Update 3: Recovery and Long-term Sustainability for the Community Sector

by Rochelle Stewart-Allen

This week, community leaders met again to continue exploring how to build recovery and long-term sustainability for the tangata whenua, community and voluntary sector in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Read about our last korero on 5 February 2021 here

Read about our korero on 10 August 2020 here

Read about our initial recommendations of a way forward for the community sector post-COVID here

Read about Hui E!’s work with Volunteering New Zealand, Philanthropy New Zealand and the Centre for Social Impact on the ‘Time to shine, time to take stock, time to shape our future’ survey here

We continue to issue a call for community leaders keen to take ownership and work together to drive changes for our sector. Reach out to us at to join future koreros.

Our third sector discussions

A group of community leaders in Aotearoa met again on 10 February to discuss more about what’s required to improve core relationships between the community sector and government.

Identifying key focus areas

  • We agreed there is a need to promote understanding about the community sector’s contribution to wellbeing in Aotearoa. This included within the community sector itself, and with central / local government, Ministers, media and in public opinion.
  • We affirmed how diverse community groups are and felt this was particularly demonstrated during the COVID lockdown and over the past year.
  • We think it will be helpful for the community sector to develop 3-4 statements about our sector that everyone in the sector can use publicly to re-enforce core messaging.
  • We acknowledged as a sector we are more than deliverers of programmes and services.
  • We believe there is a need for understanding and acknowledgement about the wider role the sector provides eg. providing opportunities for participation, growing community leadership, building social cohesion, making people feel like they belong, contributing to core components of our democracy.
  • We think building trusted rather than transactional relationships with government is vital through sharing our success stories, demonstrating impacts, validating what we deliver and providing opportunities for government to learn.
  • We acknowledged the ability of community organisations to rapidly respond to major events due to being fully embedded into their communities and able to directly respond to needs at a set time.
  • We discussed the potential to issue best practice guidelines to help the community sector measure outcomes, being mindful of the ability for smaller community organisations to be able to respond.
  • We affirmed the need to have diverse and inclusive voices representing the sector to government.
  • We are interested to ask government what worked / didn’t work during their interactions with the community sector during the COVID lockdown and feed that back into our sector’s mahi.
  • We discussed the value of re-establishing the Office of the Community and Voluntary Sector – how this would generate a starting point to educate the public sector, help clarify the wider role of the community sector, define ways to improve sector / government relationships, and would encourage consistency across government.
  • We suggest building community engagement into the performance criteria for Chief Executives in the public service to demonstrate action and genuine government commitment.
  • We would like to see government using the Charities Act Review as a model of best practice and how to do things differently, taking the lessons learnt from the COVID lockdown.

What’s next?

Our final workshop will be held on 15 February to finalise our korero. Stay tuned for the next update. A reminder if you would like to participate in this mahi, please reach out to us at

Read our first update on recovery and long-term sustainability for the community sector.

Read more about the survey results on how COVID-19 impacted the tangata whenua, community and voluntary sector.

Download the dataset from the COVID-19 survey and do your own analysis.