The vision of Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga is to build a broad-based alliance that will bring a new organising model to the challenge of growing community voice and power. This is a vision that gives hope that after 30 years of failure through deficit models of social change, something new can emerge.
“We want a whole new public consensus on what we are prepared to accept as the quality of life for our children and those who are currently impoverished.” Rev. Dr. Susan Adams
Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga is comprised of community, union, faith and other relevant groupings from across civil society. The purpose of this alliance is to address the causes of poverty in families and communities so we all flourish. The initial focus is Auckland but the long-term plan is to build city-based alliances around Aotearoa.
Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga is a broad-based community organisation that fosters active citizenship and civil society leaders with the ability to negotiate with decision-makers toward systemic and structural change. Communities know what is wrong, they know what has to change but to fix the way things currently work in Aotearoa requires a breadth of leadership from many organisations that gives voice to these issues, and disciplined organisation that ensures these voices are heeded.
“The idea is huge but really exciting - and possible, if enough people are involved. Everyone knows something is wrong, but they don’t have the language to describe it. This is putting language to the problem.” – Dave Tims
The methodology is grounded in a 75-year-old tradition of the Industrial Areas Foundation that has been the basis of organising for a Living Wage in Aotearoa, where public and private sector employers are now adopting a new standard for decent incomes. Broad-based organising closes the gap between our communities and society’s decision-makers enabling people to influence their own future and the systems and structures that define their world.
Diverse groups come together and, through a process of listening and collectively defining and shaping the issues, develop a programme of work that represents the interests of local people committed to growing the power and effectiveness of their own communities. Building relationships and educating leaders in civil society organisations, grows the capacity of leaders to work together, describe the challenges, articulate the solutions, and take action to influence structural change.
Through public events, the powerful stand alongside citizens, hear their stories and respond to the collective “asks” of diverse communities. When accountability is lived, our communities benefit. People, together, become circuit breakers that transform whole communities.