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Helping New Zealand build strong communities


Nau mai, haere mai, welcome

The Department of Internal Affairs helps build strong New Zealand communities. 

We do this by providing advice, information, support and resources to help people and organisations, and their communities, hapū and iwi, become strong and successful now and in the future.

How we do this

We provide community advisory services from 16 regional offices throughout New Zealand.  Our advisors can help in various ways, including advising about

  • planning for a project or community event
  • how to improve the way your organisation plans, works, budgets and reports on what it achieves
  • setting up new groups, organisations or community-led plans or projects
  • supporting and developing volunteers
  • how to manage funds or fundraise
  • requesting grants from us, or funding from other government and non-government organisations
  • working with central or local government to support your community plans or projects
  • other help available to you, your organisation, or your community, hapū or iwi.

Our advisors may also work or partner with you to help with a community project, event or activity. They may help by working with other government agencies, local councils, tangata whenua, service providers, funders or businesses to provide you with support or information, or to help you build relationships.

The advisors gather information about a community, hapū or iwi’s strengths and resources, including its people and networks. This information is used to help decide how we can support you. We also share this information with the funding committees we work with when they define their outcomes.

Our advisors support people, communities, hapū and iwi by:

  • developing close working relationships;
  • working with a range of central government agencies, local councils and non-government organisations
  • finding ways to provide information, advice, support and resources.

For further information, advice and assistance contact an advisor

When we work with communities, we apply these principles to our work:

  • Self-determination – Communities, hapū and iwi own and drive the process. Activities aim to help people, groups and communities work together to improve their wellbeing.
  • Respect – Respect is shown for the knowledge and values of communities, hapū and iwi, and for their tikanga (practices).
  • Strengths-based – Communities, hapū and iwi build on their skills, knowledge and resources to achieve their shared goals. Activities aim to make communities, hapū and iwi resilient, strong and successful, rather than focusing on problems and needs.
  • Participation – People and communities identify their vision for the future and how to achieve it together. Processes and structures include everyone in the community, hapū or iwi.
  • Co-operation – People in communities work together to plan and decide what to do, with shared respect for all contributions. Partnerships are formed to achieve positive results for everyone. People work and learn together, sharing the knowledge gained from their successes and failures.
  • Equity – Opportunities and resources are shared to improve everyone’s ability to achieve wellbeing. Actions aim to overcome disadvantage and provide equal benefit to every member of the community, hapū or iwi.
  • Innovation – Policies, practices and actions support and encourage innovation. Community-led innovation can often meet the goals of a community, hapū or iwi better and more quickly than the public sector acting alone can.
  • Sustainability and resiliency – The connections between individual’s and community wellbeing are recognised. Resources are developed and looked after for the benefit of communities as a whole, now and in the future.

In our work we recognise and support Māori aspirations and values, including:

  • Tino rangatiratanga – includes concepts of self-determination, self-reliance and the desire to be in control of one’s vision and destiny.
  • Manaakitanga – includes acknowledging the mana of others and demonstrating mutual respect.
  • Kotahitanga and mahi tahi – includes concepts of unity and working as one.
  • Motuhaketanga – includes concepts of independence, autonomy and supporting self-reliance.
  • Whakawhanaungatanga – includes concepts of collective wellbeing and relating well to others.

Te Atamira Taiwhenua

Te Atamira Taiwhenua is the Department’s kaumātua advisory group. The group consists of 16 kaumātua and kuia who represent whānau, hapū and iwi from across the country. They work closely with our community advisors and managers to support our work with communities, hapū and iwi.