Our process is a taonga to us. The ‘what’ we do is less important than the ‘how’ we do it. Our process is built up over what we have learnt over the last 30 years. It helps us to work in a way that brings out the best in whānau, hapori and ourselves.
Real life projects in action are important. They are where hapori want to put their energy, and how we build relationships. This mahi is where we play, try things out and learn. Te Hiko’s role as a centre for community innovation pushes us beyond the mahi, and into the ako. We believe that learning and sharing is a core part of making sustainable change – the how and why of community innovation.
These are our processes and what we are learning out of the ‘doing’.
We’re okay with mess, we’re okay with having to speed up or slow down, we’re okay with the plan changing, we’re okay with dropping everything and heading off to where we need to be. That’s the reality of working with community, and we practice that every day.
At Wesley Community Action, our practice framework – Te AraWēteriana – keeps us grounded and clear within that messiness.
For each initiative we support we ask ourselves some key questions to ensure we are practicing community innovation.
1. Are we privileging community voice?
2. Are we making new ideas (big and small) visible?
3. Are we testing ideas (big and small)?
4. Are we sharing, growing and debating ideas with others?
5. Are we contributing to bigger impact and growing capability?
6. Are we being respectful of people’s trauma and taking a healing approach?
7. Are we working in a Kaupapa Te Tiriti way to support decolonisation?
Te Hiko is guided by Wesley Community Action’s commitment to becoming a Kaupapa Te Tiriti Organisation. This commitment flows through all our mahi. This means that we keep a focus on ensuring that the promises made in Te Tiriti O Waitangi are given the fullest effect possible tosupport a just, caring, and vibrant Aotearoa. We see this kaupapa as mission imperative.
This commitment is visible in the partnerships we have. If you work with Te Hiko, you will see that we have real honest positive relationships with the hapori we work in – that’s the best bit of our mahi.
To dig deeper into this commitment, visit our resource page about Te Tiriti and Community Innovation.
It’s a spark that makes a break from the way things have normally been done – either small or large – that creates a positive impact in surprising and interconnected ways on the systems we are a part of. It emerges from a specific community and is shaped by that community’s knowledge and values.
For us – it means we focus on communities excluded from the mainstream. It means working together to innovate local economic systems that grow wellbeing and the thing that really matter to people.
The Tamarak Institute define it as “change, for good, with and within a community”.
We are learning alongside one of our partners Inspiring Communities on our process. Their theory of change sets out how community-led processes build on themselves to create change.