Helping New Zealand build strong communities


How this programme works

The Community-Led Development Programme encourages communities, hapū and iwi to achieve their goals by working together, building on their strengths, encouraging wide community engagement, and developing local leaders and action plans that help measure what they are achieving.

Through this programme, the Department will partner with communities, hapū and iwi for up to five years to achieve locally owned visions and goals, by following five core principles for community-led development. These are:

  • shared local goals driving action and change
  • using existing strengths and assets
  • many people and groups working together
  • building diverse and collaborative local leadership
  • adaptable planning and action informed by outcomes.

You can learn what the principles look like in action through the stories of the communities that partnered with us for the Community-Led Development pilot.

The Department will invest expert advice, support and funding in the communities, hapū and iwi we partner with through this programme.

We will also work with other government agencies, local authorities, tangata whenua, local service providers, funders and businesses to help participating communities achieve their locally led initiatives.  Partnering in this way will give communities, hapū and iwi access to many different sources of expert advice, support and funding.

Who can participate?

This programme is for communities of place; communities of interest or attribute within a place; and for hapū and iwi within Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Communities of place are people who share a common location where they live, work or spend time.  This may be all of the people in a neighbourhood or small town.
  • Communities of interest within a place are people in a defined location who share a common passion.   An example may be people in South Dunedin interested in including older people in their community.
  • Communities of attribute within a place are people who share a common personal feature or identity.  An example may be the deaf community of a city such as Hamilton.

In our experience, the community-led development approach works best when the location or number of people involved is not too large.  We will consider this when selecting communities, hapū or iwi to partner with us in the programme.  It is hard to be exact, but a large local board area within Auckland, for example, or a nationwide community of interest or attribute would be considered too large and broad for this approach to community-led development to be effective.

The focus of this programme is for communities, hapū and iwi to work together, following the community-led development principles to achieve their visions and goals.  It is not to help community groups or agencies with their ongoing programmes, service delivery, or service development priorities.

Becoming a programme partner

Communities, hapū and iwi interested in participating as programme partners may fill in an online expression of interest at any time or contact us to discuss your interest in community-led development.

To be considered, your community, hapū or iwi needs to show that it already has or is developing a shared vision and way of working that involves all the community, hapū or iwi, and that there is a genuine commitment to the community-led development principles.

All requests for partnership will be considered by the Department through an interactive process, where we work with you to understand your interest in the programme and your readiness to take part.  

We hope to identify between six and ten communities, hapū and iwi to become our first Community-Led Development Programme partners.

More programme partners are likely to be selected during the year, based on programme capacity and the readiness of those making partnership requests.

If the Department selects your community, hapū or iwi, you will be invited to enter into a long-term (2-5 year) partnership agreement with us.  We will then work with you to provide intensive advice and support.  As you put your plans in place, you will also be able to request funding investment to support you to achieve your community, hapū or iwi goals.

Readiness - how will you know you are ready for this programme

Taking a community-led development approach is a journey that requires a serious commitment.  Programme partnerships are for communities, hapū and iwi that are well along the journey.

We encourage you to contact us to discuss your interest in community-led development and to explore with us whether it is a good fit for you and your community, hapū or iwi.

The journeys of the Community-Led Development pilot participants and the outcomes they achieved provide useful information if you are thinking about making a request for partnership in the new programme.

We have also developed some examples and discussion questions based around the five community-led development principles. We recommend that you use these examples and questions to help you find out if this programme is right for your community, hapū or iwi.  Please contact us to discuss the principles and let us help you work out if your community, hapū or iwi is ready to embark or has already begun its community-led development journey.

Request for Partnership – what you need to do

If you feel that participating in this programme will be right for your community, hapū or iwi, then we invite you to send us information through our new online system.

The questions we ask on the Request for Partnership online form are:

  • Describe your community (this could include physical description, population, social and cultural demographics, core strengths and assets, key relationships, issues, challenges, successes and your journey to date).
  • What are the shared aspirations and hopes (vision) for your community/hapū/iwi?
  • Why is working together towards these goals important for your community/hapū/iwi now?
  • Describe the people/groups, including tangata whenua and different members of your community/hapū/iwi, who support this vision and how they have been involved so far.
  • How will the community/hapū/iwi members, tangata whenua and different groups participate and contribute to create change?
  • What resources does your community/hapū/iwi already have that could be used?
  • What planning has been done?
  • How will you measure progress towards achieving your community/hapū/iwi aspirations and help the community/hapū/iwi learn as you go?

The Request for Partnership form is available in our online system. Information on How to login is available here for you to create a profile for yourself and/or to create a profile for your community.

It may be helpful to talk to us first.  We encourage you to contact us before you begin to fill in the form online.  

What happens if you make a request for partnership?

All requests for partnership will be considered by the Department through an interactive process.  This means we will:

  • visit you to learn more about your vision and goals and your journey so far
  • talk to you about the five community-led development principles and how they are in action in your community, hapū or iwi
  • complete an assessment tool with you to reach an agreement about your readiness to participate in this programme, and to identify what resources and support will help you achieve your goals
  • talk with members of your community, hapū or iwi, and also the local council, local service providers, government agencies, businesses and local/regional funders to better understand their involvement and support for your goals
  • consider whether your location, size and strengths are a good fit for the community-led development approach
  • find out whether you are able to manage and support staff and manage funds, or if you have a fund-holder or supporting (backbone) organisation  available to help you.

When a Request for Partnership is assessed as ready, it will be sent to the Department’s Crown Panel to make the selection recommendation.

Who decides?

A Crown Panel advises the Department about which communities, hapū or iwi could be invited to join the Community-Led Development Programme. 

The Department’s Manager, Southern Operations leads the Crown Panel’s discussions and takes action on their recommendations.

The Crown Panel includes a community member with a community-led development focus and representatives from:

  • Te Atamira Taiwhenua, the Department’s kaumātua advisory group
  •  the Ministry of Pacific Peoples
  •  the Office of Ethnic Communities.

The Crown Panel will meet on 21 March 2017 to consider Requests for Partnership that have been received and assessed as ready by 15 February; and will recommend those who will be invited to participate. Up to ten programme partners will be invited from this first selection process.

More programme partners are likely to be selected as the year progresses, depending on our capacity and the readiness of communities, hapū or iwi requesting partnerships for their community-led initiatives.

Building a partnership – what happens

If your community, hapū or iwi is selected to participate in the programme, you will be invited to enter into a long-term (2-5 year) partnership agreement with us. 

We will develop the partnership agreement together. We expect that the agreement will include:

  • a shared commitment to  follow community-led development principles and work as partners
  • details of the assets  and strengths the community, hapū or iwi will bring to the partnership
  • details of  the intensive support the Department will provide
  • details about the ability to request funding investment on a flexible basis to help you achieve your locally owned visions and goals
  • a commitment to provide training for the community, hapū, iwi leadership group and other key people, such as any workers
  • the agreed process to track progress and identify the outcomes achieved
  • the agreed process for managing any disputes that might arise.

A partnership agreement will usually be for five years.   Once it has been agreed, we will begin to work alongside you, providing advice and support as agreed.  You will also then be able to submit requests for funding investment in support of your community, hapū or iwi goals.

Working together – how we will work with you during our partnership

One of our community advisors will be assigned to work with you.  They will begin by working with you to develop a relationship of trust and partnership, and will be available to provide long-term support.  You can find out more about how we work here.

The advisor will use the information from the Request for Partnership process to work out what support may be needed and where this should come from. This support will include access to templates and processes for you to use in your community, hapū or iwi to help you achieve your goals and to help you follow the community-led development principles.            

As a programme partner, you will be encouraged to contribute to a national community of practice, to share experiences with other communities, hapū and iwi in the programme, to learn from each other and to give and receive support.