Community Engagement

By Diana Wilkes

New school builds, rebuilds and redevelopments all offer tremendous opportunities to explore powerful perspectives and potential partnerships with their communities.

Schools that are actively connected to their communities benefit from partnerships, expertise, and opportunities that reflect and strengthen the vision and purpose. 

In the Change Kete excerpt attached, we have curated some useful resources for you and your team. The kete has been designed to provide guidance and support as you journey through community engagement processes. For new build schools and redevelopments it is important to consider: 

to what extent does, or might, your school actively seek perspectives and foster partnerships to support transformational change? 

These sub-questions can help shape thinking about perspectives and partnerships:

  • How might we foster productive beneficial connections with the local community, and society more broadly? 
  • What does a thriving community look like, and how might the school and ākonga contribute to a thriving community locally?
  • How might authentic mana whenua relationships be developed and sustained in mutually beneficial ways?
  • How might ākonga learn to become engaged citizens?
  • What is the role of whānau and the community in supporting learning?

Engagement with the community throughout the build and redesign process is vital to ensuring understanding, especially in relationship to innovation, change, future focused learning, and different learning spaces. The Spectrum of Public Participation provides a useful framework for understanding community engagement. 

Key Ideas

  • Early authentic engagement that is meaningful and acted upon is vital for mana whenua and whānau.
  • Gathering perspectives and engaging with key community partners will include: mana whenua, whānau, ākonga, other education providers in the local area (e.g. early childhood, kāhui ako), school leaders and trustees, and other community stakeholders.
  • A stakeholder framework is useful as a tool to shape engagement.
  • Strong connections between whānau and schools are essential for ākonga achievement.
  • A local curriculum is responsive to the needs, identity, language, culture, interests, strengths and aspirations of ākonga and whānau.


Perspectives & Partnerships excerpt   PDF, 657.9 KB