Innovating Streets Māori Engagement Project

Client: Whakatāne District Council
Services: Māori Stakeholder Engagement
Year: 2022
Brief: Craft and implement a Māori engagement strategy for the Whakatāne District Council Innovating Streets 2022 project. 
Contributors:  Project Lead – William Stewart; Project Manager – Violet Hape.

Whakatāne District Coumcil reached out to us to help them navigate a challenging terrain and forge a path of collaboration with Māori whānau/hapū iwi stakeholders for their 2022 Innovating Streets Project. The project was confronted by strained relationships and engagement fatigue, manifesting in a limited willingness from hapū to engage with Council on any kaupapa. Our mission was clear: restore trust and create meaningful opportunities for collaboration.

Our tailored Māori engagement strategy focused on rebuilding the trust between Council and tangata whenua, demonstrating a genuine commitment to valuing and responding to their voices in project outcomes. We also made a point of getting creative with our engagement activities, creating captivating and inspiring reasons for local whānau and hapū to actively participate in the project. One notable initiative was a neighbourhood hikoi, where whānau and hapū came together, face to face, to share their issues with the current roading and transport activity in their area, and also aspirations for the project in a meaningful and culturally significant manner. Our understanding of – and in-depth lived experiences within – Te Ao Māori allowed us shape engagement techniques that Māori found compelling, attractive and worthwhile attending.

The strategy’s resounding success set the stage for the completion of the Innovating Streets Project. Through our transformative approach, Council and local Māori forged a new path of collaboration, fostering an environment where partnership and shared aspirations thrive.