Excerpt from the report: This report focuses on Auckland Council’s engagement with South Auckland communities through The Southern Initiative (TSI) and provides a grassroots view of its relational approach and practices. The Southern Initiative is a place-based social and economic innovation platform in South Auckland – New Zealand.
The report shows how a council-led initiative can enable community and social innovation. While it was not written in praise of TSI, the insights and stories of this group of South Auckland changemakers are inspirational. Readers begin to see how change can happen when power is shared, innovation is embraced and people seek to work productively together. This change is made possible through family-like/whānau-oriented council−community relationships. Nearly half of those contributing to this research were/are Māori and their kōrero enriches this report with Māori interpretations of TSI’s relational approach. Pasifika views also provide unique insights and add a strong South Auckland feel. Rather than smooth-over tensions, challenges and contradictions, TSI welcomed the critical enquiry and reflection found in this report. Working in the innovation space can be challenging and complex work but also captivating and highly productive.
Importantly, this report makes more visible the kind of relational approach and practices that can enable council and government to work more productively with diverse communities. It weaves together grassroots perspectives of 25 South Auckland community leaders and changemakers to better understand TSI’s way of working.