Network News February 2016

Meet the Members

Welcome to another article in the series introducing the wonderful members we serve and the work they are doing in their communities throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Located 680 km southeast of mainland New Zealand, the Chatham Islands are home to approximately 600 people.Chatham_Island_Waitangi The local community, which lives on the two largest islands – Chatham and Pitt, is well served by CNA member Chatham Community Focus Trust (CCFT). 

Founded over ten years ago, the Trust was the brain child of former district councillor Patricia Preece and, then Mayor, Patrick Smith. With the aim of developing services which would respond to the needs of the community, CCFT received funding from the Chatham Islands Council which it continues to do to this day.

The Trust currently employs two paid staff: Therese McCormick (Office Manager) and Erin Tuanui (Festival Organiser) and plans to shortly appoint a part-time Events Organiser. Therese and Erin are supported by six volunteer trustees. CCFT offers the community a wide range of services including budgeting and advisory services and, after school programmes for the almost 100 primary school- aged children who attend schools on both islands.P1110407 They also organise two to three market days a year and the annual Chatham Islands Festival.  Featuring live music, food stalls and children’s activities, the Festival attracts around 500 people many of them visitors to the island.

The Trust also offers adult education and workshops for children, at times bringing in tutors from mainland New Zealand. In mid-2015 Dunedin artist Janet de Wagt spent time on the island, working with children in the local schools and exploring the theme “know yourself and your history”. Other young people on the island have taken part in The Outlook for Someday film challenge with one of them going on to win one of the categories in this short film competition. Courses for adults have included topics ranging from the ILM Skippers Ticket to Rongoa Maori medicine.

In addition CCFT also produces a weekly newsletter and small community groups may apply to the Trust for funding to assist with their activities.

Therese identifies the main challenge of the next twelve months as funding with their current contract with MSD being for one year only. She sees the the appointment of an Events Organiser and further training in budgetary advice for herself, as opportunities in the coming year to better extend the activities and services they provide and in so doing continue to meet the ongoing needs of this island community.

For further info click on Chatham Community Focus Trust

CNA Annual Members’ Survey – the results

EintsteinQuestionEverythingWe have really appreciated the numbers of our membership who responded so generously to our survey that we sent to you in November 2015.

This survey was set around the outcomes that MSD (our primary funder) requires from our contract, and with the requirement of evidencing these outcomes it will be these statistics that we will use in our accountability report. We have developed a less complex report back to you our members on the key points from this survey.

Why does your organisation belong to C.N.A?
The three top reasons were: information sharing, big picture and Government information.

Close on these heels were networking, a national voice, collective intelligence and being part of a bigger organisation. 

It was appropriate we followed this question with detailing what we offer members and how many of you know about these services.

Which services are you aware that C.N.A offers to members?
You all knew that we consulted and discussed members’ issues with Government, that we dealt with sharing information and we held Hui and Conferences. You also knew we made submissions. Most of you knew we see ourselves as a general resource hub and it heartening that you knew we tried to regularly Skype membership to discuss issues. We hope that the 70% of you who knew we broadcast a monthly radio programme listen to it regularly

It was great that over 50% knew we provide (when you ask for it) governance support and for some things we help financially, although under specific circumstances. What did show however, was that we need to tell you more about the research we do, and how you can tap into our organisation for personalised support. We will make sure we better inform you on these opportunities. Read more >

Network News December 2015

Buddy can you spare a dime?
by Ros Rice, Executive Officer, Community Networks Aotearoa

In November in the brief article we circulate monthly for use in our members’ newsletters, CNA asked for good ideas that people may have towards sustainable funding. Although I said silly answers were acceptable, I think many of the responses we had were interesting, innovative and thinking outside the box.

I decided to share some of the really great responses.

Meri offered practical ideas about funders she had experienced:

  • Fonterra often funds charities
  • WEL Energy Trust has a fund for charities
  • Do not forget local council funding

Meri followed up with good advice that applies to ALL sponsorship. Sponsors want to see their dollars spent well, and to see results, and their logo on any advertising pertaining to the event they are funding. Do not forget your sponsors. Taking their money and ignoring them, is very rude and a bad idea. After all, they have got in behind you financially, and we cannot take that generosity for granted.

Ken shared some brilliant lateral thinking. He talked about the Blind Foundation selling talking watches and suggested, in the same vein, that Charities could use the economies of scale to purchase and resell goods relevant to their charity. Following along this idea Ken considered that one off sponsorship for an initial bulk purchase would enable the sponsor to get publicity plus be able to write off the donation as advertising. I am sure that this idea will need investigating regarding charities and social enterprise, but great to see innovative ideas. Ken also discussed that supplying a need, but at lower cost than elsewhere enables money from that charity to go towards continuing to supply that need.
Ken didn’t stop there, his thoughts moved to network alliances of organisations like small community gardens, soup kitchens and others. He suggested that instead of people buying $25 Prezzy Cards, people could buy a Manaakitanga networks card, displaying the name of the sponsor and listing the contacts in the alliance. Read more >

Network News November 2015

2015 Collective Impact Summit, Vancouver
by Yvonne Powley, Executive Officer, Auckland North Community and Development

I was one of more than 250 delegates from around the world who attended the 2015 Collective Impact Summit over five days, in Vancouver in September/October. This was an opportunity to learn about the effectiveness of implementing a Collective Impact approach. I was inspired by many internationally renowned thought leaders, hearing innovative ideas and projects from around the world and I am now a firm believer that Collective Impact offers New Zealand communities a path forward for working with large scale social change.

Collective Impact

I came to the CIS 2015 with three primary questions:

  • Does Collective Impact offer a viable model for building and sustaining large scale social change?
  • Does Collective Impact require a top-down approach or are there opportunities for it to include a strengths-based, bottom-up approach?
  • What is the role of government in Collective Impact initiatives?

As an Executive Officer with Auckland North Community and Development, I am one of a core group representing some twenty agencies who are working together to create The Auckland North Family Violence Prevention CI Project.  Our shared goal is to develop a new way of working together to prevent family violence in Auckland North using a Collective Impact approach.

Definition of Collective Impact:

Collective Impact (CI) is a framework to tackle deeply entrenched and complex social problems. It is an innovative and structural approach to making collaboration work across government, business, philanthropy, non-profit organisations and citizens to achieve significant and lasting social change.

A fundamental principle of the collective impact approach is that complex problems require a different way of working, as well as the intense engagement of a wide variety of influential partners who leverage their collective resources to drive.

A fundamental principle of the collective impact approach is that complex problems require a different way of working, as well as the intense engagement of a wide variety of influential partners who leverage their collective resources to drive

The Collective Impact Approach:

A collective impact approach requires that communities commit to engaging with all five conditions in the framework:

  • Building a common agenda,
  • Engaging in shared measurement,
  • Supporting the collaborative work through mutually reinforcing activities,
  • Keeping partners and the community engaged through continuous communications, and
  • Ensuring that the collective effort is supported by a backbone infrastructure. [1]

The Tamarack Institute has been actively engaged in the evolving nature of collective impact efforts across Canada, the United States and internationally for the last 5 years. The success stories told at the conference and evidence produced showed that this collaborative way of working is achieving some excellent outcomes internationally.

In the years ahead Collective Impact is going to continue to gain worldwide popularity as a framework that can make a significant difference to communities. I appreciate the many useful online resources now available and recognize both Tamarack and FSG in America as leading experts in this developing field.  My scepticism of it driving too much of a top down approach has been allayed as it appears you can work with a strength‐based, bottom up approach.

The readiness and enthusiasm to work collectively seems to be high in Canada. It will be interesting to see how it can work in NZ as we are so used to a competitive, organisational model, although I can see it working far more easily for Maori. The rest of us will have to believe that the whole can deliver better than the sum of the parts.

Each context is different and depends on what individuals bring to it. I also went with the question about the role of government and that Collective Impact may not easily work in NZ without whole of government support. Tamarack appears to have gained Government and State support across Canada. It may be challenging to get the same support here in NZ. Time will tell.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Summit and a huge thanks again to the individuals that supported and enabled my visit, and the Department of Internal Affairs, who approved funding for me to attend.
My report is now available on the Tamarack website:

Yvonne Powley
(09) 486 4820

Local government and the community and voluntary sector
by Dr Mike Reid, Principal Policy Advisor, Local Government New Zealand

Local government exists to allow citizens to make collective decisions about their communities, towns and cities.  This is a larger role than simply the provision of local public services. It provides a democratic arena in which local people are able to determine priorities, set the future direction of their district or city and negotiate a shared sense of citizenship.

Local government’s unique strength is its proximity to people and communities.  It is a lot easier, in most areas, to turn up to a council meeting than it is to visit Cabinet (which are all publicly excluded).  And it should be a lot easier to talk to your local councillor and contribute to a local policy consultation than to discuss matters with your local MP or make submissions to a select committee (although this is easier in NZ than in many countries).

It is this localness and responsiveness that makes local government important to the community and voluntary sector – as much of the work the sector is engaged in is local. Read more >

Network News October 2015

On the 15th and 16th of October Community Networks Aotearoa welcomed its members to Wellington for its biennial Hui.  Forty delegates came from Auckland to Invercargill and as far away as the Chatham Islands for two days of interesting speakers, information sharing and valuable networking.

Unlike our sector-wide conference which takes place in alternate years, the Hui exists for our membership and all were surveyed earlier in the year to assist us to a plan a meaningful and useful programme. The first day featured group discussions of the burning issues in our sector; a panel of experts talking about funding in its many forms and, an entertaining look at Governance from speaker Michael Macaulay.

A highlight of our second day followed our AGM, when we were joined by other colleagues and friends in the NGO sector to celebrate the fortieth birthday of our organisation.  All enjoyed a delicious chocolate cake and morning tea complete with speeches and party poppers!  The Hui concluded with our second keynote speaker, journalist Dita de Boni, leaving the group with much food for thought and after lunch, delegates took their leave.

It was a pleasure for both the Executive Committee and the staff of CNA to have our members here in Wellington and we extend our heartfelt thanks to all participants – delegates, speakers, facilitators and the fabulous Sans Souci who performed at our dinner – for making this a memorable event.  We look forward to seeing you all at our conference in 2016.  In the meantime, here are some photos from our Hui…


Network News September 2015

Meet the Members

Welcome to another article in the series introducing the wonderful members we serve and the work they are doing in their communities throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Home to the Highlanders, scarfies and bracing weather – there’s a lot more to Dunedin.   The Dunedin Council of Social Services (DCOSS) has existed now for thirty five years.  Originally established by two city councillors who wanted a mechanism for the community to have a voice, the organisation continues to thrive.  The initial mandate of DCOSS was to bring together other organisations for collaboration and the sharing of information and this remains an important part of what it does for its 128 members.

The mid-1990s saw a big change for DCOSS with moves to develop a community house and in 2001 Dunedin Community House in Moray Place came into being.    Now the home to eighteen permanent tenants, and providing various office and meeting spaces for other smaller organisations, DCOSS is contracted to manage the house.

With 3.5 staff and 4 volunteers, the organisation also provides back office support via its social enterprise arm.  Not for Profits can obtain help with payroll and financial issues, IT and website development, capability development and governance among other things.  One of the challenges facing DCOSS is balancing their resources with the ever increasing demand from the sector for support especially around administration and governance.  This has been exacerbated with increasing pressure around compliance.

Many opportunities also abound for DCOSS as they collaborate with the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce to enable business to meet community; work closely with the Community Development Department at Dunedin City Council; and facilitate the Dunedin Community Accounting service through which treasurers may receive training.

The team at DCOSS L to R Rob Tigeir and Alan Shanks; AnnetteHarrax    & Doreen Michelle.

DCOSS – helping communities help themselves.  For further info find them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter or visit



CNA Hui 15/16 October

With our Hui fast approaching, we are very pleased to announce the identity of our surprise speaker for day two – journalist Dita de Boni.

Dita has worked in journalism for almost 20 years; initially at the Herald as a business reporter, features writer, columnist, general and education reporter.  She then moved to TVNZ where she worked as a business reporter on the early-morning business show, as well as One News and Close Up. 

After leaving to have children, Dita has moved back into writing with an online parenting blog followed by a column in the print version of the Herald that’s just ended.  She now also works at TVNZ as a foreign news producer in the mornings.  She is married to former One News and Campbell Live reporter Ali Ikram.

For further information and to register for this invaluable two day event go to

Challenges Facing New Zealand Voluntary Agencies Today
by Richard Northey, Chair, ADCOSS

The Importance of Strong Voluntary Agencies
1 .Robert Putnam in Making Democracy Work and Bowling Alone rigorously demonstrated the vital role that Civil Society and voluntary agencies have in strengthening democracy and in enhancing both social and economic development cf. Northern and Southern Italy.

2. Richard Florida has shown the social and economic benefits of having diversity in population composition and in voluntary agencies.

3. New Zealand has many examples from the Rugby World Cup, the Christchurch Student Army, the Maori Women’s Welfare League and others where voluntary agencies and volunteers have achieved miracles.

4. The Sector’s Value: $11billion; 4.9% of GDP; 9.8% of New Zealand’s workforce.

5. Civil Society, operating as both the engine of change and of participation and also as the glue of social and economic cohesion, is vital.

Read more >

Network News August 2015

“All the talent in the world can’t take you anywhere without your teammates” – anon

The Rugby World Cup isn’t the only big event this year – Community Networks Aotearoa has its Hui coming up! Once every two years we bring our members together to meet, share and inspire each other over two days in Wellington.

Day one will kick off with a World Café enabling delegates to talk about burning issues such as emergency management and what’s on top in your region? in small groups. This will be followed by “Show Me the Money!” featuring a panel of experts looking a revenue streams in the not for profit sector. The lineout includes Liz Gibbs (CEO, Philanthropy NZ), Mike Reid (Principal Policy Adviser, LGNZ), Alex Hannant (CEO, Akina Foundation) and a representative from MSD.

The second half of day one will consist of further opportunities to network and learn by rotating through expert-led groups examining topics such as “Charities Accountability – are you up with the play?”; “Your Local Council” and “Outcomes Reporting – what d’ya need to know?”

Finally we welcome academic fly half, Associate Professor Michael Macaulay who will speak about “Developing and Maintaining Thriving Boards”. Michael is the Director of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at VUW.

Day two will see us “pack down the scrum” with the business of our AGM followed by tea, birthday cake and candles as we celebrate CNA’s 40th! We will then delight delegates with a surprise speaker guaranteed to send them off home on a high after a bite of lunch.

Although primarily an event for our members, others working in the community and voluntary sector are also welcome to attend. For further information and/or to register please go to

Rising to the Challenge

Last month Ros attended the inaugural Waikato sector regional conference, Rising to the Challenge, organised and hosted by Community Waikato. Here are her thoughts on the event….

Read more >

Network News July 2015

Meet the Members

Welcome to another article in the series introducing the wonderful members we serve and the work they are doing in their communities throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Located in the Waikato, Putaruru COSS (PCOSS) meets quarterly at the Putaruru Community Resource Centre.  A network of 25 groups covering an area including Tirau and Arapuni, as well as Putaruru, and stretching 26kms south to Tokoroa, they represent both urban and rural communities.  PCOSS receives no funding and but acts effectively as an informal network bringing together diverse groups and providing them with information between meetings via newsletters and emails.

The Resource Centre’s Communications Manager Adrienne Bell, serves as secretary to the networking group which includes organisations like Youth Matters, Progress to Health and the Health Consumer Service.  PCOSS also has links with neighbouring Tokoroa COSS, Community Waikato and local Putaruru College.  Many of the groups do not have premises so the Resource Centre serves as a hub for the wider community, and the services they provide.

Adrienne sees a lack of employment opportunities as being the biggest challenge facing the area following the closure of major employer Carter Holt Harvey five years ago and the subsequent impact on local business.  Although there has been no decrease in the population of Putaruru, there are increasing numbers of older residents which has influenced the types of services and community groups needed in the area as well as making the local rest home a major employer.

Younger residents are not forgotten however with a strong local focus on training opportunities.  The Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre has a campus in the area and Trade Training in Tokoroa, Wairaki Polytechnic and Te Wananga O Aotearoa all provide buses for Putaruru students to travel to their campuses with Waikato University planning to do the same in 2016.

A focus for both PCOSS and the Resource Centre is empowering people through information and education.  When not working for PCOSS and the Centre, Adrienne is a District Councillor, secretary to the WBOP Association of Household Budgeting Services and a teacher of the ukulele!  This ability to wear many varied hats is no doubt typical of our amazing members who serve their communities in rural and small town New Zealand. To contact PCOSS call (07) 883 8045 or email

New reporting standards for charities – more info
Some of you may have attended the series of workshops run throughout the country from March-June explaining the new reporting standards which came into effect on 1 April. Based on the workshops, Charities Services has produced three videos about the new standards for tier 4 charities plus a handy booklet.  Visit to view the videos and download the book.

Read more >

Network News May/June 2015

Budget 2015

As part of our ongoing support for our membership, CNA commissioned BERL (Business and Economic Research Ltd) to provide commentary on this year’s Budget and its effect on community and voluntary groups.

Click and watch Chief Economist, Dr Ganesh Nana provide an overview and visit our website to read the full report.

Being a Fair and Reasonable Employer in Times of Uncertainty 
by Denise Lormans, Chair of CNA and Manager, Southland Community Law Centre

When your organisation is facing difficult decisions because of financial constraints, it is essential that you talk to your staff as you know that there may be a problem.

As employers you must act in good faith and act as a fair and reasonable employer would. This means that you should tell staff when things are starting to look grim.

The organisation should work with staff to ensure that they know what is going on at all times.  It is our experience that most of the time staff will actually come up with some fairly outstanding ideas on how to manage under financially stressful times.

As employers you should also update staff regularly about what the organisation is actually planning to do to support staff during any “transitional” or liquidation process.  This could be as simple as having regular meetings to talk about progress, or as complex as arranging registration with employment agencies for staff.

As employers you must follow the clauses of all employment agreements. Things to consider:
If your organisation is looking at restructuring, you need to be sure to follow the correct process.  You should seriously consider getting legal advice to ensure that you draw up a plan and know what the organisation needs to do through the process. False redundancies or incorrect processes are the cause of innumerable personal grievances. The correct process should also be covered within the employment agreements. Read more >

Transition Times


Community Investment Strategy

Minister Tolley has publicly released the Community Investment Strategy today.

The strategy provides you with clarity about the priorities for funding of social services for vulnerable New Zealanders for the next three years. It also explains how the Ministry of Social Development will manage this investment in communities.

In addition, implementing this strategy will ensure purchased social services are targeted at the right people and the right communities, based on evidence of what works, so that together we can make the biggest difference for the people that need our support the most.

Learn more about the strategy
More information is available on the MSD website.
Community Investment will also be meeting with current providers from mid-June. Information about these provider events will be available shortly.

Please email any questions or comments about the Community Investment Strategy

Network News April 2015

More effective social services?

The draft findings and recommendations from the NZ Productivity Commission inquiry are now out and submissions are invited by 24 June before it makes its final report. The draft report says users should be given greater say in the services they receive, and government departments should take a step back.

The report also suggests a competitive market based on tendering would encourage providers to offer better services as a means to secure clients.  This could lead to further changes to the way people access social services in next month’s budget according to Acting Prime Minister Bill English.

Community Networks Aotearoa was one of many organisations in the sector to make a submission to the inquiry (read our submission) and will be looking closely at the draft report.

To make a submission on the draft report (by 24 June), visit the Productivity Commission website.

Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill – impact on voluntary and community groups

This bill proposes amendments to the Policing Act 2008 to enable cost recovery for certain Police services where there is a degree of private benefit to the users of the service.  Changes to the Act may see charities and other community groups paying for the police vetting of staff and volunteers.
ComVoices, of which Community Networks Aotearoa is a member, believes that voluntary and community organisations should be exempt from paying for policing services and this should be enshrined in legislation.

“It is the State itself that requires that NGO’s vet a wide range of people who work for them as staff and volunteers.  It’s a non-negotiable activity for NGO’s.  The reason for wider vetting is for public safety and that is a core Police role.  It is neither fair nor reasonable that the sector should now be asked to carry these costs.” says Helga Vientjes, ComVoices Chair. Read more >

Photo: Orinoko42