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On Wednesday 19th Aug 2020, 9:30-11:30 am hear an accomplished panel present the National Action Plan for Community Governance, which is an outcome of a national process of co-design with people involved in community and NGO governance which focused on the actions needed to increase support for community governance, and build overall sector capacity.

This important mahi has been made possible with support from Auckland Council, Foundation North, Rata Foundation, Ministerial Discretionary Fund administered by the Department of Internal Affairs and Grant Thornton. 

Session Facilitators: 

  • Dr Jo Cribb - Programme Manager, National Strategy for Community Governance, Centre for Social Impact
  • Mele Wendt MNZM - Chair, Community Governance Steering Group & Independent Director 

The Presenters:

  • Barry Baker - For Purpose Specialist, Grant Thornton, NZ
  • Jo Brosnahan - Company Chair, Director, Governance and Leadership Adviser
  • Toni Kerr - Principal Advisor, Te Puni Kokiri
  • Sue McCabe - Chief Executive, Philanthropy NZ
  • Kirsten Patterson - Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Directors
  • Simon Telfer - Founder, Appoint Better Boards

Please register now -


22nd June 2020

Progress towards the development of a national strategy/ action plan for NGO and community governance has proceeded as we moved from Level 4 lockdown through to Level 1. Six workshop ‘sprints’ have now been completed, with a total of 145 people participating.  A final sprint, focused on Māori governance, is being organised for the end of June.  This is being led by Toni Kerr from Te Puni Kōkiri, and Sara Passmore from Te Tumu Paeroa.

“We’re really pleased with the progress that has been made, and the quality of input,” CSI’s Jo Cribb says. “Thirteen actions have been identified which will form the foundation for a whole package aiming at systems change.  The actions will provide immediate support for today’s governors, encourage and support the next generation of governors and seek to shift expectations and thinking about governance as a whole.”

The actions currently being developed and refined include:

  • Establishment of a mentoring programme
  • A concept for an app to help board members get the information they need, when they need it
  • Development of training resources and support for chairs
  • Development of a campaign to raise the profile and celebrate the value of community governance
  • The use of current registration processes to point new board members and new chairs to training and resources
  • Sharing and promoting new models of community governance
  • Co-designing a good governance code

“We expect further actions will be identified by the Maori governance sprint,” Jo says. 

Jo pays tribute to the participants’ patience and engagement with the online process, using Zoom, that was used for sprints during the Level 3 and 2 lockdowns.  John Morrow, head of philanthropy at JB Were New Zealand, was one of those participants.

“When I heard the sprint had been shifted to being all online, due to the lockdown, I wondered what would be achieved,” John says.  “After 10 plus hours on zoom over two days I was pleasantly surprised. Near strangers from diverse backgrounds came together quickly to work on strengthening good community governance. All credit to Jo Cribb and Jade Tang-Taylor, as well as their support at Centre for Social Impact, for keeping everyone focussed and engaged on the tasks throughout. They facilitated the group to derive a concept that survived a couple of challenges and is now being proposed for a programme of work in the national strategy.

“It was the combination of technology and great facilitators that made this a great discovery and ideation process.”  

Celia Patrick, deputy chief executive at Oranga Tamariki, also participated in a Zoom sprint.

“While going into this with some reservations, I was totally in awe of the engagement, process and outcomes we achieved by the end of the day. We achieved some real go forward momentum on a number of actions that will make a real difference for people in NGO governance roles.”

Sky City Community Trust trustee and Foundation North advisor Rosie Nathan (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Porou) was impressed by the way participants were kept ‘in the room’ during the process.

“Jo kept us engaged throughout.  We were able to move into ‘rooms’ to talk to each other and then come back and present our findings. I felt very connected to the other participants. I liked that we were able to harvest ideas in our small groups, then share these collectively and decide what to keep and what to delete.”

Rosie is now looking forward to participating in the Māori governance sprint.

“On a marae, we use different processes for governance based on whanaungatanga and whakapapa.  Great value is placed on kōrero, to allow people to talk through disagreements, and ultimately come together to whakamana the kaupapa.”

The Māori governance sprint concludes the programme of workshops. Planning is now underway for an on-line launch of the strategic action plan in mid-August.

On 29th and 30th June Toni Kerr (Te Puni Kokiri), Sara Passmore and Te Hamua Nikora (Te Tumu Paeroa) led the Maori governance sprint focused on "How can we ensure all kaitiaki exhibit and role model the right behaviours needed for success in their governance roles?"  

  • Two actions were identified that will be included in the National Action Plan for Community Governance:The Video Toolkit will contain short, humorous visual content that covers relevant subjects for Māori governors (such as the common things that can go wrong and reconciling Māori lore and law).  While there are resources for Māori governors, they are not easily accessible.  This action aims to create a series of humorous videos that will be widely shared on the social media platforms used by current and future Māori governors. Success is that initial user testing shows that the videos well equip Māori governors for their governance role.  Success is that the videos ‘go viral’.  
  •  The Valuing Maori Decision Making campaign aims to raise awareness of the value of Māori decision making and governance.  This campaign has the potential to be transformational.  A founding tenet is to raise awareness of the intrinsic value of a distributed decision-making and governance approach.   The campaign can be likened to the “Black Lives Matter” movement, using momentum to illustrate a point of difference that has always existed but been undervalued or ignored. Impact can be achieved through a variety of digital and media channels and carefully curated content that showcase the unique characteristics of Māori distributed decision-making.   This will explore and help [translate] some traditional concepts that underpin the lived experience of rōpū who have access the skills and wisdom of the collective, from kāuta to board table. Success is increased awareness and accessibility by kaitiaki of Maori decison-making and integration of these into their practice as well as recognition by mainstream organisations.  


24th April 2020

The first of our six workshops to design a national strategy for NGO and community governance was held in March - before lockdown - at the Philanthropy New Zealand office in Wellington. Led by PNZ chief executive Sue McCabe, with facilitation support from CSI’s Jo Cribb and Jade Tang-Taylor, this design sprint focused on the challenge of engaging the broader governance community in valuing community governance.

While the participants were from diverse organisations, connections were quickly established.

“One thing that stood out for me when people shared their relationship to volunteering and governance in their own lives, was a common thread linking our stories, and that was a connection to the actions of parents and grandparents,” says Michelle Kitney, chief executive of Volunteering New Zealand.  “Volunteering was woven into the fabric of their lives, and something that was done as part of belonging to your community.

Kelly Dare, general manager of engagement at CreativeHQ says the sprint opened her eyes to the challenges that other people in different sectors are facing. “But it also made me, and I think all of us, realise that a lot of the challenges are similar - especially as it relates to NGO governance. In particular, issues of how we get people into the governance pipeline, how we encourage corporates to support governance roles for their staff and how we build a collaborative, supportive environment for NGOs across multiple sectors.”

The sprint conversations were anchored by a set of personas developed by the team.  “We had caricatures representing the personas up on the wall to remind us who we were designing our actions for, community board and committee members,” Jo Cribb says. “It was a good way to keep us grounded in the reality of being on a community group committee, and to keep the diversity of the sector front of mind.”


Sprint participants were divided into two groups – a group which generated a range of ideas, and a challenge group. At the end of each day, the challenge group joined the sprint group to carry out a rigorous process of assessment and refinement of the ideas generated during the sprint.

“The challenge group proved to be a very important part of the process. The sprint team was encouraged to go big and all-encompassing in its thinking, but some of what was generated would have been difficult to implement.  The challenge team tested the ideas and helped us focus them into forms that could be put into action,” Jo says.

Two ideas emerged with plans and momentum to put them in place; a social good campaign which highlighted the value of NGO and community governance to encourage people to step up into boards, and the development of an index for New Zealand organisations to benchmark their generosity in terms of giving to communities and supporting volunteers on boards.

A campaign to highlight the value and diversity within community governance was of particular interest to Michelle Kitney. “In getting a greater range of people to understand the value of NGO governance, we may need to change how we talk about it. We need to be able to talk about it in ways that are better understood by say the business sector.”

For Kelly Dare, the time invested in the sprint was an opportunity to contribute to the long-term strength of the NGO and community sector.

“I really believe in the work that NGOs do. Taking part in this programme was a way for me to give back to organisations and to take my development as a Governance Group chair seriously.”

Steering Group Members 

Mele Wendt, MNZM

Mele Wendt has 17 years of leadership/management experience and over 20 years of governance experience. Her roles have included being a high school teacher, the founding pacific islands liaison officer and manager of the student recruitment office at Victoria University of Wellington, and then the executive director of Fulbright New Zealand for ten years.  In the last few years, Mele has been doing a mix of consultancy work and governance. A certified member of the Institute of Directors, Mele currently serves on the boards of Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu Correspondence School and the Wellington Community Trust. She also currently chairs the Steering Group which is developing a national strategy for NGO/community governance. Recent past governance appointments include chairing Massey University's Pacific Student Success Working Group, and chairing the Pasifika Education Centre in Auckland. Mele is Samoan (Malie, Vaiala, Lefaga) and palagi (NZ, Britain), and lives in Wellington. In January 2019, Mele was awarded a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM)  for her services to governance, the Pacific community and women.


Francesca Ephraim

Francesca Ephraim is a Regional Advisor in the Capability Team at Charities Services. She also worked for the Charities Commission as an Analyst when it was established in 2008. Francesca has a Bachelor of Laws and extensive experience in the not-for-profit sector and is passionate about improving governance in the sector. Outside of work Francesca is a renovation queen and a garden ninja.   


Yvonne Powley

Yvonne has been the CEO of Auckland Community North and Development (ANCAD) for the   past eleven years. ANCAD is one of the largest capability builders in Auckland around governance and management for the community sector. ANCAD was awarded the Massey University Business Partner of the year in 2019. Yvonne has extensive governance, management and operational experience and is a recognized leader in the NFP sector. She has a commitment to social justice and advocacy for the community sector. Yvonne is a graduate of the University of Waikato, majoring in Community Psychology and Sociology. In recent years she has continued her studies in entrepreneurship and business management at the University of Auckland Business School. She is a member of the Institute of Directors, Governance New Zealand and the International Association of Community Development. 


Kate Sclater

Kate is Head of Community Investment at Rata Foundation.  Rata Foundation is the largest philanthropic funder in the South Island.  She has a background in both grant making and strategic funding both in New Zealand and in the UK. Kate has a strong interest in supporting grassroots organizations, and believes those are best placed to meet the needs of their communities.  She has had a particular interest in supporting community sector governance, and has led Rata Foundations development of its strengthening the sector approach. 


Sara Passmore

Sara Passmore is the Capability and Development Programme Manager at Te Tumu Paeroa, the organisation the supports the Māori Trustee in the administration of over 1,800 Māori land trusts. She is currently leading on a national, programme-level response to growing capability in Māori governance and land administration. Sara has a Masters of Business Administration from Victoria University of Wellington, as well as a Bachelor’s of Education and a Bachelor’s of English Literature. In her spare time she’s on the Board of Wellington Women’s House, a not-for-profit that provides accommodation for women experiencing homelessness; as well as the Humanist Society of New Zealand, a charity that promote human rights; and the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists & Communicators, a professional membership organisation that aims to have agriculture recognised for the major role it plays in New Zealand's export-oriented economy. She’s also currently working with past winners of the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmers Competition with the aim to from a charitable trust to promote career pathways for Māori into governance roles in the primary sector.


Rabeea Inayatullah

Rabeea Inayatullah is a 22 year old graduate from Victoria University of Wellington. She completed her Bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science and International Relations. Rabeea has always been an active member in the community through being a mentor and teacher at her local mosque in Porirua when she was a teen. She was the President of the Politics Society at Victoria University and now sits on three Executive Committees; Porirua Multicultural Council as Vice President; National Women's Council of NZ - Wellington Branch as Secretary; and Multicultural New Zealand as Youth Representative. Rabeea was a candidate for the local government elections in the Northern Ward area for Porirua in 2019 and was the only young woman of colour running in that ward. One of the defining reasons she ran was to provide a platform and voice for the communities she represents which is South-East Asian, migrant/refugee/immigrant and Muslim communities.

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Kevin Haunui

Kevin has 20 years governance and management experience in the community and not-for-profit sector. As the former General Manager of Funding Information Service (now known as Generosity New Zealand), Kevin gained valuable experience and insights of community organisations and the philanthropic community.

Kevin’s voluntary service for the community reflects a strong sense of social justice and improving outcomes for marginalised groups. He has served with the NZ Aids Foundation, Māori Advisory Group to the Board and as a former board member of the Gay & Lesbian International Sports Association (GLISA) for the Asia Pacific region and World Board respectively. Kevin has previously represented Tīwhanawhana Trust, a Wellington-based organisation serving the Takatāpui (Māori LGBTI) community, as a board member and organiser of the Wellington 2011 Asia Pacific GLISA Outgames, 2016 International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) Oceania Regional Conference, 2019 ILGA World Conference. 

Kevin continues to serve as a Trustee for Tīwhanawhana Trust and cultural mentor for the Wellington Takatāpui whānau.  He also represents Tīwhanawhana on the LGBTI Advisory Group to Statistics, as an advocate to set up an LGBTI Advisory Group for Wellington City Council, building Oceania region LGBTI support capability and capacity through diplomatic sources in New Zealand, and as international advisor to the Human Rights Conference for 2023 World Pride Conference, Copenhagen / Malmo with a focus on the human rights of LGBTI indigenous peoples. 

Kevin has recently been was elected as board member to DCM (formerly known as Downtown Community Ministry) Wellington, a community organisation that serves some of the most marginalised in the community who are homeless. 

A former resident of Martinborough now residing in Wellington, Kevin remains strongly connected to Martinborough through his governance roles and community affiliations.  Kevin is an active member of Hau Ariki Marae committee and community since joining in 2002 where he currently holds the roles of treasurer.

Kevin has affiliations to Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Āti Hau, Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Ūenuku, Whānau a Apanui, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tūhoe.


Monica Briggs

Monica Briggs is Acting Chief Executive of the Centre. Monica originally joined the team to manage business development and partnerships. Monica has had a distinguished career in the public health and charity sectors with senior management experience. She was most recently the CEO of the YWCA Auckland where she created the National Equal Pay Awards and took the organisation out of a financial deficit position and into a surplus. Monica’s previous roles include National Education Setting Manager at the National Heart Foundation, and General Manager of the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (APRHS), where she held accountability for the largest and most complex public health provider in the country with over 200 staff. She has been deputy chair for the New Zealand AIDS Foundation and President of the Public Health Association of New Zealand. She currently sits as a board member on the Grief Centre. Monica works in areas which align to her values around empowerment and social justice and loves the energy and spirit of the not-for-profit, philanthropic and charitable sectors.


Toni Kerr

Toni has had a range of governance roles since returning to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2008.   Toni was appointed to the board of the Government Superannuation Fund Authority in 2009.  After serving two terms, Toni sought to expand her knowledge of the not-for-profit sector and joined the Audit and Risk Committee of the IHC.  Toni remained a member until an opportunity came up to join the establishment board of New Zealand Community Housing Funding Ltd.  Toni has also served as a Deputy Chair of Te Tikanga Marae and is currently a Trustee of a Whānau Trust. Alongside these governance roles and a long career in banking and investment management, Toni recently decided to move to the Public Sector.  She is a Principal Advisor in the Investment team at Te Puni Kōkiri and has responsibility for building investment related capability amongst whānau and communities, including Māori governance capability.


Susan Huria, Ngai Tahu ONZM

Susan has held board directorships with not for profit trusts and privately owned companies, publicly-listed, state-owned enterprises, a crown research institute and a wide range of Māori owned including currently Chairman of Ngāi Tahu Property.  She is also a Director with the Royal NZ College of GPs, a Director of Connexis, Leaderbrand and a Trustee Construction Health and Safety NZ. She is

Chair of the Steering Committee ‘Growing Up in New Zealand’ – longitudinal study governed by UniServices and MSD. Susan is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors and has spent over two decades in governance roles.

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Helga Wientjes

Helga has worked over 15 years in not-for-profit organisations in the Netherlands and New Zealand. She is currently employed as the Research and Capability Improvement Manager at Cancer Society of New Zealand. As such she oversees the volunteer involvement at the Cancer Society and focuses on purposeful engagement of volunteers and valuing the volunteer contribution. She further champions the value of volunteering in her role as Chair of Volunteering New Zealand and actively advocates for inclusive and impactful volunteering in various settings including at governance and operational levels and informal settings.

Helga is an influential leader with extensive experience in building productive relationships. She is passionate about leading change through engaging, facilitating and collaborating with others to ensure we meet the changing needs of our communities.

Helga has a Master of Science (Physical Geography) and Master of Arts (Education and Communication) with the University of Utrecht (The Netherlands). 

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Prabha Ravi QSM, JP

Prabha Ravi is an experienced director and community leader with over 20 years of senior leadership experience in the education and arts industry in the private and public sectors. Prabha has travelled to over 45 countries promoting New Zealand education and representing New Zealand at conferences. She has over ten years of governance experience, especially in the not-for-profit sector. She currently sits on eight national and regional not-for-profit boards. She is the founder and director of Grow Consultancy Limited and Natraj School of Dance established in 2014 and 1999 respectively. She has been recognised with the Queen's Service Medal (QSM), the Hutt City Council Civic Honour award, and awards from ethnic councils for her contribution to dance and ethnic communities . In 2018, she was one of the Judges for the popular TV3 reality show The Great New Zealand Dance Masala. Prabha has been one of the Judges for the annual Hutt City Youth Awards since 2018 and in 2019 was one of the judges for The Hutt’s Got Talent competition.


Nikolao Cockerell

Nikolao Cockerell is a 21-year-old student currently studying a Leadership for Change degree at the Otago Polytechnic.  He is passionate about film and photography and would like to use it to empower his community. Nikolao has been involved in different roles of leadership, from running a Waterwise conservation camp with Untouched World, to speaking at Government House during KiMuaNZ 2019.  Growing up in Aotearoa as a Tokelauan Kenyan kiwi, Nikolao has seen the importance of community and the positive impact it has when thriving.

4 March

This exciting collaboration between the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) and community organisations is swinging into action.  The first of six workshops to design the strategy will be held in Wellington on 11 and 12 March. 

“Each of the workshops will take two days and each will focus on just one of the six outcome areas identified for the strategy,” project manager Dr Jo Cribb says.  Jo wrote the 2019 report on NGO governance from the Superdiversity Institute and CSI that identified the need for strategy.  Following the launch of the report, a steering group was formed to support the kaupapa, and a project scope was taken out to funders. The initiative attracted the support of Auckland Council, Foundation North, Rātā Foundation, Grant Thornton, and the Department of Internal Affairs. 

“Each of these organisations saw the value of investing in the development of a strategy that would improve governance in a sector that generates an estimated $20 billion in annual income, and which delivers so many services to communities throughout the country.”

Content for the strategy will be generated by people from across the motu with NGO and community governance experience.

“We put a call out at the end of last year for volunteers with an interest in governance of not-for-profit organisations and the community sector to participate in workshops around the six outcome areas identified for the strategy,” Jo says.  “We were looking for a range of experience, from people who are involved with local sports clubs, environmental groups or social service agencies, through to people with experience in governance in regional or national organisations.

Over 80 people volunteered from across Aotearoa, and all have been invited to be part of the process.  The workshops are taking the form of design sprints.  Each sprint will draw on design thinking to define the problem and create and test actions.   The combined wisdom of the sprints will be included in the national strategy.

The first sprint, which will focus on engaging the broader governance community in valuing community governance, is being facilitated by Philanthropy New Zealand CEO, Sue McCabe.

For steering group chair Mele Wendt, the first sprint will provide an insight into the collective wisdom of a group of NGO governors.

“People involved in NGO governance in various sectors rarely have a chance to come together to share their experiences. The process of developing the strategy provides a unique opportunity for us to learn from people who invest so much of their own time to help New Zealand’s NGOs deliver for their communities.”

Steering group member Toni Kerr says the chance to participate in a multidisciplinary approach for such an important kaupapa is very appealing.

“We are looking forward to working alongside whānau and community focussed organisations.”

A principal advisor at Te Puni Kokiri, Toni sees a connection between the NGO and Community Governance strategy work, and work being done by TPK.

“At Te Puni Kōkiri, we’ve recognised that building capability can be a key enabler, particularly in the area of “grassroots” governance that is characterised by limited resources, high barriers to accessing funding and is not well served by current governance models. 

As such there is considerable alignment with the objectives of the project to deliver a governance solution that is relevant and meets the needs of whānau and communities.

An outline of the outcomes from each sprint will be available through the CSI website.  A draft of the national strategy, based on the content generated through the workshops, is expected to be completed in the second half of this year. 

Sprint schedule