Aotearoa’s success in eliminating COVID-19 is remarkable, matched by only a few other countries in the world. It required not only effective leadership and fast action by central government, but also the co-ordinated effort of thousands of local people around the country. In this report, the authors discuss how local communities helped in eliminating COVID-19 and how community collaboration can be maintained.
Recommendations for enhancing community development:
- Devolve funding and power to hāpu and local communities. Involve hapū and communities in design and local decision-making processes alongside iwi, councils, business, and other key stakeholders.
- A variety of responses will be needed to serve and support diverse parts of local communities and enable equity. One size solutions do not fit all, and imposing them can undermine local initiatives and marginalise those outside the mainstream.
- People, connections and trust make things happen. Build social infrastructure through networks, brokering and weaving roles. Relationship comes before partnership.
- Look for further opportunities to work with others, especially across silos. Partnering makes better use of local resources, shares risk and encourages innovation and learning.
- Fund locally-led enterprise and action. Support processes and capability building that connects and builds more integrated social and economic capacity.
- Complex challenges require creative responses to see what works. Mandate innovation and learning and provide flexible funding that allows for change and adaptation.