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Splice And Derek Handley Call for Active Citizens

Splice And Derek Handley Call for Active Citizens

World-leading social leadership course comes to Auckland

A world-leading Active Citizens social leadership course inspiring more than 7,850 community-based social enterprise projects around the world is coming to Auckland this month.

Auckland community development organisation Splice and entrepreneur Derek Handley are calling on people of all ages and backgrounds to enrol in one of the two weekend courses, launching 23 and 30 March at the Ellen Melville Centre in the central city.

Created by the British Council and offered across 55 countries, the Auckland course will be run by Splice at the Ellen Melville Centre in the central city and led by a diverse group of facilitators,* including Kiwi movie star Wayne Hapi, and international Middle East facilitator Eva-Maria Ghannam.

Derek Handley is sponsoring 21 applicants to complete the social leadership programme through Aera Foundation, the charitable trust he set up in New Zealand to tackle social issues. He learned the course was coming to Auckland while looking into models that get more young people into leadership roles, and today put his hand up to sponsor a number of candidates.

This follows a new study** commissioned by Aera which shows that only 3% of of people living in New Zealand’s biggest city feel like they have very strong connections with their community, and 67% wish those connections were stronger. This desire is especially high among young people aged 18-24 (79%).

Just under two thirds (65.3%) of the 500 people responding to the survey last October say they feel that people don’t do enough for their communities. Yet just over half (51%) say they make an effort to contribute to society to feel part of something bigger than themselves or their family.

Further, half of Aucklanders believe they could be living a fuller life (48%), with 68% 18-24 year olds who agree with this.

The Active Citizens course objective is to empower people to make a positive contribution to their local community by giving them the skills and personal confidence to build initiatives based on social enterprise or community development models.

According to Active Citizens NZ programme manager Gareth Farry, Splice is bringing the course to Auckland because it embodies the key leadership competencies - intercultural dialogue and social responsibility - needed to help the city’s burgeoning communities address their growth and wellbeing challenges.

“I come across people, especially youth, who want to change the world for the better or get their voices heard, but don’t know how. The Active Citizens programme gives participants the inspiration and the skills to start a new social project in their community, so they can build a better life for themselves and those around them.”

Handley has been on a mission to recruit more NZ young people into leadership roles, and says programmes like Active Citizen open up networks and give participants the skills they need to get started. He says they also play a large part in fulfilling the desire we have for more meaning and contribution to society.

“Our country’s largest city is growing exponentially, and it can be challenging for city residents, whether they come from other parts of New Zealand, from overseas, or have been away from the city for a long time, to figure out how to get actively involved, start something new that’s sustainable, and make a meaningful contribution to their communities,” says Handley.

“Auckland is made up of 21 wards, each made up of their own diverse, micro-communities, and it would be fantastic to get as many of people from across the city to take part.”

Director of the British Council New Zealand, Ingrid Leary says course graduates also benefit from access to a network of 200,000-plus global “Active Citizens” who have inspiring stories, experience and social enterprise projects that can be shared with the group: “Participants in overseas-run courses have found the experience to be often life-changing.”

Course dates and how to apply

The first two pilot courses start March 23rd and March 30th, and run over 3 days (1 full day and two half days). Each course will have a maximum of 35 participants.

Aera sponsorship
The costs for 21 participants will be sponsored by Aera and can attend either of the two courses. To apply for this sponsorship, please review the course materials online and email Gareth Farry by 10 March to let him know why you want to take the course. Applicants will be notified by 15 March if their course fee will be sponsored by Aera. The course materials and Gareth’s email can be found at

Costs for other applicants

The non-sponsored positions are partially subsided by Splice’s partners, including Methodist Mission Northern and the Ministry of Youth Development, making attendance very affordable at only $100, which will help cover the costs of future participants facing hardship who would otherwise not be able to attend. Register your interest at


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