Understanding place-based practices.

Community-led Development (CLD) is an evidence-based practice that enables effective, systemic change.

This is our go-to hub for those wanting to build authentic relationships with community, enable localised implementation, engage community voices throughout, and increase trust in our system of government.

Realising the potential of community-led action and innovation requires new dynamic ways of working. Growing a sustainable economy and enhancing wellbeing means interconnected action, a greater provision for power-sharing, and different collaborative structures and accountabilities.

This is new, courageous work requiring attention to relationships and a collective commitment to iterate ‘best fit’ approaches – in real time – as agencies begin their work together. 

Learn more about the foundations of CLD as a practice and access our primary principles and frameworks to help you with your planning and engagements. 

Integrated Systems Shifts 

If you want to form better relationships with community and explore more authentic and effective ways to do so, this is a good place to start. When integrated, these shifts will support you to embed local, hapū and iwi-led aspirations, grow collaborative projects, facilitate more effective decision making and remove bureaucratic barriers. They will enable a better recognition – and utilisation of – capabilities and resources that exist in communities.



Devolve funding and power to
hāpu and local communities. Involve hapū
and communities in design and local
decision-making processes alongside iwi, councils, business, and other key stakeholders.



A variety of responses will be needed to
serve and support diverse parts of local communities and enable equity. One size solutions do not fit all, and imposing them
can undermine local initiatives and marginalise those outside the mainstream.



People, connections and trust make things happen. Build social infrastructure through networks, brokering and weaving roles. Relationship comes before partnership.



Look for further opportunities to work with others, especially across silos. Partnering makes better use of local resources, shares risk and encourages innovation and learning.



Fund locally-led enterprise and action.
Support processes and capability building
that connects and builds more integrated social and economic capacity.



Complex challenges require creative responses to see what works. Mandate innovation and learning and provide flexible funding that allows for change and adaptation.

Mā te huruhuru, ka rere te manu. Adorn the bird with feathers so it can fly.  

While we produced this report and associated webinars during 2020 with Covid-19 as the focus – the lessons we learned, the experiences we had, and what we achieved goes far beyond – and it offers us all a chance to bring these ways of working into shaping the future.

Download our summary to better understand HOW you can take action and activate the six shifts required to authentically engage locals, hapū and iwi in collaborative, place-based projects.

Evidence & Reports

How do we know CLD is contributing to better outcomes for all? What are others seeing and doing in this space? Here you’ll find practice-based evidence, research, reports and publications from national and international community context experts who are working in support of social capital and systemic outcomes.


How do we capture – and share –  the creative, collaborative solutions happening all across the motu (country). How do we measure what worked and what was learnt along the way?

Here you’ll find practical stories and webinars of the journey others took. From local individuals, hapū, businesses, and causes driving effective, systemic change in their place. 

A focus on how guiding principles and a values-led approach helps navigate diversity and complexity to help push through the hard stuff. 

A focus on the key elements and frameworks for getting traction across neighbouring communities to create shared visions and build community and social capital.

A focus on how to shift the dynamics of power, creating more inclusive participation in community change efforts.


Thought Leadership & Perspectives

Here you’ll find thought leadership and perspectives from changemakers, partners and practitioners across our national and international networks.

By Susie Schwartz, Programme and Relationship Lead, Todd Foundation.

Canadian Evaluator Mark Cabaj talks about CLD evaluation in Aotearoa

Inspiring Communities’ Megan Courtney discusses localism in Aotearoa through a community-led lens.

Inspiring Communities’ Rachel Roberts discusses what can be achieved when we all work together.

Inspiring Communities’ Megan Courtney looks at the common threads within the diverse approaches to community-led development