Update 4: Recovery and Long-term Sustainability for the Community Sector

by Rochelle Stewart-Allen

Community leaders met again for a fourth time to explore building recovery and long-term sustainability for the tangata whenua, community and voluntary sector in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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 sector discussions

Community leaders met again on 23 February to discuss more about what’s required to improve core relationships between the community sector and government.

Key focus areas

  • We started to look at prioritising the key focus areas we identified in our last session to determine which would make the most impact on improving the community sector’s relationship with government
  • We reiterated the need for trusted relationships with government and that results or outcomes of any of these priorities can be expected to assist that to happen
  • We acknowledged that building trusted relationships are at the heart of everything from a values point of view for the community sector, and trusted relationships will really underpin better understanding by government about the sector’s contribution to Aotearoa’s wellbeing
  • As we build trusted relationships with government, the community sector also needs to learn from where we are now and move forward in a new way to increase our sustainability.
  • We agreed that asking government what worked during COVID would be useful feedback to lead towards building trusted relationships and better delivery models going forward
  • Feedback from the government could then be combined with what the sector saw as most valuable in their engagement with government during the COVID lockdowns, continued response and recovery.
  • We continued to support building community engagement into the performance criteria for Chief Executives in the public service to show genuine government commitment and respect for the sector’s mana and contribution.
  • We continued to discuss the potential to re-establish the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector (Office C&V)
  • Having an Office C&V would be a vehicle to help achieve better government buy-in to the community sector’s mahi, however there are other possible vehicles that could do the same thing
  • An Office C&V would likely help the government better manage their relationships with the community sector
  • There is concern about a re-established Office C&V aiming to help change government but without achieving any real or significant impact for the community sector.
  • We agreed there remains a real lack of awareness on the government’s side about the significance and impact of the community and voluntary sector, and the challenges and opportunities
  • We also see the government finding it difficult to understand the community sector’s contributions aside from service delivery.
  • We discussed about how the community sector’s diversity has diluted our core messaging and there is a need for clear and agreed statements about our community sector’s mahi
  • These key statements can then be shared and freely used by the community sector to better explain our contribution to Aotearoa
  • This will ensure we are also demonstrating how our sector builds social capital as well as deliver services.
  • We acknowledged that we’ve seen more appreciation for our sector’s mahi during COVID and it’s important to capture why that is and how to increase that support.

What’s next?

We agreed to go back to the wider community sector and seek their feedback on the suggested focus areas and recommended priorities.

There will be a FREE public korero on 31 March 2021, 12pm-1pm, online as part of Hui E!’s Summer Series | He Raupapatanga o Te Raumati to discuss the identified focus areas and incorporate wider community sector input. This session is in partnership with Volunteering New Zealand and Inspiring Communities.

A reminder if you would like to participate in this mahi, please reach out to us at