Waikato Vital Signs Launch

Monday, 29 Aug 2016 Latest news

Waikato Vital Signs Launch

Momentum Waikato Community Foundation, NIDEA University of Waikato, NAR Foundation, Trust
Waikato, WEL Energy Trust, Waikato Tainui, D.V. Bryant Trust, and Ngati Haua Iwi Trust.

See our documents page to view the Waikato Vital Signs panels.

Over 400 Waikato residents came together during May to discuss their most important
community priorities and the things they love most about living in Hamilton city,
Waikato and Matamata-Piako districts.

Top ten priorities for action were identified through a process of four open town-hall
style brainstorming sessions and four invitation-only sessions with youth and Iwi Maaori.

The objective of these sessions was for people in the community to name what they
believe are the most vital areas of community need and opportunity.

From the top ten, the top three priorities for action were:

1. Working together to improve community connectedness
2. Developing better education and pathways for youth
3. Solving problems with affordability, availability and quality of housing

And the one thing the 400 participants most loved about the Waikato was its diversity.

Identifying the community priorities was achieved through a project called Waikato
Vital Signs, led by Momentum Waikato Community Foundation in partnership with six
Waikato philanthropic trusts – D.V. Bryant Trust, NAR Foundation, Ngati Haua Iwi
Trust, Trust Waikato, WEL Energy Trust, and Waikato-Tainui – along with the National
Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA), University of Waikato.

“We’ve completed the formidable task of collating feedback from the community
brainstorming sessions, and over the next seven weeks we will gift this information back to
our community.

“We want Waikato people to talk about this at the BBQ, the beach, the board table and the
breakfast table,” said Cheryl Reynolds Momentum Waikato Chief Executive.

Momentum Waikato is part of an international network of community foundations through
which the team has met President of Community Foundations of Canada Ian Bird. He has
seen how other community foundations around the world have implemented similar Vital
Signs projects. Mr Bird said the Waikato community is taking Vital Signs one step further,
achieving a world-first.

”Waikato Vital Signs has engaged people in a thoughtful, inclusive process to better
understand the priorities of the community and respond in a way that will have a truly
lasting impact.

“The kind of response and participation we’ve seen in Waikato Vital Signs has set a
positive benchmark for other community foundations around the world.”

Reynolds said one of the objectives of the Waikato Vital Signs project is to enable Waikato
people and organisations to focus their energy and their giving into projects deemed most
important by local people.

“At Momentum Waikato, the community feedback we’ve gained will help us maximise our
donors’ impacts by targeting community investments towards transformational change.”

“Being part of this innovative, pioneering project is something local people can be really
proud has happened in our community. We are in a waka together, doing something we’ve
never done before – it’s both incredibly exciting and very humbling,” she said.

Momentum Waikato and its partners will release the report as easy-to-understand
infographic panels each week until mid-October, when the full report will be available.

People can follow the release of this information on the Momentum Waikato website, and
through local media and social media channels.

Waikato Vital Signs Partners comments:

Ngati Haua Iwi Trust General Manager, Lisa Gardiner: In response to the top
two priorities identified by the community, Ngati Haua Iwi Trust General
Manager, Lisa Gardiner, confirmed that “education and community
connectedness were in line with some of the top priorities for the Trust.”

D.V. Bryant CEO, Lindsay Cumberpatch: He said it was no surprise to the Trust
that access to social and affordable housing emerged as the third highest priority for
action. “Safe, secure, and affordable housing is a key to individual, family/whanau
and community wellbeing. We’re very keen to work with other partners in exploring
possibilities for co-funding the building of additional social and affordable housing
stock in our region,” he said.

Trust Waikato Chief Executive Dennis Turton: He said he believes the outcomes
from the Waikato Vital Signs project will assist the region’s philanthropic trusts in
gaining a fuller understanding of what the pilot communities want funded. “Trust
Waikato recognises the value in listening to communities about the issues they
face. By continuing to work collaboratively and strategically with other funders in the
region, much can be achieved together,” said Dennis Turton.

Dr John Ryks, Director of NIDEA, University of Waikato: He said, “The Vital
Signs approach has provided an innovative way of bringing together statistical
information about the Waikato population across cultural, social, economic and
environmental domains, with the views and experiences of the wider community.”



For more information, contact:
Cheryl Reynolds
Chief Executive, Momentum Waikato Community Foundation
021 711 977

400 Waikato people prioritise ten vital areas of community hopes and opportunities


Waikato Vital Signs is a tool that can mobilise the power of community knowledge for greater local
impact. It comes from the internationally recognised Vital Signs programme and measures social,
environmental, cultural and economic trends in the Waikato, and our attitudes towards those trends.
Drawing together information about the Waikato, and community feedback gathered at a series of eigth
community engagement workshops, the report is made up of the following 10 themes:

• Children
• Communities
• Culture & Arts
• Economy
• Education
• Environment
• Health
• Iwi Maaori Voices
• Recreation
• Youth Voices


Waikato Vital Signs has been led by Momentum Waikato Community Foundation in partnership with six
major Waikato philanthropic trusts: NAR Foundation; Trust Waikato; WEL Energy Trust; Waikato-Tainui; D.V.
Bryant Trust and Ngati Haua Iwi Trust, along with the National Institute of Demographic and Economic
Analysis (NIDEA), University of Waikato. The seven Waikato philanthropic trusts hope that the final report

• strengthen our collective understanding of and connections within Waikato communities
• inform and support decision-making by identifying and communicating key priorities and aspirations
of Waikato communities
• connect philanthropic and grant making organisations with those organisations that can address the
key community needs and opportunities

A National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, University of Waikato, research report provided
the foundational data discussed at the community brainstorming sessions. This report can be found here.

The Vital Signs methodology was created in Canada by the Toronto Foundation in 2001, and today more
than 75 communities around the world use Vital Signs reports as a tool to mobilise the power of community
knowledge for greater local impact. Community foundations specifically use Vital Signs to start
conversations, assisting communities to act on local priorities and opportunities, and consequently direct
resources to create the most significant impact in the regions they operate. Vital Signs reports also enable
community foundations to act as knowledge brokers, informing donors on how they can create the most
significant impact with their gifts.


DV Bryant Trust is one of the longest-running philanthropic trusts in the Waikato. The Trust’s primary
objective is “to enhance human welfare in the Waikato”.

Momentum Waikato Community Foundation is an independent, permanent resource for high impact
philanthropic giving within the Waikato Region. It links generous donors to strategic charitable investments
targeted at transformational change, whilst building a permanent endowment for the benefit of generations to

NAR Foundation is a local Waikato family foundation. The Trust’s focus is “helping people to help

Ng?ti Hau? Iwi Trust is the Post Settlement Governance Entity for Ngati Haua Iwi, established following the
signing of the Deed of Settlement with the Crown in July 2013. The Trust has been ratified to receive,
manage, administer and apply the Trust’s Assets (derived through the Settlement) on behalf of and for the
benefit of the present and future Members of Ngati Haua in accordance with its Trust Deed.

NIDEA, University of Waikato is the only national institute of demographic and population-focused research
in Aotearoa / New Zealand. It undertakes research that helps inform choices and responses to the
demographic, social and economic interactions that are shaping Aotearoa / New Zealand’s future.

Trust Waikato was established by government statute in 1988 to hold the shares of Trust Bank Waikato. Its
funding supports organisations and projects that focus on welfare, sport, recreation, youth, art, culture and
the environment.

WEL Energy Trust was formed in 1993 for the purpose of holding shares in the newly created lines company
WEL Energy Group. Since its inception the Trust has supported the return of $273 million (including GST) to
WEL Networks customers through a discount on individual electricity accounts and has invested over $60
million in community and energy efficiency grants.

Waikato-Tainui is a leading tribal organisation responsible for developing and implementing initiatives which
improve iwi outcomes in the areas of education and training, employment, tribal preservation, marae
development, health and well-being, and environmental and resource management. Its vision is to grow a
prosperous, healthy, vibrant, innovative, and culturally strong iwi.

For more information see

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