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SECTION A: Community Development Practice
Community Development: Principles and Processes
Definitions of Community Development
1. United Nations:
“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".
“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".
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.
Concerned with change and growth within communities, with giving people more power over the changes that are taking place around them, the policies which affect them and the services they use. Our ultimate concern is to help increase the well being of communities and takes place predominately within those communities that have been most disadvantaged or discriminated against.
“We choose to use community development methodologies as an approach to work with communities because these increase opportunities for participation, enable the transfer of skills between people, develop self reliance, build organisational capacity and networks of community groups, ensure local ownership of projects and decisions, utilise local resources to solve local problems and, in the end effectively increase the amount of social capital available within a community.
“The communities, and groups within communities, most in need of this capacity building are those which suffer the most disadvantage and discrimination."
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.
Further information on the international context can be found at:
Community Development Practice
There are several key elements to community development in the current literature:
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:
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.
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.
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.
The Principle of Government - The Kawanatanga Principle
The Principle of Self-Management - The Rangatiratanga Principle
The Principle of Equality
The Principle of Reasonable Co-operation
The Principle of Redress
- 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.
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  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
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.
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.
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.
People will judge a process by what they actually experience. The need to maintain trust is essential.
Allow enough time so that individuals are not too pressured.
Consultation does not work without good forward planning.
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?"
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.
Last updated: 13/05/2005