Messages from Australia

 

Ros  Rice Ros 2015 short hair
Executive Officer
Community Networks Aotearoa

At the recent NZCCSS and C.N.A conference we had three Australian keynote speakers travel to present to us.

Brian Smith from the Harwood Institute talked about sustainable impact and turning outward to community rather than inward organisationally and politically.  He provided us with tools and links to more tools which gave ways of connecting and working within communities.  Inspiring stuff.

Professor Shelley Mallet from the Brotherhood of St Laurence talked about the mission of the community sector in a time of change.  The Brotherhood has as objective, to demonstrate; to undertake; to strengthen; to collaborate and to work collaboratively, and their mission is to work towards a vision of an Australia free of poverty. We can learn from that in New Zealand.

Julian Moore, Australasia’s foremost non-profit sponsorship practitioner sprung ‘’unimaginable amounts of money’’ tales on us, and then drew it together with ideas, and offers of help and examples of how we too can find ways to connect with corporate sponsors.

Yet for all we learnt from these amazing speakers their experience of us was a different thing.

They loved being part of our cultural welcome and the leadership we take from tangata whenua felt to them like a spiritual experience.  They sat amazed listening to our NZ speakers discussing our experiences of the last nine years, and how we have held to our purpose, and fought for social justice and our values.

Two of them were moved to tears by what they described as being embraced within our sector and the overwhelming experience of being amongst people who understood their visions and engaged positively in their korero.

Brian wanted to talk about us to his international agency, and Shelley is now planning more trips back to New Zealand.  Julian comes here all the time, and he will be continuing his work in New Zealand.

It led me to thinking.  We often look at what we can learn from overseas agencies, but our own sector, struggling as it is and has been, still has a lot to teach.

This blog has been contributed by a member of the ComVoices network

ComVoices actively promotes the value that community sector organisations and their people, both paid and unpaid, add to New Zealand’s economic and social wellbeing through information, and political advocacy and dialogue.

Click here for our website:  http://comvoices.org.nz/