Back in May Jo Nicholson from Social Value Aotearoa reached out to ask me if I would be able to attend and speak at the Te Pou Matakana’s (TPM) Whānau Ora Conference this September in Auckland. It definitely piqued my interest and the more I looked into this amazing organisation (alongside Waipareira Trust) the more impressed I was. Count me in!
Now for someone who lives in the UK, New Zealand is certainly not a quick excursion but the team at TPM took all the stress away making it an easy trip save the time difference! I tried to enter into NZ time while passing through LA otherwise I think my head would have exploded!
The amazing hospitality started at 5am at the airport with a big smile from my host Jo! After a short drive to the hotel and a quick change we headed into the centre of Auckland for a bit of a tour with Lewis and Kristin from Social Value Aotearoa followed by a lovely lunch together.
A ferry then whisked me and Jo across the bay to Devonport – a stunning suburb with a very different feel to the centre and a good setting for a ‘walk and talk’ about all things social value!
The following day we ran “Maximising Value” training for delegates from a wide variety of organisations across New Zealand. The training focuses on helping managers to collect the right data for the purposes of making changes to the delivery of their services thereby maximising impact for beneficiaries. Social Value Aotearoa will be running this training again in the future so look out for it! During the training, I was struck by how connected the delegates were to the people they served- particularly those working for front line organisations. It was very encouraging and hopefully a leading indicator for greater positive social impact in the future.
Next stop, dinner with John Tamihere, the CEO of Waipareira and TPM. We discussed history, the moving parts and levers of change in New Zealand and John’s impressive plans for the future and how Waipareira and TPM will increase positive outcomes for Māori people and their whānau.
The morning of the keynote was quite a whirlwind! There was amazing singing from a kapa haka group while we were having our breakfast. Following the Mihi Whakatau & Karakia opening by the kaumātua (elders), there was a series of fascinating talks providing context on the conference from Merepeka Raukawa-Tait the Chair of TPM, a speech from Hon. Peeni Henare, the Minister for Whānau Ora and then Awerangi Tamihere the Director Social Impact and Innovation for Waipareira, on understanding real investment for outcomes through the work of Waipareira. Then it was my turn – my wife (and mother!) were watching too on YouTube! My only concern – to do some kind of justice to the incredibly important topic of global inequality.
I addressed those causes which, in my opinion have brought us to where we are and could continue to sustain or increase inequality in the future. Social Value International and its partners across the world aim to change the way society accounts for value. We believe that doing this will ultimately lead to better decisions, changing resource flows, driving broader financial, social and environmental value thereby decreasing inequality.
I pointed out that Waipareira are guided through their impact framework and how they are genuinely one of the best examples in the world of an embedded system which focuses on stakeholders, collecting data from them and then constantly responding and adapting to the changing needs of their beneficiaries. SVI recently assured TPM’s Indigenous Social Value Whānau Ora Accreditation Framework. This has responsiveness built into it and is the first framework of its kind globally, at the same time specifically focussed on maximising positive impact for the Māori community.
My trip down under was definitely not long enough and I look forward to being able to return one day with my whānau for an extended stay. I have been energised by this experience! The models and approach adopted here are world class and should be replicated and exported around the world. Thank you to Jo, Lewis, Kristin and John for making me feel so welcome!!!