Network News July 2017

Election Briefing from ComVoices  

As you may be aware, C.N.A is very involved with ComVoices.  A Wellington based group of national NGOs who network, share information and talk with politicians and others about the issues of the time as regards the Community and Voluntary sector.

We have monthly meetings and sometimes hold events. A ComVoices sub-group worked very hard, and with quite a lot of profile on the vexed issue of identifiable client level data.

At the moment, ComVoices is very happy to have a shift in focus regarding the data to the Social Investment Agency under the intelligent eye of Minister Amy Adams where it is hoped that working together with Statistics and the Privacy Commissioner, the NGO sector can have meaningful dialogue about the collection of sensitive information.

However.. an election looms and there are many more issues of importance to consider. As in years before, ComVoices sent out a survey called State of the Sector Survey to test the state of play for community services.

The results of this survey have led to our Communities Count document which we have sent to representatives of all parties and ComVoices members are now personally visiting MPs to discuss the document further.

This document is an Election Briefing from ComVoices where we ask political parties to focus on three issues and the practical ways government and community services could work together more effectively to make a difference.

We ask that parties consider our input when developing policy.

If you wish to see this paper (Communities Count) and use it for your own discussions with your local MPs please feel free to link to this site and download it.

Also please feel free to share it with your newsletters and those in your distribution groups.

If you want us to send it directly via an email for printing off, just contact us at

Empowerment & Success: A Positive Path for the NGO Sector

In his latest blog on Community Scoop, Trevor McGlinchey sets the scene for the upcoming joint conference from NZCCSS and Community Networks Aotearoa.

The conference, which will be held on 26/27 October at the Quality Hotel Lincoln Green in Auckland, promises to be a thought provoking two-day event with a range of interesting and inspirational speakers from NZ and across the Tasman. The conference is open to all people interested in our sector – our member organisations, their member organisations and networks, our colleagues and stake holders.

For further info and to register please visit (Please don’t forget to like our Facebook page as well for ongoing updates).



From Ros Rice, Executive Officer, Community Networks Aotearoa…

Did you meet me on the CNA/Child Matters tour during the last 3 months? 

It all started about two years ago when Scott Miller from Volunteering New Zealand and I were talking about the horrendous statistics of child abuse in New Zealand. We are just a small country with the population of a small city, yet on average one child is killed every 5 weeks.

One of the ways we can change this, is plug all the places where abusers can get access to children. Scott and I realised that although those working with vulnerable children were aware of policies and checking procedures with staff and volunteers, many other organisations who didn’t work in that field were unaware that they needed to ‘’up their game’’.

Scott and I had the access to organisations who work with volunteers and other NGOs around the country, but we were not the experts, so we invited Child Matters from Hamilton to join us to help spread the message about the Vulnerable Children’s Act and other important child safety issues.

Scott and I had the access to organisations who work with volunteers and other NGOs around the country, but we were not the experts, so we invited Child Matters from Hamilton to join us to help spread the message about the Vulnerable Children’s Act and other important child safety issues.  

Scott had to withdraw from the project, but C.N.A and Child Matters persevered. Then this February MSD provided us with funding to run the tour. We visited 13 centres around the country and spoke to literally hundreds of people. It was a 90 minute seminar, but hopefully we left people with more understanding about how to write policies, how to safety check your workers and where to go to find resources and information.

If you wish to see the slides from the presentation please click below. You can also access two videos, and some definitions that explain how we describe different forms of child abuse.

The statistics in our country (2015-2016 –142,249 Reports of Concern to Child Youth and Family) are our national shame. Everyone needs to step up, step out and speak out against this horror being inflicted on so many of our children.

PS: sorry to all those who were annoyed with my interrupting interpretive habit. 🙂
PPS: Big thanks to the Ministry of Social Development for supporting this tour with some funding.

Download and listen to Ros interview Moyna Fletcher, Child Protection Consultant with Child Matters, about the Vulnerable Children Act (2014).




Queen’s Birthday Honour

We were pleased and proud to learn that Deirdre Jolly of Alexandra COSS was recently named  a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order for services to the community. Deirdre is a long time member of Community Networks Aotearoa and has worked tirelessly for her community for a great many years. A well deserved accolade.

Need some professional skills pro-bono?

HelpTank is a digital marketplace connecting skilled professionals able to donate their time and skills pro-bono, and not for profit organisations that can benefit from their expertise right now.

The Who Did You Help Today Trust developed HelpTank following research showing that community groups can struggle to find and engage the skills they need. Meanwhile individuals with specific skills also report it challenging to find a volunteer role that suits them.

Head to to see how HelpTank can support you and your organisation.

Community Law Manual 2017-2018 now available. 

The Community Law Manual is an easy-to-read, practical guide to everyday New Zealand law. Aimed at everyone who works with high-needs people in vulnerable communities, this edition has had a lot of legal work – to keep pace with rapid law change and to continue to refocus on law that’s most useful for our most vulnerable. It has a brand new chapter on Immigration and several other chapters have been rewritten to make them even more practical and accessible.


  • The standard rate for the Community Law Manual is $150 + GST.
  • NGO bulk orders of 10 or are eligible for discounts. Depending on how many you order, copies can drop by more than 25%.
  • For more information on bulk purchase rates, email

Place an order for the Community Law Manual by:

To blog, or not to blog…

Here are the links to the latest ComVoices blogs on Community Scoop. Interesting reading as always…
“Don’t Panic!” – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Dianne Armstrong, CFRE, Arthritis New Zealand
Not rocket science at all… by Anaru Fraser, General Manager, Hui E!
How do we know we’re making a difference? by Josie Pagani, Director, Council for International Development
A Royal Salute? by Phil McCarthy, Director, Prison Fellowship of New Zealand
Celebrate Our Uniqueness – Plan the Way Forward by Trevor McGlinchey, CEO, NZCCSS
Budget 2017 – where’s the Justice? by Katie Bruce, Director, Just Speak
Having a choice – “some people have all the luck!” by Gabrielle O’Brien, Chief Executive, Birthright New Zealand
On the darker side of volunteer work by Scott Miller, Chief Executive, Volunteering New Zealand
Budget 2017 and the voices of young people by Anya Satyanand, Executive Officer, Ara Taiohi

Upcoming Conferences

Beyond Boundaries: Collaboration in Action – Social Service Providers Aotearoa (SSPA) – 4-5 September, Wellington
This year’s SSPA conference is for all those working in social services whether as practitioners, administrators, researchers or policy makers. For further info please visit

PIVOT Linking Vision to Action – Volunteering New Zealand – 30 October, Auckland
National conference featuring  Rob Jackson, volunteer management expert and world-class speaker. For further info please visit

Our Planet.Our Struggle.Our future. – CIVICUS and Pacific Island Association of NGOs (PIANGO) – 4-8 December, Suva, Fiji
International Civil Society Week (ICSW) is a key global gathering for civil society and other stakeholders to engage constructively in finding common solutions to global challenges. For the first time in more than 20 years of global convening, CIVICUS will hold its flagship event in the Pacific region. For further info please visit

And don’t forget, we’re here to help.  If you have any problems or issues, or just need some information, please don’t hesitate to contact Ros at the CNA office on Wellington (04) 472 3364 or  Both Ros and Fionn are here to provide support to our membership and always welcome your contact.

Transition Times



Back in October 2016 it came to C.N.A’s notice that some new requirements from MSD were appearing in the contracts of some service providers.  These clauses required providers to report client level data in order to receive funding for the services they provide. There was a very strong reaction to this as many organisations, working with highly vulnerable people felt that many of their clients would not seek help if a criteria for accessing service involved them agreeing to their individual identifiable details being reported to MSD.

ComVoices ( a Wellington based network of national community and voluntary organisations) had some serious conversations on what this meant not only for contracts and ethics, but also how this changed the basic role of NGOs with their clients and Government.

An issues paper was produced on the 9th of December 2016 followed by the formation of a ComVoices sub-committee to try and talk to MSD about the impact of this issue.

The sub-committee which comprised representatives of 7-8 national organisations worked very hard at pulling together broad opinions and discussing the problems following an MSD seminar in Wellington with other organisations and with MSD staff.  A meeting was also held with the Privacy Commissioner who had commissioned a report following complaints to his office. The report from the Privacy Commissioner was released on 6 April 2017.  This report included four recommendations for MSD to consider about better ways of working to obtain the information required.

On March 16 2017, after the release of the Privacy Commissioner’s report, ComVoices wrote a letter to four Ministers of the Crown suggesting a collaborative way of working together to gain access toappropriate data which would enable them to find out the information we were told repeatedly was necessary for good social investment.  We received limited response to our request.

The Community and Voluntary Sector in the meantime had become increasingly agitated about this contract requirement, and national media were running frequent stories about the data collection requirements.  Contracts were clearly expecting service delivery organisations to start saving data immediately for upload to the government website on July 1 2017.

Then 6th April 2017, the media was full of a story about a privacy breach at the Ministry.  It put a halt to the plans for data collection while an investigation into the breach occurred.  This led to an urgent debate in the house where most of the opposition parties spoke strongly against the identification of clients and the sharing of sensitive date being required by MSD.

The ComVoices sub-committee was contacted, and finally had a meeting with Minister Tolley where calm heads and co-design were the main discussions.  It was a relief to have a conversation that took on-board sector considerations.

Following these occurrences, the review on the data breach claimed Deputy Chief Executive Murray Edridge, who stepped down after taking responsibility for staff mistakes.

A new plan which included working with the sector was proposed and printed on the MSD site on 24 May 2017.   Since then some service providers have received notices regarding changed plans for their 1 July data collection, and the entire subject is to be revisited by a team working with Minister Adams.

There is more work to be done yet and the final result of this is likely to be dependent on the upcoming election.  The Community and Voluntary sector is not adverse to data collection, in fact, we want to know ourselves how well we are doing for our clients.  So we hope that we can work constructively with everyone to ensure that collection of data is of value and does not incur privacy invasion or unintended adverse consequences.

Ros Rice
Community Networks Aotearoa

More information is available at these places.

Network News May/June 2017

MSD IT Inquiry Not Enough

Media Release 12 April 2017

The announcement of an enquiry into the privacy failure of MSD’s online reporting platform for community organisations required to provide individual client data (ICLD) addresses only one of the Privacy Commissioner’s four recommendations, says ComVoices.

“The just announced enquiry is deflecting us from the real question”, said Trevor McGlinchey, ComVoices Spokesperson.  “The question at the heart of the enquiry should be why are we collecting data that the Privacy Commissioner has said is ‘…excessive, disproportionate to government’s legitimate needs and therefore inconsistent with the privacy principles’?”.

“The staff of social services organisations have a range of professional bodies which provide ethical guidelines about maintaining the privacy of clients.  Not only will these organisations be breaking these ethical guidelines, they will also be forced to work in direct contravention of the Privacy Commissioner’s findings.”

At the moment service providers have been told they must continue to collect the private data of their clients to provide to MSD at a future date.  They have not been told who will be held to account for breaking the privacy principles set out in the Privacy Act.

“The community sector is waiting for leadership from the Minister and MSD about the important issues raised in the Privacy Commissioner’s report,” says McGlinchey.  “This mass collection of data is inappropriate and will directly affect many New Zealand families. This level of surveillance will cause others not to seek help so that they do not become labelled as ‘vulnerable’ and included as a named statistic on a government database. As always the NGO sector is happy to work alongside MSD to find a more appropriate solution to their data needs.”

ComVoices is calling on the Government to put an immediate hold on this policy while it addresses the issues raised by the Privacy Commissioner.

Contact Trevor McGlinchey, ComVoices Spokesperson, phone 04 473 2627

Read more >

Network News April 2017

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.

Inclusive NZ – the story so far
by Deb Stringer, Communications and Marketing Officer, Inclusive NZ

In essence, Inclusive NZ is a federation of organisations and individuals involved in the provision of employment and community support services for disabled people.

But when you really break it down, there’s definitely a bit more to us and the work we do!

Whatever the work though, our main driving forces are always centred on our ultimate goal to make ‘New Zealand 100 per cent accessible to all’ and to remain relevant to the members’ we serve.

Remaining true to our members has not changed since our inception back in 1982, however the name of the organisation has undergone a few name changes over the years.

The most recent one came in early 2015 which saw us move away from the New Zealand Federation of Vocational and Support Services (NZ VASS) in favour of the name Inclusive NZ.

Name changes aren’t the only thing that has evolved over the years, either, and we now support 72 members and member organisations, which hail from all over the country!

To help support our members, the Inclusive NZ team consisting of Tess, Wendy, Deb and Leanne work very hard in a number of different ways.

Firstly, we have a strong belief that our goal of inclusive communities cannot be achieved without active engagement with both the disability sector and wider community sector.

This means that we work with government agencies, disabled people’s organisations, the business sector and other NGOs, and represent our members on a number of advisory groups and networks.

Access to opportunities for learning and information is also a big part of our work, so we offer our members a number of opportunities to network and learn through the various forums, workshops and conferences we regularly hold.

Professional development is another area we throw our support behind and through administering the Training and Workforce Development Fund, on behalf of the Ministry of Social Development, we are able to support those working in the sector to undertake further training opportunities.

In recent times we have been thinking about how we can further support our members, others working in the sector, and the work they do in new and different ways.

That is why we launched the Action Research Project – a project which seeks to build the evidence base around what employment, participation and inclusion services do.

Anyone is able to participate in the project and all they have to do is:

  • Pick a topic that is of interest to them and/or the organisation they  work for
  • Register their project with Inclusive NZ (registration form available on our website)
  • Undertake the research using an action research methodology
  • Share their findings at the Inclusive NZ Action Conference (October 30 – 31st 2017)

We will be providing support and resources to all those who participate!

To find out more and to register your project, visit the Action Research Project Section of the Inclusive NZ website. We would love to have you on board!

For further info about Inclusive NZ visit or “like” them on Facebook

Read more >

Network News March 2017

Roadshow for Volunteers and Volunteering Organisations: Your responsibility in safeguarding children

Child Matters and Community Networks Aotearoa are jointly delivering a nationwide roadshow providing presentations to volunteers and volunteering organisations.

This roadshow will provide education and information to those in the volunteering and community sectors to assist in understanding roles and responsibilities when engaging with vulnerable children and provide access to resources to assist in developing safe child protection systems and environments.

This free presentation is aimed at:

  • Volunteers

  • Community sector organisations

  • Community organisation Board members

Presentation Outline:

  • Introduction to the Vulnerable Children Act (2014) and how this impacts on volunteers and volunteering organisations

  • Understand the role we play in keeping vulnerable children in their communities safe

  • Provision of reference material to support the development of Child Protection Policies, safety checking and safe working practices

  • Overview of child abuse in NZ

  • The importance of organisational child protection policies and how to implement these to keep children, volunteers and community groups safe

Read more >

Network News February 2017

Meet the members

by Kim Cable, Marketing Manager, Community Waikato

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.

Based in Hamilton, Community Waikato is a community organisation that builds the capacity and capability of the community sector in the Waikato by supporting and informing social service organisations. We work alongside groups and organisations understanding that they are the experts in what they do. We bring the resources and processes and the groups we work with hold the experience, knowledge and wisdom. Together we build on their strengths and develop their capacity.

Services that Community Waikato provide include: one-to-one advisory service; mentoring; facilitation; training; information; scholarships; advocacy; Tindall Foundation, and Len Reynolds Trust funding.

In 2000, Trust Waikato CE and Trustees saw that there was a need for capacity strengthening in the community sector in Waikato and set up the Social Service Waikato Trust. By 2002, the first staff and a kaumatua were appointed. In 2007, the Social Services Trust moved to its current premises at the south end of Victoria Street in Hamilton, and changed its name to Community Waikato. The geographic area that Community Waikato service covers is the same as the Trust Waikato funding area, and includes the districts of Thames-Coromandel, Hauraki, Matamata-Piako, Waipa, Waikato, South Waikato, Waitomo, Otorohanga, Ruapehu and Hamilton City.

Currently Community Waikato employs 9 staff. Last year Holly Snape came on board as the newCommunity Waikato Chief Executive. Community wellbeing has been Holly’s driving force for more than a decade. Community development and community wellbeing are high priorities which we can enhance together by engaging in measures to address social, economic and environmental needs. Holly has also joined the board of Community Networks Aotearoa.

There are a number of challenges currently facing the not for profit sector. Changes in government contracting, changes in compliance for these contracts, the pressure on organisations to keep up with demand as inequality and poverty grows and the impact of contestable funding on sector relationships are all challenges that we need to address. But there are also growing opportunities, such as changes in technology that can revolutionise service delivery, the growing professionalism of the sector, the growth in consumer interest in supporting social enterprises, and the potential to build and capitalise on international relationships.

Following on from the highly successful Rising to the Challenge conference in 2015, on the 2-3 August 2017, Community Waikato are hosting another Community Waikato Conference for the community sector. The theme for this conference is ‘Thriving in the 21st Century’. The aim of this conference is to reignite our passions and motivate us to think and act differently. We need to acknowledge what we are doing well and challenge our pre-conceived ideas to think outside the square to ensure we thrive moving forward in the 21st century.

Our sector is operating in a challenging environment, both socially and financially. We need to work smarter and more efficiently to achieve positive outcomes for those we serve while remaining viable and true to our values. The increasing pressure on the community sector to achieve more with less requires us to challenge the way we have done things in the past.

For further info about Community Waikato visit  “like” us on Facebook or contact


on_airDownload and listen to Ros interview Brenda Pilott, National Manager of Social Service Providers Aotearoa, about the new requirements from MSD for contracted service providers to provide the Ministry with identifiable client data (scroll down one programme in the link to find this interview).

To read the ComVoices issues paper on this topic, mentioned in the interview, please visit our website

Read more >

Network News December 2016

Introducing Neighbourhood Support New Zealand (NSNZ)

by Kelsey Scarr, National Manager, NSNZ

Kia Ora to all members, sponsors and stakeholders who are reading this great publication. It is an honour for me to have an article in this newsletter, so a big thank you to Ros and Fionn at Community Networks Aotearoa for the opportunity.

 My name is Kelsey Scarr and I am the National Manager of Neighbourhood Support New Zealand (NSNZ) based in Wellington. I have been in this role since October 2016 and came into this role with passion and the drive to see our organisation grow and be seen as a leader in the community safety and not for profit sectors.

In my previous role I was the Manager of Hutt Safe City Group Charitable Trust which is an organisation based in the Hutt Valley encompassing the governance and administration of four portfolios including Neighbourhood Support, Community Patrols, Junior Neighbourhood Support (JNS) and administration of the CCTV Camera structure. I was in this role for five and a half years and thoroughly enjoyed my role. Hutt Safe City is unique because it works very well and brings together groups that are sometimes fragmented in other cities.

It has been a busy year for Neighbourhood Support both at a national level, and for our fantastic champion groups and committees at local level. We are soon to be announcing our national affiliation package and contestable funding round for the betterment of offices and coordinators throughout New Zealand. This will create a consistent package for all affiliated areas along with striving to increase nationwide opportunities for joint communication, increasing working synergies with key stakeholders, investing in people and refreshing our public image. Read more >

Network News November 2016

“Most great learning happens in groups. Collaboration is the stuff of growth.” – Ken Robinson

On Wednesday 19 October in conjunction with our colleagues from Inclusive NZ, we welcomed our members to Wellington for our first joint Hui. Delegates from both umbrella organisations came from throughout the country for the chance to make connections and explore opportunities for collaboration.

The day began separately with the business of our AGMs before coming together for a World Café.  One important item of business at CNA’s AGM was the election of our Executive Committee for 2016 – 18.  The following were elected: Andrew Beyer, Tess Casey, Denise Lormans, Alan Shanks, Holly Snape, Jo Taylor and Christine West. For further info about the new Exec click here

Following lunch we were joined by Wallace Chapman, host of television’s “Back Benches” (described by The Herald as a sort of “Top Gear” of politics). Wallace expertly facilitated a panel of politicians including Grant Robertson (Labour Party), Jan Logie (Green Party), Ria Pond (NZ First), Ian McKelvie (National Party) and Marama Fox (Maori Party). One of the most popular sessions of the day, the politicians delivered plenty of lively debate on issues including the resourcing of the community and voluntary sector, the ability for all to access education despite personal circumstance and, the increased requirement for evidence and data.

Our guest speaker Brayden Smith of Grant Thornton, wrapped up our day with an informative and very useful presentation on changes affecting the sector.  Among other items, Brayden discussed the new Charities Services reporting requirements and how charities are responding to the new Statement of Service Performance.

It was a pleasure to have so many of our members here in Wellington and the Executive Committee, Ros and Fionn extend their heartfelt thanks to all participants who took time out from their busy schedules to make the Hui such a success – delegates, Wallace, Brayden, the politicians and of course our wonderful colleagues at Inclusive NZ.

Our next major event will be our conference in 2017 and we look forward to seeing you there. In the meantime, here’s some pics from the Hui…



























The holes are getting bigger in the safety net provided by the community sector


ComVoices has recently released the results of its second State of the Sector Survey.

“The second ComVoices State of the Sector Survey of the Community Sector shows that stresses on our organisations are increasing” says Scott Miller, Chair of ComVoices.

“We are facing greater demand for our services, are dealing with greater complexity with less funding from government, and have a greater reliance on alternative funding sources to support the delivery of services.

“The crisis in the sector is worsening and despite discussions with government and its agencies no one appears to be listening” he says.
Read more >

Network News October 2016

Proposed Changes to the Incorporated Societies Act

Following on from the article of the same name in the April issue of this publication, we can let you know that a template to assist with the rewriting of constitutions is now available on our website at  This is a combined trust/society template so take out what doesn’t apply to your organisation. The template has been produced by the Southland Community Law Centre and updated to include the contact officer and mediation/arbitration requirements of the new Act.

The good news is that all changes will have a lengthy “Transition” period of at least two years. This will enable all incorporated societies to take time to revise their constitutions and ensure that they comply with the requirements of the new Act and Regulations once they are passed and put into place.

On the road again…

by Ros Rice, Executive Officer, Community Networks Aotearoa

Two things I love: going down South to where I grew up, and meeting people from C.N.A’s membership face to face. Lucky old me, I got to do both last week in my road trip around the Deep South.

Firstly let me encourage all of you to fly into Queenstown some time in your life in winter or springtime.  The flight dropping down below the snow covered peaks into the intense sunshine and clear air of Central Otago is awe inspiring and I couldn’t stop grinning. As a child my family used to drive up to Queenstown to stay with my granddad and I always feel this deep connection when I arrive there.

A fabulous drive through the Kawaru Gorge and then into Alexandra, another town I spent time in during my childhood. Staying with the beautiful Liz Duggan (Alexandra Blossom Festival Senior Queen) and dinner with Liz and Deidre, Secretary and Chair respectively of Alexandra Council of Social Services, followed by an early AGM the next day. Central Otago is blessed with amazing community minded people, and organisations that look out for people in their area. It’s an honour to meet with many of them.

However, not much time to spare as following the AGM, I was in the car and heading south to Invercargill. The countryside of Southland is green, lush and beautiful, so I took the route through Nightcaps to Gore to feast my eyes on the way. Gore to Invercargill is a quick trip again down memory lane but as hard as I looked I couldn’t see the recently collapsed vat at the Fonterra factory in Edendale.

I made it in time for the meeting in Invercargill at 2.30pm. I don’t think a lot of northern living people realise that Central is only a couple of hours away from Invercargill. Many of my school friends used to take jaunts up to Coronet Peak for a weekend’s skiing when I was a teenager.

I met another group of people who are dedicated and involved in the Southland community. I remembered this time to take a picture at the end of the meeting, although several had to leave before then. Lovely to see everyone, and I was able to hand out information and brochures and some of our C.N.A pens – I like bearing gifts 🙂

Next morning bright and early I was back on the road, heading back to Gore to meet with another C.N.A member, the Community Networking Trust. This had to be a fast meeting as I had another couple of hours on the road to get to Dunedin by midday to meet with people from Connect South. Yes, the Dunedin Council of Social Services (DCOSS) has rebranded. Not a lot of people, but it was just an informal chat, and that’s okay.

Then a couple of days with my daughter and grandchildren.  For the first time ever I stayed in an Airbnb. I got the use of a lovely little cottage all on my own for a very low cost.

Sunday (Day 5) I arrived back home in Wellington exhausted but worth every second. I believe it is important to meet people face to face and to find out what is happening for them. They also can meet me. Too often it is easy to sit in an office in Wellington and lose touch with membership, but C.N.A is ‘the voice of the regions’ and that voice needs to be authentic.

If you want a visit from me at any time.  Just contact C.N.A and if I can do it… I will.  See you soon.

On Air with Ros

Download and listen to Ros talk with Stephanie Clare the new CEO of Age Concern New Zealand.



Making written submissions to influence policy

(from Vol 55, September Issue 2016, Kumara Vine, Community Waikato)

Making submissions is an effective tool that anyone can use so that their voices and views are heard concerning government policies or legislation. It is worth the effort to set aside time to prepare, and to present, written and oral submissions about issues and causes that you are passionate about, and you believe needs change!

1. Define the Problem!
Firstly, it’s important to understand your own concerns about the changes you want made to policies or proposed legislation. So, ask these four key questions to help clarify your thinking and views:

WHY …is it a problem? WHO …is it a problem for? HOW …serious is the problem? WHAT…evidence do you have about the problem? What do you think are the causes?
Read more >

Network News September 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.

At our Hui last year, Community Networks Aotearoa celebrated forty years since our beginning as NZCOSS. One of our member organisations who’ve been in existence almost as long, is the Social Equity and Wellbeing Network (SEWN) from Christchurch.

Known originally as the Christchurch Council of Social Services (CCOSS), and set up by community leaders including SEWN Life Members John Fry (then Community Development Advisor at the city council) and Katherine Peet, the organisation has been in existence since 1979. It changed its name recently to better reflect the nature of what it does and its current membership, not all of whom are social services. (It has also meant less phone calls from locals wanting to talk to the city council!)


SEWN employs Sharon Torstonson as its Executive Director and will shortly recruit a new staff member to assist her. Sharon is currently supported by part-time contractor Michelle, a voluntary Board of seven and the much valued Gwen who looks after SEWN’s admin needs.

With a geographical reach of the city itself and the districts of Selwyn and Waimakariri, SEWN serves a large number of people, including its 50 member organisations. Its monthly newsletter is sent out to 300 subscribers however a recent survey has shown this is widely shared and read by nearer to 700.

Christchurch is a well-networked city, with regular meetings of networks organised around specific issues such as housing, mental health, family violence and social services. Therefore SEWN does not hold regular network meetings like many other CNA members do.  Instead it organises forums around specific topics as needed. Recent examples include looking at how low income families can make sure their fires are clean-burning and efficient, and a major forum to learn about and discuss aspects of marginalisation. The organisation also makes submissions, most recently on the rewrite of the Social Security Act and the Long Term Plan of the Christchurch City Council.


Something unique to Christchurch within New Zealand, is its standing as one of the 100 Resilient Cities (RC100). Pioneered and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, RC100 is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. Sharon has been involved in the draft plan for the city as part of promoting the work of the nfp sector to a wider audience. SEWN has already played an important part in this with the publication of “Holding Hope Together” in 2014, which celebrated the contribution of the sector in the rebuilding of Christchurch communities following the earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011. (photo: Sharon prepares an iconic Christchurch road cone for the launch of “Holding Hope Together” – one of the diverse range of tasks an ED in a small nfp can have!)

One of the challenges facing SEWN and indeed the wider sector in the coming year, is the ongoing task of making the most out of meagre resources while continuing to maintain and build capacity. An opportunity however is continuing to lead and contribute within the sector in terms of the promotion of building resilient communities. SEWN is working with local Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) staff to promote the role of the sector in building resilience, and the need to engage with it when developing civil defence plans.

For further info about SEWN please visit, “like” them on Facebook or contact

On Air with Ros
Download and listen to Ros interview Mark Chenery, co-founder of Common Cause Australia, a non-profit organisation aimed at strengthening intrinsic cultural values. Mark is an alumni of the Anat Shenker-Osorio communications fellowship run by the Centre for Australian Progress.


CNA Biennial Hui Logo RGB for WEB_ ACTUAL

Registrations are now open for our Members’ Hui which will take place in Wellington on Wednesday 19 October.

We are very pleased to be joining with our colleagues from Inclusive NZ for a combined Hui this year.  We will have separate programmes for the first part of the morning and then join together for an informative and fun programme of discussion and presentations following our respective AGMS.

Read more >

Photo: bruceandrobyn