The Combined Community Trusts Conference

2018 - Claudelands, Hamilton, 2016 - Rydges Latimer, Christchurch

The Combined Community Trusts’ biennial conference has been hosted by the Rata Foundation (formally The Canterbury Community Trust) and Trust Waikato. The conference was attended by over 200 staff, board trustees, chief executives and fund managers from throughout New Zealand.

The 12 combined community trusts of New Zealand are the custodians of over $2 billion of investments and collectively grant over $100 million to thousands of community organisations throughout New Zealand each year.

Following on from the 2016 conference theme ‘Today’s seed is tomorrow’s forest’, the 2018 conference theme was Hikitia ki te wero, which translates to ‘Rising to the challenge’. The Community Trusts explored how they collectively need to identify these challenges, engage with our communities, strategically plan to grow and rise to meet these challenges head on.

Delegates were welcomed onto Tūrangawaewae Marae, located in the town of Ngāruawāhia in the Waikato. This is a very significant marae, being the headquarters for the Māori King Movement (Te Kīngitanga) and the official residence and reception centre of the Māori King, Tūheitia Paki. The powhiri was followed by the history of the Kīngitanga, with dinner and a cultural performance.

The venue for The Combined Community Trusts Conference was the Claudelands. Claudelands is set amongst 34 hectares of beautiful parkland and is a short walk from Hamilton’s CBD.

The conference supported suppliers that have socially focused outcomes, this included sourcing food from Eat My Lunch, a social enterprise, which for every lunch purchased buys a schoolchild lunch. Hazel Hayes is a registered organisation with Conscious Consumers and provided the conference dinner catering. Conscious Consumers gives accreditation to businesses that meet minimum ethical and sustainable accreditation standards.

In order to minimise waste, satchel / bags were eliminated. The conference app, which people could download to their devices, provided ample direction and information as to the programme, speakers and venue information.

As 2018 marked 30 years since Community Trusts were established in New Zealand, Trusts from around New Zealand were asked to contribute photos and footage of the positive impact Community Trusts have had, and their hopes for the next 30 years. This was compiled into a 30-year celebration video and footage and images were used throughout the conference.

The Community Trusts were celebrating 30 years since their formation in 1988. At the conference dinner, we decided to dust off the leg warmers, dig out the Rubik’s cube, and relive the decade when it first began!

In 2016 the theme of conference was “Seed”, drawing inspiration from the beautiful whakatouki (Maori proverb) that “Today’s Seeds are Tomorrow’s Forests”. We wanted to create an experience for delegates that embraced the ideas of renewal, innovation, growth and hope – elements reflected in the conference setting of Christchurch; a city rising again after the earthquakes.

Day one featured a pōwhiri at the spectacular Rehua Marae. Delegates were later led on a double-decker bus tour of the inner city to visit some of the key rebuild projects, before arriving at their final destination, the recently re-opened Christchurch Art Gallery, for their Welcome Reception.

The three days offered trustees and staff to get together, with the support of speakers and sponsors to network and discuss mutual and contemporary philanthropic issues. The programme was split into three core themes, philanthropy, governance and investment. There were 38 impressive speakers ranging from international keynotes speakers, to local leaders, such as Judge Andrew Becroft, Hana O’Regan, Nigel Latta, Arihia Bennet, Marcus Akuhata-Brown.

Amongst the conference, the social media was going wild, with discussions on Twitter, Facebook, and the conference app, all part of the live dialogue.

Amongst the busy conference programme of speakers and concurrent sessions, the Dr Seuss themed conference dinner at the Transitional "Cardboard" Cathedral, provided an opportunity to wear wacky costumes and indulge in some silliness!

Find out what Arron Perriam and Natalie Jessup had to say.