Our General Manager reflects on the 2019-2020 year

By Rochelle Stewart-Allen, Pou Kaiārahi (General Manager)

So much has changed for Hui E! Community Aotearoa over the past year, but we remain  focussed and committed in our role as a peak body for the tangata whenua, community and

voluntary sector.

People’s Report on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs

We started the year by launching the first draft of Aotearoa New Zealand’s ‘People’s Report on the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals’ in July 2019. The role Hui E! played in the creation of the report was critical to its success. This affirmed our leadership role and strong links between the wider community sector, the government and other sectors.

It was a privilege to have our Kaiwhakahaere Kaupapa (Project Manager), Ronja Ievers, and the co-editors of the People’s Report presenting at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum in New York in July 2019, bringing an important civil society voice to an international stage. The final version of the report was released in November 2019 and is available on our website.

Impact of COVID-19 on Hui E!’s mahi

When I came on-board at the end of January 2020, it was impossible to foresee how completely the world would pivot as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of our lives. Just six weeks after I started, Aotearoa New Zealand entered our first lockdown. A key part of Hui E!’s response was the speed with which we adapted and adjusted. I want to particularly acknowledge Ronja for the tremendous mahi she undertook during this time. Our board has also been strongly responsive, adaptive and supportive during these months, which has also been greatly appreciated.

Hoa Pūtea Moni / Funding Partnership Programme

The first initiative we undertook during lockdown was our hoa pūtea moni / funding partnership programme. The programme paired community goodwill to grassroots action – matching volunteer grant writers with community groups who needed to apply for funding. We reached new grassroots community groups, many of whom had previously had no contact with Hui E!

Educating Political Parties Webinar

Our Educating Political Parties webinar in June 2020 was held in collaboration with our partners ComVoices, Sue Barker Charities Law and Trust Democracy. Shifting this event online made attendance significantly easier for both the political party representatives and the audience. We released our Webinar Toolkit afterwards to share our learnings with others wanting to run similar online events.

National Survey on the Impacts of COVID-19 on the Sector

We also began work on a national survey about the impacts of COVID-19 on the sector. This project ran as a partnership between Hui E!, Centre for Social Impact, Philanthropy New Zealand and Volunteering New Zealand. The survey collected information in May and June 2020 and over 1,400 organisations provided valuable feedback. It was a unique opportunity to capture the effects of such an important moment in our history.

Engagement with the sector

Throughout the year we continued sharing our regular updates through our website, social media channels and monthly pānui with the sector, key stakeholders and supporters. During the lockdown, our channels became an important vehicle to share vital COVID-19 information targeted to the needs of the sector.

We continued to work with government to build relationships, generate understanding, and encourage and influence policy change. We have also continued our work alongside funders to try to remove barriers and create pathways to improve funding access.

Hui E!’s important role as a peak body

Throughout lockdown and beyond, Hui E!’s key role in advancing the causes of the tangata whenua, community and voluntary sector has been affirmed. We have seen our initiatives have practical effect from the grassroots through to political leadership.

As we proceed in these uncertain times, Hui E! will keep focused on our mission. We will help build the capability and capacity of community groups. We will broker and build relationships to improve positive outcomes for both the sector and its organisations. We will advocate on behalf of the sector to improve systems and processes.

We look forward to working alongside you.

Read our Co-Chairs’ reflection on the 2019-2020 year here