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Surprising discoveries and critical friends at a Parliament Breakfast

By | Reports On Meetings And Events, Uncategorized | No Comments

Snap, Crackle and Pop breakfast for MPs and the community sector

6 March 2019 , focus on youth wellbeing.

Read the following commentary from Rod Baxter, Director of Impact, Prince’s Trust New Zealand .

When I first received the invite for this event, I had this preconceived vision of a fancy lavish breakfast with mountains of gourmet cuisine. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead, the breakfast was described as “light”, which is evidently a euphemism for “insufficient”. It’s actually all my fault however, as I was too busy talking to interesting people and missed the vegetarian option. I enjoyed three slices of fruit.

It turns out I was never there for the kai; something more powerful was happening.

Jane Zintl, Ara Taiohi’s CEO, opened in a grounded and balanced way, simultaneously acknowledging a sobering reality for young people with appropriate humour. Jane celebrated our Ministry of Youth Development and connected an undervaluing of this Ministry is an undervaluing of young people. Jane also introduced the Minister for Youth as a “youth worker” and I wished he was wearing the jandals and Warriors shirt referred to.

There’s something very profound in this interaction. It’s the first time in a long time that the youth sector and Government have demonstrated this type of relationship. I heard it once described as a “critical friendship” in a dual sense; it’s critical the sector and government have a partnership and we critique each other in a friendly way.

The Hon. Peeni Henare was similarly and refreshingly grounded in his aspirations for diverse young people. The Minister personally named taiohi in the room and seemed genuinely interested to hear their voices. The forthcoming panel certainly provided space for this.

Esme Oliver started the panel with spoken word. Esme is a young youth work student who shared two raw, honest and processed experiences: first with a foster brother struggling with mental health and secondly one of the most comprehensive bicultural analyses I’ve heard in a while. Praxis are clearly doing a fine job training the incoming generation of youth workers.

Laura O’Connell-Rapira summarised Action Station’s ‘Nga Hauora’ research into youth wellbeing and concluded with a timely challenge about student protests about climate change as demonstrable active citizenship.

Finally, Simon Mareko from the Ministry of Youth Development integrated his extensive youth work experience with his new adventure as a public servant by personalising the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa (launched in 2002) with relevance for our contemporary challenges and with more humour and interactivity.

Collectively, there was a sense of unity connecting the Minister’s desire for up-to-date thinking, Esme’s experiences, Laura’s research, Jane’s sector perspective and Simon’s formal announcement about the YDSA review. And that was the most pleasant surprise: unity. There was an overwhelming humility during dialogue between MPs and the community, together searching for the best ways to serve Aotearoa’s young people.

Personally, I grew up in Wellington and Government has always felt accessible. I notice now that there are added barriers and a greater distance for young people who want to have a say. During the weekend of Te Matatini, I strolled past the Beehive with my cousins and their kids. Reon’s Year 9 and Brooklyn is Year 8. They asked me where Jacinda works and “can we go in for a visit?” At this breakfast, I’ve realised the answer is yes. And we’ll all be better off for it if more young people do.

Although they need to get in quick to the kai, so they get more than three slices of fruit! No taxpayers dollars are wasted! Which is another pleasant surprise.

Snap, Crackle and Pop – Parliamentary Breakfast March 2019

By | Parliamentary Breakfasts | No Comments

Breakfast for MPs and the Community Sector

Hosted by Hon Nicky Wagner MP

Focus: youth wellbeing


  • Panel of young people and youth development practitioners sharing key perspectives, challenges and ways forward for the wellbeing of young people in Aotearoa
  • Commentary from Hon Peeni Henare, Minister for Youth
  • Facilitated discussion on youth wellbeing and the community sector

Click here to read commentary of the breakfast from Rod Baxter, Prince’s Trust New Zealand

ComVoices Meetings – 2019

By | ComVoices Meetings | No Comments

All monthly meetings are held 10.30am to 12 midday on the first Tuesday in the month, Level 7, Ranchhod Tower, 110 Lambton Quay/39 The Terrace, Wellington.

  • Tuesday 5 February
  • Tuesday 5 March
  • Tuesday 3 April
  • Tuesday 7 May
  • Tuesday 4 June
  • Tuesday 2 July
  • Tuesday 6 August
  • Tuesday 3 September
  • Tuesday 1 October
  • Tuesday 5 November
  • Tuesday 3 December

Have your say: ComVoices State of the Sector Survey 2018

By | Media Releases | No Comments

ComVoices biennial survey on the state of the community and voluntary sector in New Zealand is now open. First run in 2014 and then again in 2016, the survey has become a key source of information about the wellbeing of community organisations working across a broad range of community issues and interests.

Previous reports show the sector is under increasing strain with reducing or static funding, increasing complexity of client and community issues, and challenges managing the impact of increasing compliance and contracting expectations.

“We are keen to see what has changed in the past two years. How are community organisations faring and what might that mean for the people of New Zealand?” says ComVoices chair Nicola Sutton.

The reports from the first two surveys were widely used by sector organisations and ComVoices to talk to members of parliament and government agencies. Sutton says that ComVoices is dependent on the sector providing the data and so encourages community organisations of all shapes and sizes to complete the survey. “We need data from local groups run by volunteers and local fundraising just as much as we need data from larger organisations with paid staff and government contracts,” says Sutton.

The 2018 ‘State of the Sector’ report, due to be published early 2019, will include comparative data from earlier surveys and a commentary on current issues and trends facing the sector.

ComVoices invites all community sector organisations to add their voice to the Survey, which can be accessed via this link

The survey should take 10 – 13 minutes to complete.

The survey will close 5pm, 19 November 2018


Snap, Crackle and Pop – a report on the first of the ComVoices Breakfast series

By | Reports On Meetings And Events | No Comments

The background

Recently, ComVoices hosted the first of a series of breakfast events that aspire to create a new kind of relationship between Parliamentarians and the community sector, through wānanga style breakfasts that explore areas of mutual interest. We hope that through shared learning, we can build a different kind of conversation and relationship between our sector and MPs.

ComVoices is a Wellington based network of national community and voluntary sector organisations. Collectively we represent a vast and diverse range services that span Aotearoa’s breadth and support communities across the country. We’re a broad network, and as a network we work to our many strengths, collaborating in the knowledge that we each bring something important from our sphere within the wider sector to the table. We identify issues of common interest, share insights and work to make great things happen.

Late last year we canvased the idea with around 20 Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum. With resounding support from the crew we spoke to at a conceptual level, we planned a first breakfast with a special guest, some evidence about our current state, and some co-design of topics for further events. Poto Williams, a fabulous Assistant Speaker of the House, agreed to host. ComVoices members invited along people who are delivering services on the ground. And early one morning in very late March, with the first real southerly of the year blowing cold round the Beehive, we gathered for kai and kōrero and talked about what awesomeness would look like in the relationship between the sector and Parliament.

What we talked about

People talked about busting silos, more information flowing between the buildings of government and the community sector, relationships rather than transactions. Everyone present wanted a better understanding between decisionmakers and the people delivering on the ground, based on open, honest, trusted and interactive relationships.

There was also a common desire to establish personal and professional connections, and through these connections generate what is needed to permanently change the conditions for New Zealanders for the better- rather than fixes shaped by the electoral cycle. Breakfasters wanted to be equal partners in a cohesive system, for the system to create shared solutions and participatory and accessible modes of communication.

The road map for future breakfasts

Having outlined what awesome would look like, there was even more snap crackle and pop as we designed a road map through topics for exploration at future breakfasts. A collection of these, in no particular order, follow:

  • Taking a community sector topic – like mental health or homelessness – and analysing it from a wellbeing perspective, using the living standards framework that Treasury have published in draft form
  • Creating conversations around ‘tricky’ issues and work it through to the point of action
  • The contracting/commissioning landscape for services across the country
  • What’s the shape of leadership in the sector?
  • Hearing the voices of the sector- being heard
  • A session focused on young people…

This last suggestion is the first one we’ll be picking up – ComVoices are cooking up a special breakfast where young people working in our sector will give their views of the future of our democracy, our economy and our communities.

Watch this space!

ComVoices Meetings – 2018

By | ComVoices Meetings | No Comments

All monthly meetings are held 10.30am to 12 midday on the first Tuesday in the month in the Community Hub Board room, Level 4, 120 Featherston Street, Wellington.

  • Tuesday 13 February
  • Tuesday 6 March
  • Tuesday 3 April
  • Tuesday 1 May
  • Tuesday 5 June
  • Tuesday 3 July
  • Tuesday 7 August
  • Tuesday 4 September
  • Tuesday 2 October
  • Tuesday 6November
  • Tuesday 4 December

Party Responses: ComVoices Election 2017 – Briefing for Political Parties

By | Publications | No Comments

We’ve asked all major political parties to respond in writing to the three issues raised in our briefing so that members could compare the policy approaches and level of commitment of each party.

To date we have received five responses; the Green, Labour, Maori, National and  The Opportunities Parties (TOP).

Other party responses will be added when they are provided to us.

 Read the Green, Labour, Maori, National, and TOP responses here


ComVoices Election Issues 2017

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ComVoices speaks for non-profit services working to support people and build strong, healthy communities.

Many families are struggling to meet basic needs while the services designed to support them are also in a precarious financial situation. Communities are no longer places where everybody can participate and thrive.

The three things that would make a difference, and what you can do this election.

Read the full document here