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Tāne Ora and Wā Hine Ora: Transforming lives in Taupo and Turangi 

Tāne Ora started in 2013 because a group of people in Taupo wanted it.  They wanted an opportunity to deal with their anger and violence before a programme was mandated - before they were ‘sent’ by the courts.  So Linda Moss, the ACE Coordinator at Central Plateau REAP, and Gloria Eves from the Taupo Violence Intervention Network (TVIN) collaborated to establish the Tāne Ora programme. 

Te Kakano Consultants, a husband and wife team Kimi Eriksen and Brendon Downs (Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Arawa), were contracted to facilitate the programme.

To supplement the ACE funding Linda organised an income generating project, Our Baches to Beautiful Homes.

In 2015 Linda and Gloria started Wā Hine Ora because the men in Tāne Ora wanted the women in their whānau to have a programme along the same lines as theirs so that tāne and wahine can learn together and build a pathway forward.

Now Central Plateau REAP/TVIN offer both programmes at the south end of the lake, at Turangi, as well as in Taupo.

The programmes are for two hours a week, Tāne Ora in the evening and Wā Hine Ora during the day. They have literacy embedded, are free and always open to new people joining.

Not just Māori come.  There are Pakeha, Australians, Indians….  You have to be sixteen years or older to attend, unless you come with a guardian.

Tāne Ora and Wā Hine ora are not ordinary ‘stopping violence’ programmes.  Kim Eriksen explains:

In search of Mauri Ora

“We look at the wellness of a person and work back rather than looking at the deficits of a person. We encourage them to look for the greatness within themselves first and this naturally shows up where they need to change.  It is not us telling them what to do.  They come to their own understanding of who they are.  It is a wānanga, a Māori approach and it is the opposite of what most stopping violence providers do.

“We talk about Te Ao Māori and the journey of Tāne and our evolution, looking at the barriers that were created and how he overcame them. In the Upper Realms Tāne could not survive without Wahine: We need the male and female elements, we need to work in unison rather than work against each other.

“We encourage them to look inwards, and therein lies the answers to what people need to do to bring themselves back into a state of wellness. At the end of day you can’t do it alone: You need a whole whānau approach and that is why we had to create a programme for wahine, so when men are standing up in their best state of wellness women can do the same.  

“In our first session we go over the programme outline and explain that it is a transformational programme.  It is up to them.  We can plant the seed, it is up to them how they bear the fruit.  We help them create wellbeing strategies and we dispel the illusions of family violence: it is not just physical acts and it can be intergenerational.  Violence is normalised in some families. It helps to explore the many forms of violation.  We discuss maintenance and sustainability of positive change, learning how to transform violent behaviour.  We talk about the behaviour rather than the person. 

“So they come to see that they have the power to change their circumstances, they have the ability to identify what they need and how they can go about that, to determine what wellness looks like for them.  People are different.  Some are more steeped in culture than others, but we say, it is OK to be where you are at.  We help lift up powerlessness and hopelessness and remind them of the power that they do have, the power within, rather than the power over.

“The way we facilitate it makes a difference.  The wānanga approach creates space and time to look at an inner vision.  Even if they do not choose to participate the korero is all around them.

“We also have school girls coming to Wā Hine Ora.  To start with we held sessions at the school at the request of the young girls.  They pleaded and said, we are affected by domestic violence in our own homes and we don’t believe we should have to suffer from the way our parents choose to live their lives.  The programme was supported by the Head of Māori.  She could see the results: they don’t do much learning at school if there is violation going on at home.  Now we run the programme at REAP in the middle of the day, and the girls get permission to come.  Often these young people are leading the way and later aunties, cousins and mothers come too.

“Younger tāne also often say what they have been through and how it has affected them.  Having everyone’s world view in the room works really well. Our kawa and our kaupapa (which they help to create at the beginning of the programme) means they know how to treat each other and why they are there. 

"We are more than a programme.  We are a movement.  We are changing our communities. Often people that have been through the programme come back. Our tuakana/teina approach means that we are providing role models.  The older tāne and wahine say, you younger people have rights of passage.  We did this. Now we can do something different together.  They work it out for themselves.

“Manurere is the second stage.  It is about maintenance and sustainability. Many of the tāne and wahine who compete their programmes go on to be part of Manurere.  They meet on a monthly basis.  They have a board and they organise events and community action. For example if a kaumatua needs wood they decide how they can help. Manurere will eventually be independent.  At the moment we are walking alongside them.”

Confidence and hope, says Kim, are the baseline outcomes. The starting point. From this beginning many participants find ways to realise their dreams and break out of poverty. There are those who are helped to move into social enterprise. Others have gone on to higher education - into teaching, midwifery, tourism, social services, health and fitness and online marketing. Two young tāne, with no formal education qualifications who came along from a gang culture completed Tāne Ora and then went on and did welding and forestry courses. 

The fact that the programme in Taupo is held at REAP premises means that participants are exposed to all the posters and information about opportunities for lifelong learning. 

Once people have made that step into violent-free lives and perhaps lifelong learning they become, says Kim, the transformers rather than the transformed.

Growing the movement

Because Kim and Brendon are encouraging a movement, something that is broader than individual change, they make sure that Tāne Ora and Wā Hine Ora are visible in the wider community. Every year they have a table at Waitangi Day and other community events, and they actively support E Tu Whānau/Stand up Whānau.

They have been asked if they might roll-out Tāne Ora and Wā Hine Ora nationally.  They have said, no. They believe that each initiative needs to come from the community, and as each community is different the programmes will be different.   What they are happy to do, however, is provide training for facilitators who are preparing to take up the challenge by their own communities for this type of programme.

Like the movement, collaboration is evolving too.  Just recently Linda Moss and Gloria Eaves were thrilled to hear that Whānau Ora is now supporting the programme by providing their rooms and refreshments for the groups meeting in Turangi. 


Tane Ora & Wa Hine Ora celebrate

At the end of each programme, participants of Tane Ora & Wa Hine Ora celebrate the completion of both programmes. This photo marked the occasion, with participants holding up their certificates alongside participants of past programmes who continue to support the Tane Ora/Wa Hine Ora programmes, the kaupapa of E Tu Whanau, and each other. 

Financial literacy for Pasifika families with member who has a disability  

It’s collaboratively designed, needs-based, family-centred, accessible, free - and it gets results.  Vaka Tautua in Auckland is now just over two thirds of the way towards reaching its target - providing financial literacy training for one hundred and fifty Pasifika families who have a member with a disability.

Vaka Tautua was established in 2007 to run community programs and services that provide support especially to older people, those living with disability or those seeking support for mental health. They also offer shared management services to a number of smaller groups and trusts.  Since 2009 they have been fully accredited with Telarc SAI QHNZ against the EQUIP4 Standards and more recently the Health and Disability Service standards.

Vui Mark Gosche became the CEO in July 2014, after having served on the governance board for five years.  He and his team did the research and then applied to Pasifika Futures, the Pacific Whanau Ora Commissioning Agency, for funding to provide financial literacy training for Pasifika families with a disability. Over seventy organisations applied and just seven got chosen.  The Vaka Tautua programme is not a core Whanau Ora service - it is in the Special Innovation category.

Mark: “It hasn’t ever been done before.  When we did the research into the financial situation of most Pasifika families in Auckland, we found that the median individual income was just a little more than $19,000 pa.  The median individual income is more like $28,000.  So already families with a member who has a disability were trying to survive on much lower incomes than the rest of the population.” Income earning capacity is reduced by 10 percent when there are care giving roles in the family and Mark says that it is not uncommon for families to be $20,000 - $30,000 in debt.

The Programme

The programme has been designed in collaboration with the Commission for Financial Capability, and based on a successful financial literacy programme in Tamaki. The Commission honed and shortened it and then Vaka Tautua held focus groups - so families had input into the design as well.

Initially many families were engaged through Vaka Tautua’s large client data base, as well as through social media.  Once a programme has been held in a community word gets around and more people want to join in.

There is an eight week block of evening workshops.  The whole family is encouraged to come along.  Between sessions each family has a home visit from a coach, reinforcing what they have learned in the workshops and working on individual family issues like getting their entitlements, such disability allowances or a tax refund. The sessions are in the evening, once again, so all of the family can be there.  

There are three coaches in Auckland. Together they provide a valuable resource of skills and knowledge: one is a trained adult educator, another a social worker and the third has a commercial background.   Each coach has five or six families and they work with their own ethnic groups as much as possible. 

Before the programme started Vaka Tautua found out what the families wanted to learn. “When you are asking people to come every week for eight weeks,” says Mark, “it must be relevant or they won’t come back.  We make sure that the venues are accessible, and help with transport problems.  We also provide food at the evening workshops so they don’t then have to go home and prepare a meal.”  

Each family is given a calculator (from the two dollar shop), a note book and a work book. 

Mark: “One of the keys to the whole programme is that each family has a spending diary so that all income and expenditure is recorded. They look at needs and wants and develop a budget that is based on spending on the needs not the wants. After the workshops finish we track the families for eight months and check how those goals are going, whether they are creating savings for an emergency and maintaining the behaviours they have changed as a result of the programme.

“In the past the person who made most of the financial decisions might have been the person with a disability, in one case it was a blind grandmother supported by her granddaughters. Often the carers are already overwhelmed by the stress of the caring role and there is a lot of ill health in the family. With the whole family involved each member contributes their skills, for example using a calculator or other technology or helping with language related needs - everyone is engaged in the process, and everyone takes responsibility.


“They all finish the programme and many are asking to do ‘stage two’! I go to the celebration evening that we have two months after the workshops have ended.  They come and tell their stories.  There is a general feeling of pride, a sense of massive achievement, that they have the skills and know-how to bring substantial change to their families.  And because they are now all contributing to their family’s wellbeing there is a great sense of connection. Being a care giver can be a very lonely life.  Through the workshops they meet other people and start to help each other out, building supportive groups of families.”

Upskilling people more generally is part of the programme. Vaka Tautua was asked by Pasifika Futures to make the programme broader than just financial literacy and to encourage family members to go on to other training. When families see that they are not earning enough to meet their outgoings the Vaka Tautua staff help them with advice on up-skilling.  One man, for instance, wanted to start a lawn mowing business: He went on several computing courses and learned about IRD requirements like GST, book keeping etc. so he could set up his own business, with the children, who were not employed at the time, doing the lawn mowing. He has now been able to replace his vehicle and buy a new lawn mower and things are going well.


Although Vaka Tautua has engaged families in every part of Auckland which has a large Pasifika population, they are just scratching the surface.  Statistics tell us that one in five New Zealanders has a disability, and with a population of over 200,000 Pasifika in Auckland that works out at about 40,000 Pasifika people (and their families) with a disability.

Mark hopes that the programme will continue. Certainly they are collecting a great deal of evidence of their success: Pasifika Futures has a very robust accountability system, starting with a pre-training questionnaire and a tool to measure progress each week. Changes recorded are broad, including things like stopping smoking, mental and physical health, and up-skilling - so overall it is very much about empowering families to make many positive changes in their lives.

Vaka Tautua is keen to see their empowerment and family model taken up by others.  The Commission for Financial Capability is promoting the programme, and Vaka Tautua will help other community groups wanting to provide financial literacy support for families who have a member with a disability.  They are also keen to take the template into other areas of need, such as family violence.  A contract to deliver this has recently been signed.

While the Vaka Tautua approach is soundly based on research and good practice, part of its success lies with the team who work there.  Vui Mark Gosche, onetime MP and Cabinet Minister, is a care giver for his wife: “Most of the people working here have a family member with a disability,” he says. “We have lived the experience and know the trials and tribulations.”

In 2015 Vaka Tautua received the Pasifika Whānau Ora Emerging Innovation Award.


Financial literacy for Pasifika families

Vui Mark Gosche with the Tongan families that graduated last year. 

SkillWise: Partnerships for inclusion

SkillWise is a Christchurch not-for-profit that provides support for adults with intellectual disabilities.

The organisation was started by a group of parents in 1991 as SPAN (Special Persons Alternative Needs) Charitable Trust, at a time when deinstitutionalisation brought uncertainty to the lives of many people with disabilities. It ran as a sheltered workshop until 2004 when, in response to Pathways to Inclusion (2001), there was a move towards more community participation. 

So from 2005-2008 SkillWise provided a range of supports and activities including a literacy and numeracy course in partnership with Hagley Community College.  This involved teaching basic literacy and numeracy skills through practical everyday exercises and helped to equip people with some of the skills needed for independent living.  At first Hagley provided the specialist teaching staff and SkillWise the support staff.  But as the Hagley staff increased their ability to provide the support and resources, the SkillWise staff were needed less.

Then the earthquakes struck Christchurch and SkillWise lost its buildings and most of their contents. Like so many in Christchurch the organisation turned this into an opportunity - an opportunity to do things differently.  So they embarked on a journey to ‘bridge the gap’ between disability services and mainstream opportunities for training and employment.  They worked in partnership with SAMS (Standards and Monitoring Services), which is a national NGO providing support for the evaluation and the development of disability services. This partnership gave the SkillWise team the opportunity to test some of their thinking about ways in which they might link people into a variety of opportunities in the wider community.

They have had a good base to build on. SkillWise has had a TEC-ACE contract providing basic skills through an activity based, no-fail learning package from the UK, called ASDAN.  There are two parts to the programme, Towards Independence and Key Steps. They are personal development programmes where people can achieve at their individual level.  Towards Independence modules include creative studies, cultural (eg current affairs and popular culture), independent living, leisure recreation and short, personal development/citizenship, and work related skills.  Key Steps moves learners towards a tertiary learning experience.  Topics include citizenship, values, health, environmental education, personal finance, identity, enterprise and internationalism.  The modules encourage students to develop their personal skills and take responsibility for their own learning. Twelve credits are needed to achieve a Silver/Gold Award, or the Certificate of Personal Effectiveness qualification.

These in house programmes are providing the perfect platform for learners to move into more formal mainstream learning.

Partnership with Ara

John Grant who is the General Manager at SkillWise has a passion for ‘the forgotten learners’ in the mainstream tertiary education system - adults with an intellectual disability.  He believes that there should be tertiary opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities in three broad areas: social and adaptive skills, leisure and recreation and employment.  Some courses can be community-based, if possible within the mainstream, others, he argues need to be provided by the formal tertiary institutions.  And he has helped make that happen in Christchurch: last year the first cohort of nine students completed Skill-up, a seventeen week Level 2 programme run at the Ara Institute of Canterbury (the newly branded CPIT/Aoraki polytechnic).  The employment-focused programme is a collaboration between Ara and SkillWise. Subject include digital literacy, exploring career options, study skills and employment skills. Classes run between 9.00am and 3.00 pm for two days, with a third ‘community day’ at a local hall which builds on the classroom work and is an opportunity for people to share the learning from their work experience. The work experience component is critical to the learning process as it allows for a more experiential learning based approach, together with providing an opportunity for relationships to develop between the learner and the employer. Early evidence would suggest these two factors combined with the ability for people to have support with the job search process during and after the course increases employment outcomes.   The second cohort of ten are now part way through their programme.

Of the nine who have completed the course, two gained employment one doing work in supermarket and another in bike maintenance); three are on work experience (kitchen hand, laundry assistant and shop assistant). All are continuing to get support from members of the SkillWise employment team.

John sat in on a session: “One of the things that amazes me is how much learning is going on, how much their confidence is growing and their expectations rising, just in a few months. One woman had work experience at a supermarket, just on the trolleys, but she already has aspirations to work in the bakery. When I was there they were talking about health and safety and the women told the group how she had noticed that a part of the footpath outside the supermarket was broken, a potential safety hazard.  She had told her supervisor and the area had been roped off and was being fixed.  I know this may seem a small thing, but it reflects so much change in terms of self-confidence and initiative. For that woman it was a huge shift.”

Getting people into employment requires a lot of work by the employment team at SkillWise: they need to find and support the employers who are willing to give people with an intellectual disability a job.  There are, fortunately, some who steadfastly are, but to widen the field SkillWise has another partnership going, this one to establish a social enterprise that will provide training and employment.

Social enterprise partnerships

The first move towards establishing a social enterprise is the White Room, which is an evolving community creative space, open to everyone. The intention is for artists from SkillWise to work and interact with other artists in an inclusive creative environment. Their exhibitions are already helping a very talented young man, Peter who is getting the support he needs to learn how to market his work.

Then there is a new project where five social service organisations are collaborating to establish a community café. This is part of a larger undertaking to develop an inner-city community garden and orchard. It is hoped that the café and community garden will provide training and employment opportunities for marginalised groups.   A comprehensive business plan has been developed and sponsors are currently coming on board.

Establishing solid partnerships take time.  John says that it took five years to bring the collaboration with Ara into fruition.  “It’s all about relationships,” he says. “You need to build those relationships and make a good case.  You need to link in with the right people and get everyone thinking, we can make this work!  Working in partnership is definitely the way to go as it combines ideas, resources and access to different funding and revenue streams. The key to success is a shared vision that all partners help create.”


Sam Webb doing her work experience at Robert Harris


Canada’s Tamarack Institute: Embracing the possible for community change

By Paul Born, President of Tamarack

For those of us concerned with social change and making the world a better place there is a definitive belief in the possible and hope for a better future. This optimism drives us to work harder and it helps us stay motivated. At Tamarack our work assumes that we can change ‘things’, whole systems, for the better. We look for evidence of change in our communities - like improvements in individual or family outcomes, increased capacity of a community to address social issues, or new policies and programs that improve people’s lives. In other words, we embrace possible. 

Tamarack is a Canadian not-for-profit organisation founded in 2001. Our three key priorities are: to build a connected force for positive community change; to end poverty, and to build a deeper sense of community in Canada and beyond.

At Tamarack we believe that true community change occurs when citizens and organisations adopt a new way of thinking and working together. We strive to help people engage and reconnect, and we facilitate processes that transform isolated individuals into groups of powerfully connected networks. Through stronger social infrastructure, people are able to broaden the knowledge and build the skills to deepen communities, collaborate across sectors, measure and evaluate community change, foster citizen engagement, and support place-based innovation.

Five key ideas

Tamarack is inspired to explore five key ideas: Collective Impact, Community Engagement, Collaborative Leadership, Community Development and Evaluating Community Impact.

Collective Impact is a framework designed to guide a form of collaboration that brings together different sectors for a common agenda to solve large, complex problems. Collective Impact is built upon five interconnected components: common agenda, shared measurement, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication and backbone support.

Community Engagement is the process by which citizens are engaged to work and learn together on behalf of their communities to create and realise bold visions for the future. Community Engagement is about listening to local needs, and responding and moving citizens from being passive consumers to taking active leadership roles.

Collaborative Leadership is not about one heroic leader creating a persuasive vision and gaining followers. The premise of collaborative leadership says: If you bring the appropriate people together in constructive ways with good information, they will create authentic visions and strategies for addressing the shared concerns of the organisation and community. Collaborative Leadership recognizes that how we decide is as important as what we decide – it values not only the solution but the process that gets us there.

Community Development is both a process - developing and enhancing the ability to act collectively - and an outcome - a decision to take collective action and the results that action generates. Community Development occurs when community members work together with organisations and governments to solve problems and realise new opportunities. At Tamarack we are guided by the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) framework. ABCD is a proven, strengths-based approach to sustainable community development. Developed by John McKnight, and now championed by a global network of practitioners, ABCD emphasises gifts, skills, talents and resources rather than needs and deficits.

Evaluating Community Impact focuses on evaluating multi-faceted, large-scale community change initiatives, rather than simply evaluating the success of an individual program. Assessing and measuring systems change has unique challenges, and Tamarack has curated a robust body of knowledge, resources and tools focused on Evaluation Planning and Outcome Evaluation.

We use a multitude of platforms and techniques to equip community leaders and practitioners with skills, knowledge, resources and connections to make lasting change in their communities. We envision ourselves as a catalyst for illuminating the latest and greatest thinking in progressive policies and innovative programs that can transform our communities into inclusive, vibrant and healthy places. 

We facilitate learning communities for individuals and groups to connect and learn from one another’s successes and failures. Learning communities are a mechanism that prompts large-scale change in thinking - where a group of people can develop a collective wisdom that causes them to act and live differently. Learning communities create spaces for people to learn together and, when taken to scale, change a community. Tamarack connects people who are interested in community-building and social resilience to strengthen cities and neighbourhoods. Each participant brings tacit knowledge about the power of community. Learning takes on a generative quality at these events and creates a network or social structure that can both deepen each learner’s knowledge and create better knowledge and action for the field.

Three kinds of learning communities

By making a commitment to learn together in a co-generative process, learners co-create a space for reflection and knowledge creation. At Tamarack, we implement three kinds of learning communities:

  • Face-to-face learning events, where people can learn as much from each other as they do from experts.
  • Online learning communities, where people can engage with each other through interactive webinars and blogs.
  • Communities of Practice, where members participate in a continuous cycle of learning, doing, and reflecting on their common work.

Learning Events: Tamarack hosts more than a dozen workshops on topics related to community change each year. We organize each event to ensure people experience a sense of ‘commons’ through interactions such as learning labs and workshops. We facilitate trust-building, so learners can engage with genuine questions to challenge their ideas and create new knowledge.

Our hope is to create supportive communities where people can regenerate a sense of energy, mission, and purpose in their work, so they can go back to their communities and implement what they have articulated and learned.

Online communities: In addition to our main website,, we host three online spaces for specific learning communities:

  • Tamarack Communities Collaborating for Impact is for collaborative leaders who are using a multi-sector approach to solve complex challenges.
  • Vibrant Communities Canada is for cities that have comprehensive poverty reduction strategies led by multi-sector roundtables.
  • Deepening Community is for people who want to recapture the idea of community, make it a guiding force in their neighbourhoods and institutions, and envision policies that foster well-being.

Each online learning community hosts resources, interactive blogs, learner-initiated communities of practice, and webinars.

Communities of Practice: Tamarack leads two learning communities that support practitioners working to achieve large-scale community change. They include:

  • Vibrant Communities - Cities Reducing Poverty, a network of 55 cities that are creating comprehensive poverty reduction strategies to impact the lives of one million Canadians living in poverty. Members of this network believe this goal can be achieved through aligning poverty efforts at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels. If we all work toward the same end, the result will be a healthier and more vibrant Canada.
  • Deepening Community is a network of individuals, organisations and municipalities who are interested in exploring the power of citizens as a guiding force in how neighbourhoods, organisations and institutions address complex community issues.

Our hope in facilitating these learning communities is that we are making it easier for people to do the right thing. We work with leaders in non-profits, government, business, and the community to make their work of advancing positive community change more effective. We do this by teaching and writing. We turn theory into action by connecting people into networks to advance the change they wish to see in their communities.

We are smarter together. And if we can embrace the prospect of the possible – our collective belief in the possible will drive us to work with others to innovate, release, accept, and make things better for each other: This is how the improbable becomes the inevitable. This is how change occurs.  

Quotation: “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”  Margaret Mead

[This quotation is listed on Tamarack’s website, as one of the three ideas that inspires the organisation]

Our people


Dr Jo Lake has resigned as the Director of ACE Aotearoa.  She leaves the organisation on July 18 and, after a very full career, moves into retirement.

Jo began her time as Director in 2010.  Over the last six years she has used her public service background and management skills to make some strategic changes to the way the organisation works.

At the ACE Aotearoa AGM in June Co-chair Wendel Karati said that the Board and the organisation were extremely grateful to Jo Lake for the wonderful service she has given as Director, and for the approach that she has taken with the Board. Jo’s exemplary professionalism has ensured that ACE Aotearoa has maintained momentum and her contribution has ensured that ACE Aotearoa continues to grow and remain credible in the eyes of both the ACE Sector and our stakeholders.

Jo has been a great leader and role model and has encouraged her staff to grow as they perform in their roles.  She will be missed. However her grandchildren and dogs will greatly benefit from being able to spend more time with her. 


Colin McGregor

Colin has had a public sector career which has included roles in the Vocational Guidance Service, Ministry of Education and Department for Corrections. He has worked both as a practitioner and a leader. He comes to ACE Aotearoa from three and a half years as the Ministry of Education’s Private Secretary in the Office of the Associate Minister of Education, Hon Nikki Kaye.

Colin has on ongoing commitment to adult education. From his first cooking course in Palmerston North (when flatting as a student) he has continued learning within and outside his working life. He’s done this through learning environments ranging from formal university courses to on line courses in topics as varied as the science of happiness and the life of Alexander the Great.

Colin is looking forward to building on the strong foundation established by Jo Lake to ensure delivery of high quality service to the ACE sector, and promotion of the sector as an essential part of the NZ education landscape as work and learning continue to change at a rapid pace. He recently attended the ACE conference and ACE conference dinner in Wellington and was moved by the experiences and dedication of the key note speakers and those who received awards.

Colin is married to Marti Eller, who completed some policy work for ACE Aotearoa in 2015. Marti and Colin have two grown daughters. Colin enjoys riding his motorbike in the weekends with his friends and has an annual South Island motorcycle trip.

ACE in Schools 2016

CLASS (Community Learning Association through Schools) had their annual conference in Wellington, earlier this year.

In their regular newsletter to CLASS members outgoing President Linda Melrose noted that although there are now only nineteen schools providing TEC supported ACE, statistics show that ACE-in-Schools is still the largest deliverer of  ACE community courses nationally and that the schools providing ACE enjoy a high trust relationship with the TEC.

Current information suggests that there are also eight schools which offer solely self-funded programmes: Massey High School and Western Springs College in Auckland, Queen Elizabeth II College in Palmerston North, Waimea College in Nelson, and Papanui High School in Christchurch.   Three others in Christchurch (Hornby High School, Christchurch Girls' High School and Shirley Boys' High School) are administered through the Risingholme Community Centre. 

Many readers will know Linda Melrose well. She first started coordinating the Onehunga High School ACE programme in 1993.  She played an active part in the Auckland ACE schools association ASCEA, which provides a tutor training programme and facilitates networking and collaboration between the local ACE schools. Today the Adult Learning Centre at Onehunga High School remains an active and innovative ACE provider in Auckland.

So what about the new president of CLASS, and his school, Glenfield College?

Greg Hoskins has a background in web design, digital marketing and a TESOL qualification.  Before taking on the Coordinator role he was a tutor on the ACE programme, providing courses on IT subjects like Graphic Design, Digital Literacy, as well as ESOL.  

At Glenfield College there are about 700 ACE learners each year. The TEC-funded ACE programmes are all ESOL courses, at various levels, for speakers of English as a Second Language.   Each year they have over 350 learners, mainly Mandarin speaking, most of whom enroll for four terms of an eight week programme that runs for five days a week from 9.15 am - 2.30 pm.  Most of the learners are wanting to improve their English so they can get into employment and communicate more effectively.  Some need to come back for a second year. Then there are the students who need to gain a specified level of proficiency in IELTS before they can enroll in New Zealand’s tertiary education system.

The user pays programme at Glenfield is gradually building up again to its previous levels after a community perception that all ACE programmes had disappeared altogether from the North Shore.  Popular programmes include Office Administration, Gearing up for Work, Digital Literacy and Sewing Made Easy. There are heaps more.  The fees for most of the courses are kept at around $100 or below.

About thirty-five percent of the ESOL learners go onto user-pays programmes at Glenfield College. Classes like sewing and cooking are especially popular, because they are then learning alongside New Zealanders, giving them an opportunity to practice their English and get to know Kiwis.

Currently Glenfield College is the only school on the North Shore providing an ACE programme.  After the cuts in 2009 Rangitoto and Northcote both continued with user pays, but over the last couple of years they have pulled out of ACE provision.

Greg will be representing the schools that are members of CLASS at the ACE Sector Strategic Alliance. 


Greg Hoskins, the new President of CLASS

ACE Aotearoa Awards

Provider of the year: Tangata Whenua - Te Ataarangi Hutt Valley and Newlands

Te Ataarangi Hutt Valley and Newlands offers a range of te reo learning opportunities in different locations and at different levels.  They also run a whānau based programme and coordinate and disseminate information about Te Upoko o te Ika’s three regional hui per year and the annual Hui a Tau.  Each year Te Atakohu O’Sullivan and Kaiako Rina Kerei build and extend communities of learners united by the common desire to be able to communicate in te reo Māori.  Community is formed through singing together during class and learning together in the supportive environment that is fostered by Te Ataarangi teaching methods and tikanga.  Learners are able to engage with the wider Te Ataarangi whānau through written and oral pānui about events, relevant kaupapa, births and deaths, and invitations to attend hui, and tangihanga.   In the Intermediate class students take responsibility for tikanga aspects of the learning method. The price of entry to their programmes is very low - the quality of teaching and expectations of students very high. Te Ataarangi Hutt Valley and Newlands makes an important contribution to adult and community education for people living in the Hutt Valley and Newlands.

Provider of the year: Tangata Tiriti – Te Aroha Noa Community Services

Te Aroha Noa is a community development organisation in Highbury, Palmerston North.  Over the last 18 years Te Aroha Noa  has refined its practice through community led initiatives and has evolved an integrated, two generational, reflective model which is strongly influenced by strengths-based practice. Te Aroha Noa has established a learning community - one where the desire to learn is developing into a ‘positive virus’.  They have introduced a number of innovative programmes including the NZQA Puumanawa Certificate helping learners to pathway into further education and a wraparound education and support service for young mothers without family support. They also collaborate with Massey University on ACE research projects, and help educate staff in other government and non-government agencies who regularly come into contact with potential adult learners. This community organisation is not only facilitating the development of a low income community it is providing new models of practice that is facilitating the development of the whole ACE sector.

Community Programme of the Year: Tangata Whenua –Te Waka Pu Whenua

In March 1999 Te Waka Pu Whenua opened its doors as a Maori Adult Community Education Centre in Taumarunui where fifty percent of the population are Maori. ‘Pu Whenua’ is an ancient term referring to the transfer of knowledge from the whenua from which Māori have sprung.  Their aim was to help build a vibrant community.  Today Te Waka Pu Whenua is a Mātauranga Māori based organisation providing learning opportunities rooted in whakapapa and tradition, giving local Māori the opportunity to express their own experiences and shape their own future.  The organisation has been one of the cornerstones of a local Māori renaissance in raranga weaving and educated many members of their community through courses in their local reo, history, oratory, and te wharetangata. Kaumatua, who are the repositories of knowledge, have been supported so that they can grow in this role and continue to provide the leadership needed to sustain Taumarunui as a vibrant mātauranga Māori community.

Community programme of the Year: Tangata Tiriti – AKAU

ĀKAU means where the land meets the water - a place of transition. The three young women who established ĀKAU in Kaikohe have created a model of ACE that while ticking all the boxes in terms of good practice, is operating in an entirely new context: a professional architectural and interior design studio that provides disengaged young people with a no cost opportunity to learn, using a hands-on approach to design real projects.  The three women are: Ana Heremaia, Ngapuhi, an interior architect; Ruby Watson, an architectural designer and artist; and Felicity Brenchley, a registered architect.  ĀKAU works in partnership with NorthTec, so that their learners are pathwaying into further education. Sustainability is part of the kaupapa:  environmental - using materials of the earth and caring for papatuanuku; organisational - making sure that ĀKAU can sustain itself as a business; and learner pathways - making sure that the youth that they work with can create a sustainable business for themselves and their whanau.   ĀKAU, which was piloted last year, is now a full year 120-credit course.   

Educator of the Year: Tangata Whenua – Awhina Chapman

 Awhina Chapman is an ACE tutor for Eastbay REAP, working in the small community of Murupara.  Awhina is passionate about ACE learners in and out of the classroom. She is able to be gentle but firm, empowering learners to keep on their path or supporting them when change happens in their lives. By involving other community groups in her programmes, she links her learners into their community so they can access other information and support. She understands how young people learn and builds on the digital technology and the cultural capital that young people bring to ACE. Her approach is intergenerational - mokopuna, young adults, older people and kaumatua are often in a learning environment together. As a result of being part of her ACE programme many learners become role models and active members of their community.  They have also been recognised nationally.  Earlier this year four of her ACE learners were part of the youth group that won the national community awards held in Dunedin. Awhina Chapman has made Murupara a learning community. 

Educator of the Year: Tangata Tiriti: Tuiloma Lin-Jodi Vaine Samu and Gail Harrison

Tuiloma Lina Samu’s involvement in the adult literacy sector began in 2008 as a volunteer tutor for the literacy organisation, He Waka Mātauranga in South Auckland. She is now chair of their Board. Lina has strong links to Pasifika and Māori communities in the Auckland region and nationwide.  She is a Literacy Aotearoa National Trainer teaching the Certificate of Adult Literacy Tutoring (CALT), the NCALNE (Educator) and the NCALNE (Vocational) qualifications.  She is also a Pasifika workshop facilitator for He Taunga Waka (Ako Aotearoa & Literacy Aotearoa initiative) which helps educators better connect, engage and facilitate skill development with Māori and Pasifika learners.   Lina designed the Pasifika curriculum for He Taunga Waka workshops which immerse educators in Māori and Pasifika world views so they can better understand, value and feel confident working with adult Māori and Pasifika learners. She is now completing her PhD.

Gail Harrison’s life’s work as a community educator both nationally and overseas has been as a tireless advocate to inspire and enable intergeneration change. Being a “critic and conscience” within the ACE community for over three decades now, her mana (with humble acknowledgment of the support she has had from all the learners, tutors and stakeholders with whom she has worked over the years) has been echoed in publications and acknowledged through a series of awards and accolades from her local and national community. Described in a recent (June 2015) NZQA Report as a manager who is “politically and socially savvy”, Gail is also recognised as an educator extraordinaire and inspirational leader.  In her current role, as Lead Educator and Manager at the Whanganui Learning Centre Trust, she has responsibility for up to 500 learners a year, of whom approximately 80% are indigenous students or students of other ethnicities.   Her success in helping them to transition towards a life of positive and transformational change has become legendary within the awa.

Member of the Year: Tangata Whenua - Sandra Lee Morrison

Sandra Lee Morrison (Te Arawa, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Rārua), has made a long and valuable contribution to adult and community education both nationally and internationally.     She was a member of: the TEC ACE Reference Group from 2000-2008 (and the Chair of that group from 2005-2008); the Working Party that produced Koia! Koia! Towards a Learning Society in 2001; and the TEC ACE Professional Development Working Group from 2006-2008.   She is the President of the International Council of Adult Education, a position she was elected to in 2015 and was the President of ASPBAE from 20085-2008.  From 1999 to 2004 she was ASPBAE’s Executive Council representative member for the South Pacific.  Sandy has contributed to international resource on Quality Education for Indigenous peoples and international research on Confintea VI.  These international projects have helped to provide a policy framework for the inclusion of indigenous people. Sandy has received a number of awards for her work including an Ako Aotearoa Sustained Excellence Award (2011). In 2009 she was inducted into the International Adult and Community Education Hall of Fame by the University of Oklahoma. She was the first indigenous person and New Zealander to receive this prestigious award.

Member of the Year: Tangata Tiriti – Peter Clinton Foaese

Peter Clinton Foaese has established new adult community education opportunities in the Petone community.  Building on a youth programme that he set up (at the invitation of a local primary school teacher) to help young people from drifting further into anti-social behaviour, Peter, along with the mothers of these children, established Whakaoho, or Awaken. Soon there were about twenty mothers in Petone meeting every Tuesday evening at the Jackson Street Flats - or ‘The Bronx’ as they are known locally.  The children and young teens have fun and the mothers prepare food to share and support each other.  The women want to be role models and now many have got back into education. There have been some great success stories for the mothers – and the children.  In 2013 Peter Clinton Foaese attended an ASPBAE Basic Leadership Training programme, Youth Voices in Education.  Building on the skills he acquired on that course he, along with a group of committed young Pacific people in Hutt City, organised a Pacific All Stars Initiative.  In 2016 he was invited by the President of ASPBAE to present at the Youth Disengagement and Lifelong Learning Seminar in Melbourne.  Peter is an emerging leader for Māori and Pasifika adult and community education in Aotearoa New Zealand.

ACE News


It has been a busy few months since our last report in the newsletter. The Board met on 6 April and undertook the annual independently facilitated self-review. The results of that review (functional, high performing Board) were reported to members as part of the  co-chairs’ report at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2016.

In addition, the Auditor (Deloitte) attended the April Board meeting to discuss the Financial Audit 2015 - a clear opinion was issued, and was positive about the quality of financial management within ACE Aotearoa. The Auditor accepted the invitation to attend the AGM 2016, and the audited financial statements were included in the Annual Report 2015 which was presented at the AGM.

The Board next met on 14 June, immediately prior to the AGM. At that meeting, the Board formally welcomed the incoming Director, Colin McGregor and graciously farewelled the outgoing Director, Jo Lake who has been in the position of Director for six years.

The Board then convened the ACE Aotearoa Annual General Meeting. In addition to the co-chairs’, the Director’s and the Treasurer’s reports,  the members elected four Board members to take up positions where terms had expired (two Tangata Whenua and two Tangata Tiriti). The  elected members are Tengaruru Wi Neera and Jay Rupapera (Tangata Whenua) and Theresa Christie and Wendel Karati (Tangata Tiriti). That is an injection of new blood into the Board with three of those elected taking up their first term as Board member. Wendel Karati has returned for her third term.

Under the ACE Aotearoa Constitution (2011, and in 2012), a Board member can serve three consecutive terms, but then must take a break of at least one term before re-standing. Those provisions were made in the recognition that we want to encourage service for the ACE Sector, and we want to ensure that the Board continues to be revitalised with new members.

And there has been a change in the face of the ACE Aotearoa Board. For many years, the backbone of the Board were representatives from the various REAPs. The ACE Sector has been well served by the REAPs who encouraged their senior staff to gain governance experience by serving on the Board over a period when ACE Aotearoa needed revitalising. Those Boards were a strong and powerful force for positive growth across the sector. Now other sub-sectors are picking up the role - the 2016 Board has literacy, community group/centres as well as individual practitioners - who will continue from the foundation laid down by previous Boards. The depth of talent across the ACE Sector
promises that the current and future Boards will be very effective.

The quality of the ACE Sector was again demonstrated through the ACE Aotearoa annual awards, presented at the ACE Conference dinner (see above). All Board members were active hosts throughout the Conference, and like Board members we were delighted with the engagement of all participants. Thank you all for your part in making an enjoyable and memorable conference.


Dr Jo Lake


The Strategic Alliance met on 10 May, our second meeting of the year. (Two more are scheduled, one in August and one in November).

The Strategic Alliance invites representatives from the TEC and the Ministry of Education to our meetings, to facilitate communication on relevant matters. 

During those discussions, the Ministry has provided updates on specifics around the provision of foundation education, Workplace Literacy, ESOL, Youth Guarantee and Section 159 determination for Adult and Community Education.  

In respect of the Review of the Education Act, Ministry representatives advised that submissions are currently being analysed and a report will be presented to the Minister of Education.  There was discussion around the integration of the levels of education (primary, secondary and tertiary) to better encompass the very evident need for life-long learning.

The Tertiary Education Commission representative advised that post the contestable funding round, sixteen new providers are now operational in the ACE sector, two of which are community providers, the other fourteen are Private Training Establishments (PTEs).   There are now a total of 41 providers receiving funding from the ACE in communities fund.    In addition, in May, the Strategic Alliance met Niki Penberthy who has joined the Community Education team, replacing Anne Benson.

The Strategic Alliance made a submission to the Productivity Commission on the new models of Tertiary Education, highlighting key issues for ACE learners that were not addressed in the issues paper, and seeking greater recognition of the importance of ACE as part of the Tertiary Education Sector.  In addition, Wendel Karati and Jo Lake met with representatives of the Productivity Commission.  One of the questions we were able to resolve was whether ACE is appropriately located in the tertiary sector, rather than the community sector! 

In addition, the Strategic Alliance hosted the political panel update at the ACE Sector Conference.  Four parties accepted our invitation:  National (Dr Jian Yang), New Zealand First (Tracey Martin), Labour (Jenny Salesa) and Greens (Catherine Delahunty.  The questions panel members were asked to address were: Does your Party see a relationship between lifelong learning, sustainable lifestyles and ongoing contributions?  And - What is your Party doing to ensure sustainable lifestyles for all and ongoing contributions from all?


Jay Rupapera: Tangata Whenua

Ka titiro ki Whangatauatia

Nga kupu i korero tia mo tenei maunga

Tumoana te rangatira

Tinana te waka

Wairoa te awa

Karirikura te moana

Ko Wharo te one

Korou kore te marae

Wikitoria te whare tupuna

Te Rarawa te Iwi

Ko au te mokopuna o te whenua o Ahipara

Ko Jay Rupapera

I am currently the Manager of Far North Adult Literacy Trust. A dedicated wife and mother of five young adults and one grandson and I live in a small town called Ahipara on the south end of Ninety Mile breach. I am a trained adult educator and have worked in the sector for 17 years.  After I had my children I returned to work for a PTE, Sobieski Consultants, working with youth at risk delivering the National Certificate in Employment Skills.  I then moved into Area Schools where I was the STAR and Gateway programmes coordinator. Once my children finished secondary school I worked with Far North REAP managing the education team and delivering parenting programmes.  I have studied Business and Management.  Throughout my career I have worked as a volunteer and been a member of several community governing boards.

It is an honour and privilege to be a new member of ACE Aotearoa. I look forward to an exciting journey working partnering with ACE Aotearoa and endeavour to do my best by our people and our communities.

Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa.


Tengaruru Wi Neera: Tangata Whenua

Tēnei te haere mai nei

Ka takatū mai i wiwī i wawā

Tatau ana ki Te Hāpori Mātauranga o Ngā Taipahake

E noho nei i Te Whanganui ā Tara

Ko Taranaki te maunga

Ko Aotea te waka

Ko Tāngahoe te awa

Ko Ngāti Ruanui te iwi

Ko Hāmua, ko Hāpōtiki ngā hapū

Ko Taiporohēnui te marae.

I am currently Advisor Māori, Programme Coordinator & Volunteer Coordinator at Literacy Aotearoa Wellington Inc. I come from a tertiary education background where I worked with rural Māori communities to develop kaupapa Māori based initiatives. As a new board member of ACE Aotearoa I am honoured to be able to represent the views of tangata whenua at a governance level and will endeavour to do my best to ensure that te reo, tikanga and mātauranga Māori continues to develop and grow within the organisation.

Nō reira, e maunga whakahī, e ngā kōkoiawa, e ngā pungarehutanga ahi, haere ngā mihi, haere ngā mate, haere ngā kōrero.


Therese Christie: Tangata Tiriti

Theresa is curently the Manager of Whau ACE in New Lynn Auckland - a position she has held for the last two years.  She has a background in both the commercial sector (she ran her own business for nine years) and in the community sector (she worked as a manager in the Waipareira Trust). When she was in business she continued to work for community organisations as a volunteer helping them both with their business planning and accessing funding.

Theresa currently chairs the Waitakere ACE Network which, with the help of an ACE Professional Development grant has been very active recently.  At the last series of four workshops (on literacy and numeracy, work readiness, connecting with Māori learners and connecting with Pasifika learners), there have been between 15-18 people attending.

Whau ACE is currently working on their strategic direction, with the help the Tindall Foundation which provides resources in kind, rather than a grant.

Theresa was born in Kaikohe.  She is both Māori (Ngapuhi) and Samoan.  She chose to stand for election on the ACE Aotearoa Board a Tangata Tiriti member.

ACE Place

ACE Place ( is a free, online learning portal that will help you kick-start your learning journey. You might want to find a better job, adopt a healthier lifestyle or explore things you are interested in. ACE Place is all about working out what you want for yourself and working out how to accomplish it, with the help and support of the community.

It's a place to...

·         Explore different learning pathways

·         Find out what courses are being offered in your community

·         Share your learning experiences and hear from others

·         Store your qualifications, work experience and achievements for your CV

·         Prioritize things in your life

How do I join?

You can join by registering at the bottom right of the homepage - A register box will pop up and you will need to fill in your details. Then, you will be sent an email. In the email, click on the link to confirm your registration.

ACE Learner Outcomes Update

It is with pleasure I am writing to let you know the progress of the ACE Learner Outcomes Tool and some recent reporting enhancements.

As of the 1st of June 2016 there were 37 organisations/providers participating in the system. They have enrolled 861 learners and 617 of these learners have completed their surveys. This body of data is growing at the rate of 150 -200 learners per term and is providing some real insights about the impact of ACE on learners lives.

For example every learner who has completed their surveys report that they are definitely going on to further education regardless of whether or not they achieved their learning goals. The data also shows that there is a correlation between level of learning goals achieved and the learner’s hope for getting work – the more learning goals achieved the higher the hope.

New Features

We have added 3 new reports: Actual further education destination of learners; Ethnicity of learners; and Course focus.

All of the reports (both new and existing) are easily able to be exported so providers can attach them to funding applications, annual reports etc.

Carl Pascoe

Notice Board

Adult Learners Week He Tangata Mātauranga 2016: September 5 -11.

The Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre Conference: Exploring cultural perceptions of money and wealth; October 10-11 2016. Researchers and practitioners should express their interest in attending and/or presenting a paper or running a workshop by emailing: Hui Fono 2017.

Getting of Wisdom Exchange: February 12-18 2017

PD Grants closing date: 30 September 2016

Getting of Wisdom Exchange

ACE Aotearoa is partnering with Adult Learning Australia (ALA) and the European organisation Education and Learning by Older Adults (ELOA – which is the Network of the European Society for Research into the Education of Adults) in an exciting one week international exchange on older learning research, policy and practice.

The event is from February 12-18 2017.

The first half of the Getting of Wisdom international exchange in Australia will include two one-day Conferences in Ballarat and Melbourne and a field trip.  The Ballarat Conference on February 14 will focus on Learning in Later Life Diverse Contexts; in Melbourne (February 15) the focus is on Learning in Later Life and Social Inequalities.

The Conference in Wellington on February 16 is on Learning, Empowerment and Identity in Later Life.

Participants can register for the whole week, just for the Australian or New Zealand parts of the exchange, or for any of the one day Conferences.

Those registering for the full exchange program will participate in all three conferences, stay three nights in Ballarat and three nights in Wellington, participate in one day study tours of community-based older adult education and experience indigenous welcomes, as well as cultural and social programs in both countries.

Gillian Brock who is coordinating the ACE Aotearoa part of the exchange with Charissa Waerea and Mary Gavigan.    

Any person or organisation interested in participating or contributing to the Exchange or Conferences is encouraged to contact Mary Gavigan at

Registration and program information will be added to the ACE Aotearoa web site by August 2016.

Details about how to submit papers for the 15 Feb Wellington Conference on the theme 'Learning, empowerment and identity in later life' will be available during July 2016 via the ALA and ACE Aotearoa web sites. Conference participants who submit full papers via the Australian Journal of Adult Learning website by 25 Nov 2016 have the option of having them refereed and published in the Conference proceedings. 

ACE Aotearoa Board Members  

Tangata Whenua:  

Charissa Waerea (Co-chair)

Hauiti Kakopa

Jay Rupapera

Tengaruru Wi Neera


Tangata Tiriti:

Wendel Karati (Co-Chair)

Gillian Brock

Theresa Christie

Pale Sauni

ACE Aotearoa Newsletter contact details

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