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Waikato Vital Signs 2016 launch events announced

Waikato Vital Signs 2016 launch events announced
23 September 2016
For Immediate Release

Members of the Waikato community are invited to attend one of four October events to hear about the findings of the recent Waikato Vital Signs 2016 project, where community priorities for action were identified for Waikato District, Hamilton City, and Matamata-Piako District.

The Waikato Vital Signs project is 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.

“During May over 400 Waikato residents came together to participate in Waikato Vital Signs to discuss their most important community priorities and talk about the things they love most about living in Hamilton City, Waikato and Matamata-Piako districts.

“Now, through four upcoming community launch events, Momentum Waikato and our philanthropic partners will ‘gift back’ the Waikato Vital Signs 2016 report, which details the top ten community priorities for action identified by our communities,” explained Momentum Waikato Community Foundation Chief Executive Cheryl Reynolds.

Lindsay Cumberpatch, Chief Executive for D.V Bryant Trust, said “As funders we’ve listened and are already planning responses to the communities’ top three priorities. Momentum have announced their $1million fund to support significant projects aimed at addressing the first two priorities and the DV Bryant Trust is bringing people of influence together to look critically at the housing issue. We want to see everyone working together to achieve transformational change and positive outcomes for all our people.”

The October launch events will share the outcomes from the earlier workshops that linked statistical information with local residents’ community priorities.

As well as gifting back the findings in an easy-to read-booklet, a panel of community members will also discuss the findings and answer questions about what they mean to the region.

The Waikato Vital Signs 2016 report presents the communities top ten priorities for action, with the top three priorities being:

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 The report also celebrates the things we love most about the Waikato, and the number one love of the 400+ participants was our diversity.

The four Waikato Vital Signs 2016 launch events are:

Morrinsville – Wednesday 12th October 2016
9.45am-11.45am, Westpac Events Centre
Ron Ladd Place, Morrinsville

Matamata – Wednesday 12th October 2016
1.45pm-4.45pm, Matamata Memorial Centre
Tainui Street, Matamata

Hamilton – Friday 14th October 2016
9.45am-11.45am, Clarence Street Theatre
Clarence St, Hamilton
Ngaruawahia – Friday 14th Oc
tober 2016
1.45pm-4.45pm, Anglican Church Hall
Corner Market St, Jesmond St and Waikato Esplanade, Ngaruawahia





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 eight community engagement workshops, the report is made up of the following 10 themes:

•Culture and Arts
•Iwi Maaori Voices
•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 will:

•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 The National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, University of Waikato research report provided the foundational data discussed at the community engagement 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 in.

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 is the Waikato’s community foundation that convenes and connects generous people in the Waikato with intergenerational projects of significance that can meet both the current and future needs of our community. An a-political and independent foundation, Momentum Waikato focuses on inspiring generosity and investing for impact by empowering the community to take responsibility for future generations, understanding that a profound difference can be achieved through a collective approach.

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

Ngāti Hauā 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.

Momentum Waikato began releasing information about the 10 community priorities on 26 August and continues to release new information weekly through its website and social media channels.

How was the Waikato Vital Signs 2016 report created?

As a process, the Waikato Vital Signs partners engaged NIDEA to collate and analyse existing data across 34 indicators representing nine themes. The NIDEA Waikato Vital Signs Consultancy Report itself is extremely informative, however the final Waikato Vital Signs Report will also reflect community priorities, local stories, and responses to the NIDEA report from people across the Waikato who attended the community engagement sessions during May 2016.

What is the purpose of engaging with the community – why not just publish the statistical analysis?

Statistics on their own are important, but are an insufficient source of information. Even by putting some analysis around statistics, we are still not telling a full story. Engaging with communities helps to create meaning, telling narratives of a place, and capturing the communities’ views on its strengths and challenges. By having local conversations we hope to:

•supplement the statistics with meaningful, compelling and relevant experiences and learning
•hear stories that add a qualitative outlook to the more quantitative nature of the statistics
•understand the priorities of the communities we engage with
•facilitate and encourage discussions which represent diverse perspectives
•build relationships within our community that are ongoing beyond the initial Waikato Vital Signs engagements

Why have the partners chosen Matamata-Piako District, Hamilton City, and Waikato District for the pilot of the first Waikato Vital Signs 2016?

Momentum Waikato and its partners decided to do the initial 2016 project as a pilot to enable us to fully develop our processes for the long term. We chose to focus on three initial territorial authorities in the greater Waikato region for 2016: Waikato District; Hamilton City and Matamata-Piako District.

These three regions were chosen because they offered a diverse mix of rural and urban economies across a range of demographic characteristics.

Hasn’t this been done before? What’s new? What makes it different to other reports?

The strength of Waikato Vital Signs lies in engaging communities around evidence-based trends, and using quantitative information as a starting point to engage in a meaningful dialogue with members of the community about their wellbeing, priorities, aspirations and needs.

Momentum Waikato is the second community foundation in New Zealand to introduce the Vital Signs tool. In 2015, the Bay of Plenty’s Acorn Foundation led the publication of the first Vital Signs report.

Is this just a one-off thing?

No – it is anticipated that Waikato Vital Signs will be published as a report every five years to coincide with the New Zealand Census, with additional “deep dive” single-focus reports on priority areas to be published in the intervening years. It is also intended to include the other territorial authorities in the greater Waikato region in the next full report.

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