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Community Development Resource Kit

SECTION A: Community Development Practice

SECTION B1: Setting Up A Community Group - Introduction

SECTION B2: Setting Up A Community Group - Legal Structures

SECTION B3: Setting Up a Community Group - Incorporated Societies

SECTION B4: Setting Up a Community Group - Charitable Trusts

SECTION C: Planning and Managing

SECTION D1: Employment Matters - Agreements

SECTION D3: Employment Matters - Support

SECTION D2: Employment Matters - Recruitment

SECTION E: Running Meetings

SECTION F: Project Management

SECTION G: Financial Management

SECTION H: Funding

SECTION I: Keeping Good Records

SECTION J: Technology - The Internet

SECTION K: Political Processes and Submissions

SECTION L: Legislation

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SECTION A: Community Development Practice

Community Development: Principles and Processes

Definitions of Community Development

1. United Nations:

2. The Association of Metropolitan Authorities in the United Kingdom:
      "Firstly it is based on the importance and ability of people to act together to influence and assert control over social, economic and political issues which affect them. In this sense, community development focuses on the relationship between people and a range of institutions and decision-makers (public and private) that govern their everyday experiences. Community development aims to effect a sharing of power and create structures that give genuine participation and involvement.

      “Secondly, community development is about involving the skills, knowledge and experience of people in taking initiatives to respond to social, economic and political problems. This will usually involve co-operation or negotiation at some level with statutory agencies.

      “Thirdly, community development must take a lead in confronting the attitudes of individuals and practices of institutions that discriminate against disadvantaged groups. Community development is well placed to involve people in these issues, which affect all of us. Community development can be seen as a key element in any democracy since it stimulates and supports participation and involvement and thereby encourages active citizenship".
3. Ottawa Charter:
      "Successful social development begins at a local level. An enabling social policy framework will assist communities to be self-reliant but Government cannot, of itself, create strong communities or social cohesion.

      “We are committed to helping communities plan, organise and carry out social development initiatives that reflect their unique needs and aspirations. By using strategic and other planning tools to build development capacity, communities can prepare and position themselves to build new futures out of adversity, and can capitalise on opportunities for local social development initiatives".
4. New Zealand Context:

In New Zealand, community development is recognised as a methodology utilised by a wide range of professions and also as a specific role or profession in its own right. Community development practise is also set within a broader international context based on agreements our national government has become signatory to and foundation agreements such as the Treaty of Waitangi.

New Zealand definitions include one developed in 1997 by the Community Advisory Service of Internal Affairs.

International Context: NZ Agreements

New Zealand is a party to key international conventions dealing with human concerns and the alleviation of poverty. The United Nations (UN) recognises the importance of community development as a process that involves people and communities in shaping their own development, in documents such as the Agenda 21 Document.

1. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992 recognised that empowering communities is an important aspect in the drive to combat world poverty. The experience internationally is that top-down development is not effective, and that in order to achieve sustainable development at every level of society, programmes must be developed in partnership with communities that are affected.

2. The Agenda 21 Document, which contains the outcomes of the Rio conference, explicitly notes that 'people's organisations, women's groups and non-governmental organisations are important sources of innovation and action and have a strong interest and proven ability to promote sustainable livelihoods'.

3. The Ottawa Charter signed in 1986:

      New Zealand is a signatory to the charter, which establishes, among other things, the framework for Healthy Cities programmes; an international commitment to address issues facing people and their well-being and safety. The Healthy Cities Programme endorses community development as an integral aspect of its model.
4. New Zealand was also represented at the World Summit for Social Development held in Copenhagen in March 1995. The declaration states as a principle and goal that governments "recognise that empowering people to strengthen their own capacities is a main objective of development and its principle resource. Empowerment requires their participation in the formulation and implementation of decisions determining the functioning and well-being of our societies".

Further information on the international context can be found at:

Community Development Practice

Key Principles

There are several key elements to community development in the current literature:

1. People define their own problems and issues.

2. People work together as a group rather than as individuals.

3. Actions increase the self reliance of the community and its individuals rather than increase dependency on others.

4. The role of community development workers is to facilitate this process rather than organise it on behalf of others.

5. Community development involves engagement in political processes and often negotiation between groups with conflicting interests. It also involves elements of social change whereby disadvantaged or minority groups provide challenges to the attitudes or power relations in society.

Susan Kenny in Developing Communities for the Future: Community Development in Australia (1994) provided a useful summary of the practice framework of community development workers:

  • Community development requires specific attitudes, capacities, knowledge and skills
  • The idea of collective empowerment is the linchpin of community development. The notion of empowerment is complex. It draws on views of what power actually is, how power is manifested and maintained, and what it is to be human. Empowerment involves processes which are full of dilemmas and contradictions.
  • The development of strategies is a central element in the empowerment of communities. In developing strategies, community development workers are involved in a range of processes, activities and practises. The main components of strategy development are problem-posing, problem analysis, identification of aims and objectives, development of action plans, and evaluation.

The Treaty of Waitangi adds other dimensions when considering community development frameworks and practise. Development frameworks deriving from Mäori cultural frameworks and Treaty principles should not be confused with community development which primarily has roots in Western concepts.

Community development practitioners need to be able to identify and work with different development frameworks, and manage the contradictions and conflicts between them. Different development frameworks are based on different values and belief systems, demonstrated by the different language and processes each model uses to describe positive change and development. For example:

Economic development in the traditional sense deals with concepts such as:
  • the private ownership of assets and capital
  • competitive markets
  • demand and supply
  • employment
  • inflation
  • the use of resources to create wealth
Positive change (or development) is measured by the amount wealth and assets have increased and liabilities decreased;

Iwi development involves the concepts of whänau, hapü and iwi, concepts that have been handed down from the ancestors along with the relationships they describe. Essential concepts are whakapapa (intra- and inter-tribal relationships), whakawhanaungatanga (relationship development), kaitiakitanga (guardianship), turangawaewae (relationship to ancestral land), Papatuanuku me Ranginui (relationship to primal ancestors), manäkitanga (hospitality and nurture). The overall vision is rangatiratanga (chiefliness - all translations are approximate). Collective ownership of resources is another key element.

Community development is based on beliefs and values of social action, justice and equity. The focus is on participation, rights to employment and other key economic and social benefits, devolved local decision making, co-operation, and equitable allocation of resources across groups or societies. This model strives to attain social justice, particularly for those who are disadvantaged.

Policy Dimensions

Community development includes engaging with policy development both at a community organisation level, and at a government level. At a community organisation level it may include equal opportunity policies, how things will run from day to day, or policies for the ways in which staff will be rewarded, censured or terminated. The policies of other organisations such as local authorities, funding agencies and businesses can also be influenced.

Government social policies are developed within government agencies, usually in a complex environment in which there are competing demands for resources. Social policies are either universal or targeted.

Social policies can be developed and analysed through a community development framework based on the principles outlined above and formulated as a set of questions. For example:

  • Is the social policy based on strong consultation with those who will be most affected?
  • Why and for whom is the policy being formulated?
  • Who has defined the problem the policy is designed to address?
  • Is the policy based on social justice principles?
  • Who will receive the most benefits from the policy - is it those most in need?
  • If resources are to be allocated, which groups in society will receive those resources?
  • Does the policy support the ability of people to act collectively to improve their situation?

Website Links on Community Development

Selected New Zealand Links

Community Net Aotearoa
Information on community resources and networks. Links to national and international sites.

A coordinating and networking organisation for more than forty Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). Its members cover all sectors of the NGO community - including community groups, welfare agencies, international development agencies, student, youth and women's organisations, churches and trade unions.

Lincoln University Community Information Service
This site provides community economic development information to groups.

New Zealand Community Economic Development Discussion Group
This mailing list gives people the opportunity to share ideas and questions, and hopefully work together towards making an improvement in their own communities.

New Zealand Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations
The New Zealand Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations is a national network of voluntary organisations which provide a wide range of social services in New Zealand. The aim of the Federation is to advance an effective voluntary welfare sector.

Selected International Websites:

International Association for Community Development
An international not-for-profit, non-government organisation committed to building a global network of people and organisations working toward social justice through community development.

Community Development Society International
A professional association for community development practitioners and citizen leaders around the world.

Community Development Foundation
Strengthening communities by ensuring the effective participation of people in the decision-making processes which affect their lives.

Treaty of Waitangi Principles

This section provides Community Advisors and organisations working in the community with an outline of the principles identified for Crown action on the Treaty of Waitangi. Community groups should be encouraged to discuss the Treaty of Waitangi and how their organisation can honour the 'spirit' of the document.

The Treaty of Waitangi is an agreement between the Crown and Mäori, signed on 6 February 1840. The Treaty includes a preamble and three articles. The five principles identified from the Treaty reflect the spirit and intention of the Treaty, from the Crown's perspective.

Principle 1

The Principle of Government - The Kawanatanga Principle

The first Article of the Treaty gives expression to the right of the Crown to make laws and its obligation to govern in accordance with its constitutional process. This sovereignty is qualified by the promise to accord an appropriate priority to the Mäori interests specified in the Article 2.

Principle 2

The Principle of Self-Management - The Rangatiratanga Principle

The second article of the Treaty guarantees to iwi Mäori the control and enjoyment of those resources and taonga that they may wish to retain. The preservation of a resource base, restoration of iwi self-management, and the active protection of taonga, both tangible and non-tangible, are necessary elements of the Crown's policy in recognising the tino rangatiratanga of iwi Mäori.

Principle 3

The Principle of Equality

The third Article of the Treaty constitutes a guarantee of legal equality between Mäori and other citizens of New Zealand. This means that all New Zealand citizens are equal before the law and should have equal access to such things as resources and participation in systems and processes.

Principle 4

The Principle of Reasonable Co-operation

The Treaty is regarded by the Crown as establishing a fair basis for two peoples in one country. The duality of distinctive cultural development and unity implies that a common purpose should be developed. The relationship between common purpose and distinctive cultural development is governed by the requirement of co-operation, an obligation placed on both parties of the Treaty. In effect, both peoples need to build effective working relationships based on trust and co-operation.

Principle 5

The Principle of Redress

The Crown accepts a responsibility to provide a process for the resolution of grievances arising from the Treaty. This process may involve the Courts, the Waitangi Tribunal or direct negotiation (via the Office of Treaty Settlements). The provisions of redress, where entitlement is established, must take into account the need to avoid the creation of fresh injustice. If the Crown demonstrates commitment to this process of redress then the expected result should be reconciliation.

- Thanks to Roy Hoerara and Benesia Smith for this information

Consultation: Why? How? Who?

Consultation leads to the practicalities of a proposal being assessed, and to mutually agreed solutions being found to any problems identified through the consultation process. Active participation in consultation increases communication between groups, and "ownership" of both issues and solutions.

As they develop, and set up programmes and services, community organisations will become involved in regular consultation with client groups and others in the community.

Standards for Consultation
Standards for consultation have been set out in what has become known as the leading case on consultation generally: Wellington International Airport Ltd v Air New Zealand [1991] 1 NZLR 671 (Court of Appeal). Community organisations and iwi should refer agencies wishing to consult with them to the minimum standards for consultation set out in this case, and they should observe the standards themselves when carrying out consultations with other groups and iwi.

The standards for consulting can be summarised as (but are not limited to):

stating a proposal which is not finally decided upon
  • listening to what others have to say and considering responses
  • allowing sufficient time and making a genuine effort to consult
  • making enough information available to those being consulted that they can make intelligent and useful responses
  • those obliged to consult keeping their minds open and being ready to change, and even to start again - although they are entitled to have a working plan in mind
  • recognising that consultation is an intermediate process involving meaningful discussion;
  • those obliged to consult holding meetings, providing relevant information and further information on request, and waiting until those being consulted have had their say, before making a decision

There are no universal requirements as to the form consultation should take. Any manner of oral or written interchange that allows adequate expression and consideration of views can be used. Neither is there a universal requirement about the length of time consultation should take (it could range from one phone call to years of formal meetings).

Who to Consult?

The question of who to consult is not easy to answer, because it will depend on the particular circumstances. You should consider: those who might be affected by what you are proposing (both short- and long-term), and, depending on the situation, consult funders, government bodies, local bodies, iwi, groups, individuals, and any others you think appropriate.

If you are unclear about which group you should consult, or who should be involved in consultations with other agencies, seek advice and ask questions until you have the information you need to make an informed decision.

Community groups seeking to consult with iwi may find Te Aka Kumara O Aotearoa / the National Directory of Mäori organisations useful. This directory, available from Tuhi Tuhi Communications, has been produced as a networking resource for whänau, community, iwi and government groups. It lists more than 3000 marae, iwi, social services, business, education, training, arts, and health services, organised into regions. (A map showing iwi boundaries is also included.) Each region has its own section which gives: marae; iwi; mana whenua; preschools, primary and secondary schools and tertiary institutions; businesses; communications and media organisations; councils; health organisations; libraries; national and local groups; political and religious organisations, social services, and training. (Further contact information on this publication is contained at the end of this section.)

Participating Effectively in Consultation

Effective participation requires commitment, honesty, clear boundaries, and two-way communication.
The process used should have a clear purpose and a realistic time frame. It should include participatory techniques and also techniques for creative thinking, so that everyone has the opportunity to contribute.

Make sure everyone who should be involved is involved, and that responsibilities are clear (for seeking information, reporting, communicating decisions, etc.).

The participants should know when the consultation process has ended, and have the opportunity to evaluate it.

Sufficient information

State the intention of the consultation from the outset in order to develop trust. As part of this, ensure that those being consulted are given a full picture of the consultation sponsor’s thinking on the issue.

Paint the big picture and clarify where this particular consultation process fits in it.

State clearly why the information needs to be gathered, how it will be used, and what its status will be in the decision-making process.

Give people information about how they might contribute to the process.

Boundaries and limitations need to be defined:

State exactly who is to be consulted. You need flexibility in case someone who should be consulted has been left out and has to be added later.

Be clear about what is negotiable and what isn't.


People will judge a process by what they actually experience. The need to maintain trust is essential.

Establish a well-defined line of communication and be willing to re-negotiate.

Release information to everyone at the same time.

Frameworks need to be consistent and clearly defined.

Questions need to be tailored for internal and external stakeholders so the information can be meaningfully compared and used.

Sufficient time

Allow enough time so that individuals are not too pressured.

The information-gathering phase should be at least equal to the time given to analysis of the information. Information gathered under pressure will not give the best results.

Respect the other work-demands of those responding and the processes they are part of. Many trustees or committees of management meet only once a month, so consultation documents and feedback must allow enough time for them.

Timeliness in planning:

Consultation does not work without good forward planning.

Trust is lost rapidly if people are pressured for time, but if you lay out the time and the process to be undertaken beforehand, and clearly articulate your expectations of individuals, they will see the integrity of the exercise.

Genuine consideration of advice

The final product needs to reflect the result of the consultation. A key question to ask in order to check this is, "Can you recognise your contribution in this work or product?"

Information that is gathered but not used needs to be accounted for - clearly rebutted if it is false or misleading, discounted if it is irrelevant. Rationales for inclusion or exclusion need to be transparent - you need to say why information is included or excluded and follow those reasons.

Analysis of the information:

The consultation frameworks must provide for meaningful analysis of the information. The information gathered should be summarised and analysed for meaning, and then fed back to those involved in the process.

Where to Find More Information

The Treaty of Waitangi: The Waitangi Tribunal, 110 Featherston St, Wellington, telephone 04 499 3666, fax 04 914 3001.

Department of Internal Affairs Responsiveness to Maori Plan.

Te Aka Kumara O Aotearoa/National Directory of Mäori Organisations and Resource People. Cost (in 2002): $44 ($36 for orders of 5 or more). Order from Tuhi Tuhi Communications Ltd; PO Box 80 020, Auckland, fax 09 816 9520.

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Last updated: 13/05/2005