By Antje Dun
Insights from ActionStation in Aotearoa New Zealand about how it transformed from a members-based to a values-led organisation using crowdsourcing.
At FWD+Organise 2019 – a conference with 300 of Australia’s leading grassroots, industrial and community organisers as well as digital advocates, campaigners and activists from organisations representing all sectors – the Commons Librarians heard from keynote speaker, Laura O’Connell Rapira, Director at ActionStation in Aotearoa New Zealand. As part of Laura’s keynote speech she inspired many when she talked about their organisation’s shift from a member-based to a values-led organisation and how they crowdsourced their values to guide their vision for Aotearoa New Zealand in 2040.
The process started in 2017 in the lead up to the New Zealand election. ActionStation brought together their community to re-centre the political conversation to focus on what they considered were the most important values for their future.
In order to facilitate a wide-ranging and in-depth conversation about the kind of country we want to be in 2040, we asked members of the ActionStation community to consider: What are the values we need to embody in order to have a fair and flourishing future for all? Source: Te Ira Tāngata: People’s Agenda
This process asked members and the broader community to prioritise a list of 24 values. Half of the values were from tikanga Māori (Māori culture) and half were from the work of researchers such as Shalom Schwartz. Crowdsourcing the values people thought were most important was done in a variety of ways including:
- Hosting events including civic dinners, member hosted dinners and lunches in homes, cafes, community halls. The events used a discussion guide which included innovative ideas such as telling a story from the perspective of a river and a homeless person.
- Consultation with different groups of people including policy experts, advisors from the te ao Māori, elders, academics and people with lived experience of injustice.
- Conducting surveys in person and online.
- Researching issues, experiences and stories.
Some of the events held during the process. Photo © ActionStation
The top five values identified were:
- EQUALITY AND FAIRNESS
Equality together with fairness recognises different starting points and pathways to enjoying the same rights and freedoms.
Custodianship: care and responsibility for taonga (that which you treasure), especially nature.
Love, empathy and compassion for all without discrimination.
- COMMUNITY AND BELONGING
Togetherness with the purpose of mutual care, support and creative enhancement.
Hospitality, kindness, respect, generosity and care for others without expecting anything in return.
These are not the only values that people talked about, but these were the ones people talked about most often. Other values are equally important, certainly for the people who talked about them. Those other values include curiosity, learning and creativity, wairuatanga, whanaungatanga and rangatiratanga.
Keeping values strong
To keep the values strong ActionStation:
- live their values daily – they are part of their organisational DNA. Everyone can name and discuss each value.
- has a Member Review Panel which is the kaitiaki or guardians of ActionStation’s community values. It is made up of 10-15 active ActionStation members and experienced community campaigners.
- recognises when there is a conflict between core values that the interests of the Māori take precedence.
ActionStation recognises the place of Māori as tāngata whenua and Te Tiriti o Waitangi as a founding document for New Zealand Aotearoa. If there is any conflict within a community campaign between competing values promoted by the ActionStation community then Te Tiriti will have precedence in giving guidance on any moderation decision.
Source: Our ActionStation Community Guidelines Terms of Service
Find out more
- Download ActionStation’s report – Te Ira Tangata – Peoples Agenda for Aotearoa
- Read ActionStation’s 2017 Annual Report
- Listen to Commons Conversations Podcast, Episode 7 – This episode features an interview with Laura O’Connell Rapira, the former director of Aotearoa digital campaign organization ActionStation and former executive director of movement building at the Foundation for Young Australians. In conversation with Commons Librarian Holly Hammond they discuss the importance of putting shared values at the heart of campaigning and other work, as well as the significance of contributions by youth and First Nations to social change.
- Activism - Aotearoa/New Zealand
- FWD + Organise 2019 (Australian Progress Conference - Australia)
- Indigenous peoples_First Nations
- Maori (Aotearoa/New Zealand people)