Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga: The journey of forming an alliance

Participants at the first Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga residential training

In 2016-2017, a group of diverse organisations came together to “imagine an Aotearoa New Zealand where all our children, young people, and mokopuna flourish. He oranga whanāu, he oranga tāngata.” They were inspired by the story of civil society uniting in collective action through the Living Wage Movement.
A series of consultative meetings followed and the Māori Women’s Welfare League, gifted the name Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga. The name embedded our foundational values of tautoko (support), awhi (embrace, assist), manaakitanga (care), utu (reciprocity), aroha (love), and mahi-tahi (working together for the common good).

Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga is affiliated to a global network of alliances, the 80-year-old Industrial Areas Foundation, started by Saul Alinsky. The objective of the alliances is to stand for the whole. The issue is how to prioritise the people, whose voices need to be magnified and heard.

In Auckland, we are laying the foundations for this city-based alliance by building the relationships and trust across organisations from different traditions: unions, faith groups, and communities. Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga fosters active citizenship and develops community leaders to negotiate with decision-makers for systemic and structural change, from migrant rights, to housing and Decent Work.

Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga has 30 sponsoring organisations and is funded by the Peter McKenzie Project. It is focused on:

  • developing the capability of community leaders through education and action
  • establishing core teams within organisations for leadership development
  • running listening campaigns and research groups, and
  • shaping a programme of work for our campaigning.

The Auckland broad-based alliance will launch later this year.

E tū is a sponsor of the Auckland alliance and is represented on the founding Trust by Annie Newman.