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With community-led development, we work within five guiding principles developed by Inspiring Communities


  • Grow from shared local visions
  • Build from strengths
  • Work with diverse people and sectors
  • Grow collaborative local leadership
  • Learn by doing


Principle 1 - Grow from shared local visions

“Successful communities recognise that the future is something they can build for themselves. They take the time to develop a vision of the future they want, and then use a process that helps them to achieve their goals.

Achieving the future you want takes hard work. But successful communities understand that the things they dream about will only become real through great effort, determination and teamwork.

Sometimes the vision isn’t written down but there is a common and shared understanding about what the community is working towards and activities and action are guided by this. In some communities the vision has been there for decades and has been passed on from one generation to another." Quote from the New Zealand Futures Trust

Principle 2 - Build from strengths

The best way to develop your community, hapū or iwi is to build on the strengths that are already within it.

Principle 3 - Work with diverse people and sectors

Your community, hapū or iwi is more than just the schools, families, shops, churches, sports clubs, marae, local charities, workplaces, politicians – it may be all or some of these. 

Community-led development works best when all parts of your community, hapū or iwi work together to pull in the same direction.

Principle 4 - Grow collaborative local leadership

Community-led development is about local people in the community, hapū or iwi taking the lead, rather than others from outside. We all lead at different times. This could be at work, in our families, playing sport, in the marae or church kitchen, or at play centre. Building local leadership involves all of your community, hapū or iwi supporting people to develop their strengths and work together.

Principle 5 - Learn by doing

Each community-led development journey began with the community, hapū, iwi beginning to set visions and goals for the future and develop plans for how to get there, working with the people, the ideas and the resources available to them. At each stage, it is important to reflect on how things went or what is happening, and to also think and talk about what else is possible.

Read about how these community-led development principles have been brought to life.

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