Waikato Wellbeing Project-November 2021 Update

E aku iti, e aku rahi, tēnā koutou

Since our last update we have again experienced the impacts of COVID-19 on our communities, whanau and businesses.  At the WWP, we have had to readjust some of our expectations for the rest of the 2021 year because of the COVID restrictions. For several of our projects, the opportunity to engage kanohi ki te kanohi has not been available and this has seen some of our timeframes move into 2022. We are making great progress especially in our Rangatahi Opportunity project and we remain keen to connect with Rangatahi so their lived experiences inform our insights work.

Regardless of the impact of COVID, our Kaitiaki Advisory Board and team are committed to further building and growing the Waikato Wellbeing Project to achieve impact. Over the next 12 months our four key priority areas will be:

1.     Leading and funding impact projects 
2.     Sharing wellbeing stories through data and insights 
3.     Celebrating local successes; and 
4.     Using our voice to advocate for positive change

There will be many opportunities for people to both inform and help shape the initiatives in these 4 areas- so we look forward to your ongoing support and participation.

Rangatahi Opportunity Project

The Rangatahi Opportunity project: He Piko He Rangatahi continues to gather momentum. Our amazing team of Tania JonesKauri TearauraRana ArifCharlotte MitchellDujon Cullingford and Tuihana Ohia have been engaging with a range of inspiring Rangatahi, especially in the Hamilton/Kirikiroa area, via empathy led interviews. Through these we are building a strong picture of the lived experience of rangatahi, which will inform the co-design process where our rangatahi will create new solutions and innovations to the challenges they have identified. To help this, we have partnered with the University of Waikato’s National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA) to develop a provide a high-level overview of key themes in relation to the following research questions:

  • What do our rangatahi require to thrive?
  • What are the aspirations of our rangatahi?
  • Why and where are our rangatahi experiencing barriers to successfully transition through education to further study, employment and/or training?
  • Who and what are the key influencers, systems and/or factors that enable rangatahi to thrive?
  • Where should our collective energies be focused to make the greatest impact for our rangatahi?
  • What solutions or ideas would make the greatest difference to our rangatahi and their whānau?
  • How might we involve whānau, rangatahi and employers to create insight and breakthrough?

While COVID restrictions are affecting exact timing and method, the project team are working to complete the background research, empathy-led interviews and commence the co-design process through the rest of 2021. The aim is to hold our Kohunga Taniwha in early 2022- an exciting event where our rangatahi innovators will showcase their breakthrough ideas for further development. We’re partnering with the team at the WINTEC Design Factory on the process for this exciting event.

We are looking for leaders and organisations to partner with us to support our rangatahi journey through the Kohunga Taniwha and the prototype development process beyond that. If you are interested in this opportunity or want to keep up to date with the project check out our web page and please contact the team at

Climate Change SDG 13

Te Tīmatanga

Kotahi anō te tupuna o te tangata Māori
Ko Ranginui e tu iho nei
Ko Papatūānuku e takoto nei
Nā Te Rangikāheke

There is but one ancestor of the Māori people
Ranginui standing above
Papatūānuku lying here

This whakataukī from the Te Arawa rangatira, Wiremu Maihi Te Rangikāheke, represents the love and intertwining of the primal parents: Ranginui and Papatūānuku.

The unity of these two beings represents a duality for the world. The sky reflects the earth and the earth reflects the sky. In the context of the climate crisis, the burning of fossil fuels is displacing this original harmony and balance. This displacement in the sky is reflected in the humans who dwell on the earth. 

The United Nations COP26 is currently being held in Glasow, Scotland. The results of this conference, along with our own government’s announcement on its emission reduction targets will have a major bearing on us all in the coming years. The Waikato Wellbeing Project has a target of the region reducing carbon(dioxide) emissions by a minimum of 25% by 2030…on the path to net carbon zero by 2050. The announcement by the government of its pledge to halve New Zealand’s net emissions by 2030 means that we will need to revise our target to be in line with those of the government. In any event- these are tremendous challenges and opportunities for us to address and solve together.

The WWP has been supporting the Waikato Project’s Climate Action workstream to develop an integrated climate action programme for the Waikato. Led by our manu taki Jen NickelJo Wrigley and Hannah Huggan, the programme is shaping up as an ambitious and positive programme of actions which can be taken right across the region and at all levels to contribute to the region, New Zealand’s and the globe’s climate mitigation and adaptation goals. 

As one of our priority cross-cutting themes, the climate initiative is making connections between climate change and our goals in other SDGs including Zero Hunger (SDG 2) Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG6), Life Below Water (SDG 14) and Life on Land (SDG 15). 

With the leadership of SDG 6 and 15 manu taki Keri Thompson and  Bruce Clarkson and Kaitiaki Advisory Board member Don Scarlet we are exploring ways to achieve breakthrough in both climate and biodiversity restoration outcomes in the region, supporting existing mandated  initiatives such as the Regional Biodiversity Collective Impact Initiative. We are also working with regional partners to develop and roll out a climate dashboard so we can all track our progress towards our climate goals.

Waikato Climathon

We have partnered with our friends at the Waikato Impact hub to support the Waikato Climathon. Climathon Waikato is an opportunity for people to use their skills to advance climate solutions, rethink the way we live and create a future we're proud to pass on to the next generation.

Through a series of events and workshops, featuring expert views, sector and individual participation, the Waikato Climathon will spark innovation and collaboration. The climax is an Ideathon, where participants can work in teams with fellow changemakers from across the region to develop tangible solutions for our climate challenges. Lead up events are already underway, and you can get involved and participate by visiting Waikato Climathon.

Climate Hub

This project hopes to draw together people who care about climate change to build collective change. The climate action hub holds an event once a month to create conversation, facilitate collaboration, and create hope. We can also help with how you can get involved, resources, and project ideas. If you want to join other people in an existing project, have your own idea, or just want to know the first step to climate action, get in touch!

The climate action hub meets on the last Friday of every month at 5 pm. We will hold events such as movie nights, panels, and exhibitions to facilitate conversation. There will then be an opportunity to connect with other people, share ideas, and build change. Check out our Instagram and Facebook page to see what is coming up. Note: Due to COVID-19, Climate Action Hub will hold events online until further notice.

If you have any questions about the event, need help with a project you’re working on, or have any questions, get in touch with Hannah Huggan (SDG 13 manu taki and Go Eco’s climate organiser),  Instagram - @climateactionhub , Facebook - GoEco

Working for Kotahitanga - SDG1 and 2

Our Manu Taki for SDG 1 and 2 Anna Casey-CoxNorm Hill, Ioana Manu, Cilla Abbott and Rob Hoy are active in many aspects of achieving no poverty and zero hunger. They are actively engaged in services that meet immediate needs as well we being focused on enabling social change. Ioana Manu is a champion of the Kirikiriroa Kai Collective which brings together many of the services in Kirikiriroa working to reduce food needs.  The collective recognises the value of kotahitanga and working together and was instrumental in calling for a Kirikiriroa Kai Strategy. This strategy, named Rongomātāne, Kai Māori, Kai Ora, is taking shape through the leadership of Norm Hill. A series of consultation hui are planned and,  in consideration of covid restrictions, the hui will likely commence in early 2022. Rob Hoy, our new Manu Taki for SDG 1 and 2, is using his skills to collate data in support of the kai strategy.

The Manu Taki are all engaged with various strategies focused on developing kai resilience and kai sovereignty in our region -  this includes supporting the network of Te Puna Kai o Waikato - an initiative of Go Eco that focuses on connecting communities with Papatūānuku through kai growing. Maara kai are developing throughout the Waikato, including a 22 hectare maara kai in Rāhui Pōkeka and a Tongan whānau garden in Templeview, Kirikiriroa. Celebrating and supporting diverse local kai initiatives is an important aspect of kotahitanga and the mahi of the Manu Taki. 

The Waikato Plan rōpū and Aotearoa Circle (The Mana Kai Initiative) are also talking about the food system and how to encourage sustainability. The Manu Taki for SDG 1 and 2 work to enable and support the unity of kai initiatives towards achieving kai sovereignty in the Waikato region.  Developing connections between different rōpū working on similar goals is a vital aspect of the Wellbeing Project’s kaupapa. 

No poverty and zero hunger go hand in hand. The Manu Taki acknowledge the need for better sharing of resources in our community. Through the network of Poverty Action Waikato, the Manu Taki support campaigns such as Fairer FutureFree Fares and Living Wage Waikato. Networking, advocacy and action is all part of the mahi of the Manu Taki for SDG 1 and 2.

If you would like to support the kaupapa of SDG 1 and 2, please get in touch! 

Your Chance to Join the WWP: Lead Social Innovator

We are looking for a dynamic and energetic lead social innovator who can continue to bring fresh thinking, innovation and agility into our projects and accelerate our progress towards impact. This role is designed to enable and catalyse social and economic change in priority SDGs/places and will focus on leading our priority projects. We require expertise in human centred design/design thinking with a flair for energising a wide range of people and groups from different backgrounds and geographies.

 As well as being strongly data-led, you will have a strong sense for empathy-led approaches and will be quickly able to build trust amongst people who might not normally engage in major projects. You will have a very strong project management background and will be comfortable with complexity and uncertainty.

Ideally you will have a strong level of knowledge and experience of Te Ao Māori and Mātauranga Māori as it applies to solving complex challenges in the Waikato region. This may be through your considerable experience working with mana whenua in the Waikato and/or you whakapapa to Waikato Māori.

If this sounds like you, please take this link to read the full role description and the process to lodge and expression of interest. The close date for this process is 3 December.

Waikato Wellbeing Initiatives

Below are a small selection of amazing wellbeing projects and initiatives which are happening right across the Waikato region. If you have stories you’d like to share- please get in touch!

This is Me: Rangatahi Wahine Wellbeing (SDG 3)

A conversation between Kotahi Aroha’s Erina Wehi-Barton and Sport Waikato’s women and girls initiative This is ME® revealed that period poverty was a significant factor in preventing young waahine from the Waitomo district being physically active.   To help address the period poverty issue for the young women who attend her programmes, This is ME® worked with Erina to identify sixteen young waahine between 11 and 16 years old to participate in a facilitated workshop.   This is ME® partnered with national period underwear brand AWWA who generously donated three pairs of underwear to each of the young women who attended the workshop. The ability to remove period poverty as a barrier and empower women to participate in physical activity despite their period was the motivation behind the initiative. Thanks to our partners AWWA Period Underwear for their generosity in helping these young women in a sustainable way.

For more information contact Rebecca Thorby at Sport Waikato:

Kotahitanga United Through Creativity Project (SDG 3)

"At the core, creative experiences are an act of kindness. They help us to find space, to find connection, and to experience some much-needed magic. The works in the Kotahitanga collection are a celebration of that kindness. Kindness from the artist to themselves in expressing their ideas and stories. Kindness to the collection as a growing body of Waikato work. Kindness to our communities through sharing inspiration and insight. And of course, kindness to one another as we draw from our creative experience and bring that into our daily life."

The collection of new artworks is here: including documentary videos with all the artists talking about their kaupapa.

A news article about the project is here:

A video is here:

For more information contact Jeremy Mayall at Creative Waikato:

Harvey Brookes
Kaiwhakatere - Executive Director
Hinonga Toiora o Waikato | Waikato Wellbeing Project