Ranui Action Project (RAP) is guided by the whakatauaki Me puāwai tātou katoa i roto i te kotahitanga o Rānui – In Rānui, we progress in unity. The whakatauaki was gifted by the respected leader and kaumatua Matua Dennis Hansen.

RAP Inc. was founded in 2000 as a vehicle for local community-led development. It sits on one corner of the main intersection in Ranui.

The other corners are occupied by the Ranui Community Centre (which offers a number of classes for both adults and children), a stunning new library, and a medical centre. All of these services work together in response to the needs of an ethnically diverse community of nearly 13,000 residents. Māori and Pasifika make up 51% of the population; 27% are under the age of 15 years.

RAP is run by a small team of 1.25 full time equivalent staff. There is a manager Carol Glamuzina; a house coordinator Sandra Hickey; and three part time contractors – Edith Amituanai (youth empowerment), Pania Taka-Brown (kaitakawaenga – Māori led development) and Hinemoa Key (kaitakawaenga – migrant refugee women and their families).

The projects

The Māori led development projects apply Māori tikanga to a community development philosophy.

Annual Matariki events with the library, local businesses, community gardens and social enterprise Café Kōrero, focus on bringing the community together to share food and reflect on the previous year. A sit down hangi meal with families living in the caravan park is a collaboration with the Waitemata District Health Board, Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust, Monte Cecilia Housing Trust, and the Ranui Baptist Church.

Local leader and migrant Lema Shamamba works with Hinemoa to reduce the isolation that refugee migrant families often experience.

Lema has established a migrant women’s support group called Women of Hope, Wake up and Help Ourselves. The group’s activities include a Swahili language playgroup, indigenous food plots at the community gardens, local craft workshops, cultural events and celebrations.

“Lema came to RAP with amazing skills,” says Hinemoa. “She is a teacher, a gardener, a crafts woman and a film maker. She has paved the way for other women by producing handicrafts which sell at local markets. And as a result of her last visit to the Congo she has produced three films on her work with the Armani orphanage in the Congo and other community development work she has been involved in. One of the films has just had its first showing. Lema sends the money that she earns from crocheting flowers back to the orphanage. It takes just $20.00 to support a child’s education for a year, and now many people in our community have decided they want to support the orphanage too.”

Connecting Community and Education is one of six national projects spear headed by the JR Mc Kenzie Trust.

Five months into the implementation phase at RAP the project team is involved with six local women and their families. The group of women range from 19 to 35 years of age, and are of Samoan, Māori, Nuiean, Congolese, Cook Island and Pākehā whakapapa. Through individualised coaching using an indigenous framework, each of the women identifies their aspirations and develops a plan to make it happen. The women are also supported by a multi-skilled team – a writer, photographer, social worker, literacy tutor, cooking tutor and Hinemoa Key, the coach and project manager.

The influence of each woman’s achievements creates a ripple effect for their families and communities, bringing about generational success.

Edith Amituanai the youth empowerment coordinator works with local young people to create projects that meet their needs.

She also provides mentoring and has frequently helped young people achieve their dreams by helping them find opportunities within their own community. One has become an actor, another a professional athlete – and she has helped others to enrol in university.

Recently Ranui celebrated the launch of Realize, a platform designed for young people to create, collect and share stories. Annual events include the Christmas in the Car Park event and Ranui Youth Week. All events have been delivered in close collaboration with Zee and Rob Luisi from Ranui 135. Ranui 135 is a youth development organisation that shares a space at RAP house.

A Man Up programme meets during the evening and a recent learner drivers’ licence programme attracted 17 people within two days of the programme being promoted.

As well as all these specific programmes, RAP performs an important community role in bringing groups together. They facilitate the Ranui Network, a bi-monthly meeting for residents and organisations, the Ranui Accord which is a place-based collaboration, and the Western Park Village Hub Steering Group which was set up for the wellbeing of residents of the local caravan park.

And RAP provides a community voice on other forums such as the Employability Working Group, Ranui Advisory Panel and the Social Cohesion Project initiated by Internal Affairs in partnership with Auckland Council.

Another important collaboration is with the local branch of the Māori Women’s Welfare League. This group meets at the house each month. “These older women hold a lot of the family history of our community,” says Hinemoa, “and in a transient community that is a really important role. They provide cultural leadership.”

Process and funding

RAP provides a home base for accessible services such as lab tests, legal and career advice clinics and a community policing team drop in service. These bring people into the building.

“Community led development in Ranui,” says Carol, “means building relationships with individuals and organisations to support self-determined aspirations. We use Theory of Change as a basis for measuring success. The four identified key pathways to success include knowledge and skills, relationships and connections, contribution and cultural identity pathways.

“As an organisation that receives no direct central government, RAP is reliant on successful relationships with funders who understand the organic nature of community development. That means we need to build and maintain our relationship with funders, submitting proposals and reflecting back successful project outcomes.

“We are grateful for the support we receive from the Henderson Massey Local Board (Auckland Council), Lottery Communities, JR Mc Kenzie Trust, Foundation North, Tindall Foundation, The Trusts Community Foundation, Community Organisation Grants Scheme and Sky City. “