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United leadership group forging ahead

The Wairoa Community Partnership Group is an ambitious initiative and one that is proving successful.

The group was formed two years ago around the Council table to provide the people of the Wairoa district with united leadership.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said Council was aware there needed to be a better way of communicating between all service providers government agencies, iwi and local and community organisations.

“Council wanted a platform to enable people to work collaboratively with a whole of community and government approach to making change.”

The concept of the group was born out of a need to have representation from iwi, local, regional, intersectoral and interagency decision-makers who make decisions that have a bearing on the people of the Wairoa district.

Mr Little said in the initial stages of forming the group, it was decided by the group members to separate it from local government legislation and constraints by running it as a stand-alone community committee.

“It is important that the outcomes are determined by the community. The approach has been to look at ways whereby strategies and outcomes are led by the community and supported by the relevant government agencies.

“Our people know the answers to the challenges we face here in Wairoa, and we need to figure out how we support the great work being undertaken by our community.

“We knew it was always going to be a challenge to get all these organisations and different personalities working together.

“It was always expected to take a while to get off the ground and to get a diverse group of people with different agendas all walking in the same direction, and we have now achieved that.”

It is not a closed group and currently comprises around 10-15 people including representatives from local organisations and iwi along with regional representation for the Police, health, education, social services and corrections.

It is chaired by Mr Little, who says having a viewpoint from a range of provider perspectives enables the group to look at what is happening in the district’s communities from a holistic viewpoint.

“Over the past year, we have really gained traction as we work towards achieving a more united community.

“Now that we are established the group has been split into a governance group, which meets every three months, and an implementation group which meets monthly.

The importance of the group was recognised by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones during his first visit to Wairoa when he gave the group $150,000 to employment opportunities.

The result of that funding was the formation of Wairoa Job Shop which has resulted in 25 rangatahi gaining employment.

“The success of the group was demonstrated by Wairoa’s parliament showcase with Government Ministers which signified the commitment of the group with the entire trip funded by the agencies involved with the group.”

The group is also spearheading Kakapa, an initiative to uplift whanau wellbeing by improving economic and social development through business and social enterprise.

Mr Little said he has never before seen such a united front where everybody is working for the same cause - the betterment of Wairoa.”

“The Community Partnership Group is going from strength to strength, and I am really looking forward to its future successes.”

12 July 2019

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