Reflections on 2021: Hopeful and proud


As the year draws to a close, we’ve been reflecting on our work at Hui E! It’s been a hard year for many organisations and the communities they’re supporting. We could probably list 100 things that have been pretty tough. But in the spirit of the festive season, instead the Hui E! team have put their heads together and agreed on the good stuff.

Here are five things that make us feel hopeful about the coming year:   

1. You all 

The organisations in the tangata whenua, community and voluntary sector. Leaders and kaimahi in the sector have demonstrated their strength, commitment and passion again this year, in the face of huge challenges. You’re the people holding the community up, and we’re in awe of the work you do.   

2. Outside the box thinkers  

While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges, the response from many has been to collaborate and innovate. It’s been exciting to see people stretch their creative thinking and problem-solving.  

3. People saying no  

We’re admiring those that are getting better at setting down boundaries and saying no when their plate is already full, in favour of taking care of their own wellbeing. It’s a difficult skill to learn and put into action, but an important one to master if our organisations are going to be healthy and sustainable.   

4. Whakawhanaungatanga  

Our recent hauora wellbeing survey showed that the extensive networks our sector has are our strength. When the going gets tough, we can usually connect with people we already know to find solutions. We’re not reliant on government or funders to make sure our communities are safe and cared for.  

5. Moves by government to support marginalised communities  

We’ve been heartened by the establishment of the Ministry for Ethnic Affairs and the coming Ministry for Disabled People. To us it’s an acknowledgement that some groups have been left behind, and they need more support and recognition. We’re hopeful the new ministries will engage in meaningful ways with the experts – that is, the community organisations and community advocates already supporting ethnic communities and people with disabilities.  

Here are a few things that have made our team feel pretty proud this year:  

  1. Our collaborative approach  

We are all about working together! Projects are much more fun with partner organisations. Some of the partners we’ve really appreciated this year are Volunteering New Zealand, Philanthropy New Zealand, Inspiring CommunitiesComVoices and Charities Services. We’ve also taken the lead on the development of Aotearoa’s SDG Alliance, and we’re pretty excited to see what this group will do in 2022.  

2. Our webinars 

This year we have covered everything from Charities Law Reform to how to pitch yourself and your work in one sentence. Being able to deliver these topics online has meant we’ve been able to include people from all over Aotearoa. It’s been great to meet so many different people, even though it was virtually!  

3. Our Board’s work on the Treaty relationship model  

Our Board worked really hard and had some courageous conversations about the Te Tiriti, culture, values, worldviews and how it all fits in with governance of an organisation like ours. The result was our new Statement of Intent, which we think sets great foundations for Hui E! going forward.   

4. Expanding our grant writing support programme  

The Hoa Pūtea Moni programme has seen 27 volunteers matched with 52 community organisations, many of them tackling a funding application for the first time. We know that being walked through it by a skilled volunteer made a big difference, and we’re really pleased to be able to provide practical help in such an important area.   

5. We amplified the voices of our community organisations  

For a second year we captured the thoughts of more than 600 organisations in the tangata whenua, community and voluntary sector and shared the results with decision-makers. The picture didn’t surprise us – organisations are facing increased demand with the same or less resources; and organisations are showing their usual knack for innovation and collaboration. We delivered a set of recommendations which can be implemented by government and funders, both immediate and medium-term solutions, that would better support the sector. Read about it on this page. 

Kia pai tō koutou Kirihimete!