We have helped connect, inform and resource communities

Maximising the impact of grant funding

Communities and local initiatives have benefitted from receiving targeted support and grants, as well as the advice, connections and capability-building provided by the Department.


Over $300 million in funding has been distributed to support communities and the wider voluntary sector through grants.

We’re continuing to reduce the administrative burden of applying for and receiving grant-based funding and we’re doing this in a few ways. We are continuing our partnership with Te Puni Kōkiri on the Oranga Marae programme, which has seen nearly $16 million of funding allocated to marae for revitalisation projects. We have also introduced multi-year funding to the Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS), which reduces the time organisations spend applying for funding and provides a level of assurance for community organisations applying annually. These improvements mean organisations can focus on the planning, delivery and retention of staff they need to support their communities.

Communities have benefitted through a wide range of initiatives including support for 16 community-led development partnerships, physical and cultural revitalisation of marae, a range of cultural, sports and recreation capital works projects, environmental and heritage projects, outdoor safety programmes, projects to increase volunteering, and funding for national and local community and social services. We have also supported individuals with disabilities to remove barriers to contributing to their communities.

Empowering communities to solve local problems

The Community-Led Development Programme (CLDP) encourages communities to achieve their goals by working together, building on strengths, and developing local leadership. Through the partnership models of Community-Led Development (CLD) we provide intensive support and holistic, flexible funding for up to five years to local communities.


Our support involves governance and project management improvements; supporting different ways of thinking; sharing new insights and community information; reporting progress; identifying potential stakeholders and guiding strategic direction.

This year saw eight new communities join the CLDP, lifting the number of partnerships to 19. The Department supported communities and hapū to work together, build on their strengths, develop leadership and action plans, and connect with people who can provide resources, tools and expertise. For example, a local CLDP partnership in Waitara saw funding received for a marine park development, environmental clean-ups and the installation of public amenities.

Achieving long-term wellbeing and safety for New Zealanders in the remote Chatham Islands is a crucial part of our coordination of an all-of-government, whole-of-islands, strategic framework for Crown investment (Chatham Islands Investment Strategy). The Strategy identifies three flagship projects: the airport runway redevelopment, telecommunications connectivity, and developing renewable energy. The desired outcome is to have renewable energy overtake diesel generated electricity, and the reticulated network is on track to be 100% renewable generated by 2030.

The four on-island stakeholder entities (Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri Iwi Trust, Hokotehi Moriori Trust, Chatham Islands Council, and the Chatham Islands Enterprise Trust) will engage with the Chatham Islands community to make the strategy a success.

Public trust and confidence in charities

We finalised (registered, declined or withdrew) more applications from organisations applying to become registered charities than we received during 2018/19, with 1,420 received and 1,495 finalised. Public trust and confidence in charities remains stable and public support for having a charities regulator is high, with results from a Research New Zealand survey showing that the level of trust remains moderate, comparable with other jurisdictions. Respondents rated the importance of having a sector regulator highly, giving an average score of 8.12 out of 10, with ten meaning that regulation is essential.

Empowering ethnic communities to succeed and contribute

We work with ethnically diverse communities and support the growing knowledge and understanding of an increasingly diverse New Zealand.


We were able to better support the Muslim and multifaith communities following the events of 15 March 2019, receiving $1.8 million of between-Budget contingency funding in April 2019 following urgent identification of the immediate requirement to support affected communities.

This funding was used to increase the number of Office of Ethnic Communities (OEC) community engagement staff in the southern region, provide contestable funding for projects, and organise a series of dialogue events with the relevant communities.

In response to the Christchurch mosques terror attacks, as part of $1.8 million funding, an additional $1 million was made available as a one-off funding allocation through the Ethnic Communities Development Fund. This additional funding prioritised projects that supported communities affected by the events in Christchurch. We specifically focused on projects designed to support wellbeing by bringing communities together to promote inclusion, safety and community harmony; encourage interaction between different communities; and build leadership capability within ethnically diverse communities.

Going forward, establishing meaningful engagement with New Zealand’s ethnically diverse communities means OEC’s work will have real impact for the people we serve. The funding we provide for community-led projects means these communities can become stronger, more cohesive and resilient. This aligns with the Ethnic Communities Development Fund priorities, which are centred around leadership development, social cohesion and cultural events.

Increasing ethnic diversity on State Sector bodies

Each year, the Government appoints over 400 people to statutory boards, committees and advisory groups. This provides an opportunity to grow ethnic representation in governance positions, to make sure the decisions made reflect the rich ethnic and cultural diversity of New Zealand.


Our Nominations Service connects people from ethnic communities with valuable and relevant skills and experience to State sector governance groups.

Between July 2018 and June 2019, we nominated 157 candidates to 66 State sector boards, eight of whom were appointed. We continue to work with candidates on their applications to improve appointment outcomes from ethnically diverse communities and raising awareness with appointing agencies on the benefits of ethnically diverse governance.

Safer Ethnic Communities

A key part of our work is connecting across communities and government, to ensure that the voices of ethnically diverse communities are reflected in government policies and decision making.

Following the Safer Ethnic Communities Forum of 2018 there were two key messages we followed up with attendees, including the need to:

  • increase awareness and understanding of diversity, and the issues ethnic communities face, and
  • implement a consistent all-of-government approach for engaging with ethnic communities on issues related to community safety.

In response to the Christchurch terror attacks, and as part of between budget contingency funding, Government provided funding of $0.500 million to conduct a series of National Dialogues with Muslim and interfaith communities to ensure our Muslim communities are involved and engaged in shaping the response to the terror attacks and the recovery process.

The dialogues, which will take place from June to December 2019, seek to promote greater social inclusion and wellbeing, counter Islamophobia, racism and discrimination, and pilot initiatives identified through the process.

Photo of Monina Hernandez

Monina Hernandez – Successful appointment

OEC recently supported Monina Hernandez’s appointment to the Board of the New Zealand Nursing Council.

Ms Hernandez was born in the Philippines and was able to bring her experience as a nurse leader and educator, and past strategic leadership experience, to her successful application.

The appointment of Ms Hernandez to the Nursing Council Board is a positive step towards ensuring State Sector boards are representative of the diversity and demographic makeup of New Zealand, including ethnicity, gender, age, and geographic location.

Follow this link to a profile sharing her background.

Back to: Making New Zealand better for New Zealanders