifelong experiences in and around these two marae with extended whānau. Mātauranga – learning about ancestors, mahi – roles and responsibilities, manaaki – caring, hauora – hygiene, haumaru – safety and tiaki – support have all been a part of growing up around the marae. Min’s early professional background started in the woolsheds, where she developed strong work ethics around being reliable, working as a team and pushing your potential, i.e. sweating!
After graduating from Waikato with a degree in Māori she worked for Iwi for ten years before moving into the public sector. She has held various senior roles at Southland DHB, and the Ministries of Education, Social Development and Oranga Tamariki. During which time she gained a master’s degree in management from Victoria.
Min has seen positive initiatives grown out of and inspired by community, whānau and hapū but sadly also the demise of these as a result of racism and not understanding te ao Māori. She’d like to support whānau and hapū led initiatives and contribute at a board level towards advice and decisions that help to keep whānau positive and motivated.
Steve has had a career in the police for 22 years based in Christchurch. From 2012 to 2016 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 currently on extended leave from the police and is working on a Post Graduate course at Canterbury university. He’s studying Leading Collaborative Partnerships. Steve is passionate about community-led development and has seen first hand how such initiatives can lead to stronger communities.