Network News May 2016

What I learnt from Anat Shenker-Osorio

by Ros Rice, Executive Officer Community Networks Aotearoa

Back on March 18 I flew my weary way up to Auckland on the red-eye to attend a one day summit held by the Equality Network.  I was particularly interested in the subject of the Hui which was “talking so people will listen”.

As people who know me can attest, I can talk without breathing for prolonged periods of time, and I am well used to watching my colleagues and friends’ eyes glazing over as I develop my themes and get into convoluted and excruciatingly tangential stories to illustrate my rather simple point.

I suspect it is my years in radio, where talking to the non-responsive microphone gave me a talent for monologues and descriptive language.

But how do I make my point to people who are not only impatient for the discussion but are set in their views anyway, and those views are very different to mine?

I hoped I might learn something.

I was not disappointed.  The highlight of the summit for me was the Skype call in from America from Anat Shenker-Osorio.  Anat Shenker-Osorio is a communications expert, researcher and political pundit whose one-of-a-kind work is challenging the way dozens of organizations and political figures talk about the pressing issues of our time. 

She is a strategic communications consultant who does research to diagnose what is working in her clients messaging, and how to provide fresh new approaches.  Perfect when we are trying to talk about poverty and inequality to a nation with many disbelievers and sceptics.

So what did I learn from Anat’s one hour on Skype?

  1. Research graphs can be interesting and relevant.
  2. We need to remember we are intuitive communicators as people, we need to use that skill.
  3. We are not here to take the temperature, we are here to CHANGE the temperature!
  4. OUR JOB IS: Public Education and to understand where people are capable of going, and what it is that we can do to get them there.  We have the ability to see an issue from multiple perspectives so we need to use language to ‘toggle’ people into the most progressive understanding of the issues and hold them there.
  5. The main barriers are cynicism and exhaustion.
  6. Lift up the truth of people’s resilience and ingenuity against the odds.
  7. Stop talking about the economy as if it needs our help, we are on the side of the people.
  8. Metaphors are important as the base of framing an issue.  This is how we can change people’s perception.  Conceptual metaphors occur at a level of speech that we are often not aware of.
  9. “People are falling further and further behind” suggests the problems are of unknown origin, if we don’t establish that a problem is person-caused, it is cognitively impossible to establish that it can be person-fixed.
  10. It is better to talk about shared values, the kind of world we want, and the kind of people we want to be.  Our problem (inequality) is getting in the way of that vision.
  11. Then introduce your solution, ensuring it meets with current dominant common sense.  There is a difference between alienating and provoking.

These are 11 quick points, and they were born out of examples and research and clarifications, but I think they are all valuable to remember no matter what your message.  She was so impressive I immediately liked her on Facebook.  If you know me, you know that’s my ‘tick’ of “you amaze me – I want to know more.”  Check out Anat’s book “Don’t Buy It: The Trouble with Talking Nonsense about the Economy.” (

Election of School Boards of Trustees

Multicultural New Zealand (New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils) would like to encourage people from ethnic communicates to stand for election to School Boards of Trustees. Elections for Boards of Trustees are being held in June this year.

Vijendran Reddy from Gisborne says that it is also important for the school to engage with the community, and that parents from ethnic communities can provide important community connections for the school.

Anne Degia-Pala from Mangere says “I encourage parents to stand for trustee elections and to be involved with this process. There are many available documents on how to be a trustee, so please take advantage. It is a great opportunity to create a community hub in the school and to be a strategic partner in academic outcomes for your children.”

For more information go to

On air with Ros

Download and listen to Ros interview Deirdre O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Parkinson’s New Zealand. Not funded by governement, this NGO does enormous work in the community. Listen and learn about this illness.

Funding Available

The JR McKenzie Trust fund organisations throughout the country. They support many different initiatives focused on creating a socially just and inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand. Their next funding round opens on 17 May.  For further info visit

The opening of the 2016/17 round of funding from the Community Development Scheme will help fund projects where communities are working to become more self-reliant, resilient, and generate their own solutions to local issues. Successful grant recipients receive funding to employ a community development worker for three years to help their community thrive. The current funding round closes on 18 May.  For further info visit—Crown-Funds—Community-Development-Scheme—requesting-a-grant

Special offer just for members of Community Networks Aotearoa – because we think you’re great!

Facing an increase in your insurance premium? Then Community Networks Aotearoa in association with Rothbury Insurance Brokers can help! This is a package specifically created for Community Groups and Organisations with extremely discounted rates!

Rothbury Insurance- Community Networks (2)

For a free no obligation quote contact Alan or Rod:
Alan: (03) 4716177
Rod: (03) 4703661

To blog, or not to blog…

Here are the links to the latest ComVoices blogs on Community Scoop. Interesting reading as always…
NGOs and trade unions – natural allies in making NGOs great places to work by Brenda Pilott, National Manager Social Services Providers Aotearoa
A generous hospitality? by Phil McCarthy, National Director Prison Fellowship New Zealand
Aroha Mai; Aroha Atu: Giving back is giving Forward by Anya Satyanand, Executive Officer Ara Taiohi Peak Body for Youth Development
Sustainability and social enterprise; questions, questions, questions by Ros Rice, Executive Officer Community Networks Aotearoa

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

Creating places where people love to live, work and play – LGNZ, 24 – 26 July 2016, Dunedin
LGNZ’s 2016 conference will focus on place making – creating places where people love to live, work and play. There will be a strong focus on leading change and building places for tomorrow where families and businesses can prosper. For more information please visit

The Akina Foundation supports people and organisations that have ideas to drive positive or environmental change through social enterprise. For more information about their upcoming workshops please visit

Exult offers training to the community sector in fundraising, governance, marketing, volunteering and management. Please visit for upcoming training workshops.

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.


Photo: bruceandrobyn